Neotropical Diversification: Patterns and Processes – Just Published!

Editorial summary: This newly published book provides a comprehensive overview of the patterns of biodiversity in a wide of Neotropical biomes and ecosystems, as well as a discussion on their historical biogeographies and underlying diversification processes. All chapters have been written by prominent researchers in the fields of tropical biology, molecular ecology, paleoclimatology, paleoecology, and biogeography, producing an outstanding collection of essays, synthetic analyses, and novel investigations that describe and improve our understanding of the biodiversity of this unique region. With chapters on the Amazon and Caribbean forests, the Atlantic rainforests, the Andes, the Cerrado savannahs, the Caatinga drylands, the Chaco, and Mesoamerica – along with broad taxonomic coverage – this book summarizes a wide range of hypotheses, views, and methods concerning the processes and mechanisms of Neotropical diversification. The range of perspectives presented makes the book a truly comprehensive, state-of-the-art publication on the topic, which will fascinate both scientists and general readers alike.

For more information, you can freely download the front matter with the table of contents and the introduction.

Reference

Rull, V. & Carnaval, A.C. (eds.). 2020. Neotropical Diversification: Patterns and Processes. Springer, Berlin. ISBN 978-3-030-31167-4.

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Posted in Books, My publications

Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography

This is the title of a new book published by Elsevier-Academic Press some days ago. Here I reproduce the cover and attach the front matter (freely accessible), with the table of contents and the introduction. The book can be bought at the Elsevier site and the usual book providers (Amazon, etc.).

Reference

Rull, V. 2020. Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. Elsevier-Academic Press, London, ISBN 9780128204733.

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Posted in Books, My publications

The 2020 glaciation

My wish for 2020 is that an imaginary glaciation erodes all evil so we can start again from scratch. I know it is silly but it is nothing more than a wish, although a very intense one

See you (or not) in the postglacial…

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Posted in Society

Biodiversity of the Lost World

The book “Biodiversity of Pantepui, the Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands”, edited by V. Rull, T. Vegas-Vilarrúbia, O. Huber and C Señaris, is already published in Paperback and eBook formats. See the Elsevier website.

This book provides the most updated and comprehensive knowledge on the biota, origin, and evolution of the Pantepui biogeographical province. It synthesizes historical information and recent discoveries, covering the main biogeographic patterns, evolutionary trends, and conservational efforts. The book also explores what makes Pantepui a unique natural laboratory to study the origin and evolution of Neotropical biodiversity under the influence of only natural drivers. It discusses the organisms living in Pantepui, including algae, plants, several groups of invertebrates, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The latter portion of the book delves into the effects of human activity and global warming on Pantepui, and current conservational efforts to combat these threats. The book is an important resource for researchers in ecology, biogeography, evolution, and conservation, who want to understand the biodiversity and natural history of this region, and how to help conserve and protect the Guiana Highlands from environmental and human damages.

Reference: Rull, V., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T., Huber, O. & Señaris, C. (eds.). 2019. Biodiversity of Pantepui, the Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands. Elsevier/Academic Press, London. ISBN 9780128155912 (Paperback) and 9780128155929 (eBook).

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Posted in Books, My publications

Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography

The book “Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography” by V. Rull, which will be issued in March 2020, can already be pre-ordered at the Elsevier website.

This book is an introduction to the study of the ecological and evolutionary processes that have shaped our present biosphere under the influence of glacial-interglacial cycles. The book reviews the climactic changes that have occurred during the last million years, along with the responses of organisms and ecosystems, and offers an understanding of the evolutionary origin of extant biodiversity, its biogeographical patterns and the composition of modern ecological communities. In addition, it explores human evolution and the influence of our activities on the biosphere, especially in the last millennia, and offers the latest information on how studying the past can contribute to our understanding of present climate issues for a better future. The book is intended for a wide audience, including researchers and students in natural sciences.

Contents:

  • Climate: Continuous variability and impact on the earth system
  • Organisms: Adaption, extinction and biogeographical reorganizations
  • Biodiversity: Diversification or impoverishment?
  • Communities: Adjustments, innovations and revolutions
  • Humans: Settlement and humanization of the planet
  • The future: Natural cycles and human interference

Reference: Rull, V. 2020. Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography. Elsevier/Academic Press, London. ISBN 9780128204733.

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Posted in Books, My publications

Neotropical Diversification: Patterns and Processes

The book “Neotropical Diversification: Patterns and Processes”, edited by V. Rull and A. C. Carnaval, which will be issued in March 2020, can already be pre-ordered at the Springer website in Hardcover and eBook versions.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the patterns of biodiversity in various Neotropical ecosystems, as well as a discussion on their historical biogeographies and underlying diversification processes. All chapters were written by prominent researchers in the fields of tropical biology, molecular ecology, climatology, paleoecology, and geography, producing an outstanding collection of essays, synthetic analyses, and novel investigations that describe and improve our understanding of the biodiversity of this unique region. With chapters on the Amazon and Caribbean forests, the Atlantic rainforests, the Andes, the Cerrado savannas, the Caatinga drylands, the Chaco, and Mesoamerica – along with broad taxonomic coverage – this book summarizes a wide range of hypotheses, views, and methods concerning the processes and mechanisms of neotropical diversification. The range of perspectives presented makes the book a truly comprehensive, state-of-the-art publication on the topic.

Reference: Rull, V. & Carnaval, A.C. (eds.). 2020. Neotropical Diversification: Patterns and Processes. Springer, Berlin. ISBN 978-3-030-31166-7 (Hardcover) and 978-3-030-31167-4 (eBook).

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Posted in Books, My publications

The Earth is flat for climate modelers

Did you know that? Modelers don’t stop surprising us!!!

If you find this hard to believe, read the paper by Michael J. Prather and Juno C. Hsu, from the University of California, which has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA.

See the reference and the significance statement below the flat Earth

flat_earth

Reference

Prather, M.J. & Hsu, J.C. 2019. A round earth for climate models. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 116: 19330-19335.

Significance

Early climate and weather models, constrained by computing resources, made numerical approximations on modeling the real world. One process, the radiative transfer of sunlight through the atmosphere, has always been a costly component. As computational ability expanded, these models added resolution, processes, and numerical methods to reduce errors and become the Earth system models that we use today. While many of the original approximations have since been improved, one—that the Earth’s surface and atmosphere are locally flat—remains in current models. Correcting from flat to spherical atmospheres leads to regionally differential solar heating at rates comparable to the climate forcing by greenhouse. gases and aerosols. In addition, spherical atmospheres change how we evaluate the aerosol direct radiative forcing.

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Posted in Believe it or not, Research papers, Unvelievable!

Lost World’s biodiversity uncovered

The book about the biodiversity of the Conan Doyle’s Lost World will be issued in a couple of weeks. The title is “Biodiversity of Pantepui, the Pristine Lost World of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands” and is published by Elsevier-Academic Press.

Pantepui is a remote archipelago of sky islands with unique biodiversity and endemism patterns that constitutes one of the few pristine regions remaining in the planet. The biodiversity and ecosystems of this lost world have been generated by purely natural ecological and evolutionary processes, which turns Pantepui into a natural laboratory to study the origin and evolution of Neotropical biomes. The following video provides an outlook of the Pantepui landscape.

The book is subdivided into four parts, namely (i) general aspects, (ii) the photosynthetic world, (iii) animal diversity and (iv) biodiversity conservation, and the following chapters:

  1. Definition and characterization of the Pantepui biogeographical province
  2. Climatic and ecological history of Pantepui and surrounding areas
  3. Pantepui as a dynamic biogeographical concept
  4. Origin and evolution on the Pantepui biota
  5. Algae
  6. Vascular plants and bryophytes
  7. Plant communities
  8. Aquatic insects
  9. Butterflies
  10. Scorpions
  11. Land snails
  12. Amphibians and reptiles
  13. Birds
  14. Mammals
  15. Vertebrate parasites
  16. Conservation of Pantepui: between complex emergency and climate change
  17. Pantepui and global warming

The front matter can be freely downloaded and the book can be purchased here.

Reference

Rull, V., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T., Huber, O. & Señaris, C. (eds.). 2019. Biodiversity of Pantepui, the Pristine “Lost World” of the Neotropical Guiana Highlands. Elsevier-Academic Press, London. ISBN 978-0-12815-591-2.

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Posted in Books, My publications

New book on Quaternary Ecology, Evolution and Biogeography

A new book entitled “The Quaternary: Ecology and Evolution with Glaciations” has been approved last week by Elsevier-Academic Press and will be published in 2020.

The book is intended for a wide audience including researchers, teachers, graduate students and people interested on how the study of the past can contribute to understand our present biosphere and help predicting its future. The language is affordable for a wide range of readers and the more specialized terms and concepts are explained for a better understanding. The book is subdivided into six chapters, with an introduction and an epilogue, and is profussely illustrated, with 100 full-color figures.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Climate: Continuous Variability and Impact on the Earth System
  3. The Organisms: Adaptation, Extinction and Spatial Reorganizations
  4. The Biodiversity: Diversification or Impoverishment?
  5. The Communities: Adjustements, Innovations and Revolutions
  6. The Humans: Occupation and Humanization of the Planet
  7. The future: Natural Cycles and Human Interference
  8. Epilog: The Missing Link between Ecology and Evolution

 

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Posted in Books, My publications, Science

Easter Island discovery: all options remain open

According to the current paradigm, the remote and enigmatic Easter Island, in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is thought to have been discovered and settled by Polynesian sailors between about 800 and 1200 CE. However, recent studies using the latest genomic, anthropological and paleoecological techniques have revived constroversy about a potential Amerindian discovery before Polynesian settlement.

The whole story can be read in a recent revision published in the journal Quaternary, where all the existing hypotheses on Easter Island discovery and settlement are reviewed and evaluated in light of the existing archaeological, anthropological, historical and paleoecological evidence. The reference and the abstract of this review are provided at following.

Reference: Rull, V. 2019. Human Discovery and Settlement of the Remote Easter Island (SE Pacific). Quaternary 2, 15.

Abstract. The discovery and settlement of the tiny and remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has been a classical controversy for decades. Present-day aboriginal people and their culture are undoubtedly of Polynesian origin, but it has been debated whether Native Americans discovered the island before the Polynesian settlement. Until recently, the paradigm was that Easter Island was discovered and settled just once by Polynesians in their millennial-scale eastward migration across the Pacific. However, the evidence for cultivation and consumption of an American plant—the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)—on the island before the European contact (1722 CE), even prior to the Europe-America contact (1492 CE), revived controversy. This paper reviews the classical archaeological, ethnological and paleoecological literature on the subject and summarizes the information into four main hypotheses to explain the sweet potato enigma: the long-distance dispersal hypothesis, the back-and-forth hypothesis, the Heyerdahl hypothesis, and the newcomers hypothesis. These hypotheses are evaluated in light of the more recent evidence (last decade), including molecular DNA phylogeny and phylogeography of humans and associated plants and animals, physical anthropology (craniometry and dietary analysis), and new paleoecological findings. It is concluded that, with the available evidence, none of the former hypotheses may be rejected and, therefore, all possibilities remain open. For future work, it is recommended to use the multiple working hypotheses framework and the strong inference method of hypothesis testing, rather than the ruling theory approach, very common in Easter Island research.

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Posted in My publications, Quaternary Journal