De Groot, Sarah .
Modelling forest extent in Africa through the past 3 Ma.
Although many authors hypothesise that Pleistocene forest fragmentation was a major factor underlying the current distributions of tropical animals and plants, the available data suggests that the processes resulting in the current distributions are much more complex. We modelled the distribution of forests in the context of investigating the past range of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus subgenus Piliocolobus), a group of arboreal primates. We used past climate and vegetation data along with current habitat preferences to determine forest extent and fragmentation. Based on our maps, forests probably were fragmented throughout the later Pliocene and the Pleistocene. Forests appear to have occurred in smaller fragments during Pleistocene interglacials than during glacials. The extent may have been more geographically restricted during Pleistocene glacials, but not necessarily to the refugia that have been identified by authors on the basis of biodiversity and endemism. Estimates of present-day forest habitat show a range that is even more fragmented and restricted than past estimates, indicating that habitat has been lost since the last glacial maximum.
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1 - Hull York Medical School, Functional Morphology and Evolution, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: 551A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 11:45 AM