Coordinators: Rita Castilho (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sério Marques
Island biogeography is one of the most exciting topics in present-day research on insular biology. Topics explored over the last fifty years have featured: mechanisms of speciation on islands; mechanisms related to the arrival to and posterior morphological change on islands, such as founder effects, genetic drift and bottlenecks; models of species’ evolution on islands, such as the taxon cycle as well as adaptive and non-adaptive radiation; species–area relationships, species abundance distributions, spatial patterning and habitat diversity; species traits; island assembly theories and ecosystem functioning; the effects of island ontogeny on species diversity; the development of neutral models inspired by island theory; and unifying models.
There is considerable motivation for a more comprehensive theory of island biogeography capable of unifying ecological and evolutionary (historical) processes. There is also a need for expansion of island biogeography theory to integrate marine systems. To accomplish both tasks, a holistic approach is necessary, capable of integrating scientific disciplines as diverse as taxonomy, biogeography, marine biology, volcanology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, palaeontology, geochronology and geomorphology. Recently, the course instructors made such an attempt, and incorporated a wide range of historical and ecological variables acting on reefless volcanic oceanic islands, which previously had not been correlated to any extent. Such factors/variables include sea-surface temperatures (SSTs), time, evolution, speciation, bathymetry, ecological zonation, the life-expectancy of a species (at the geological scale), modes of larval development, species’ dispersal strategies, geographical range, sea-level changes, glacial-interglacial periods, sediment distribution on insular shelves, and the importance of the marine substrate for species turnover. However, several important questions remain largely unanswered. What was the worldwide impact of Pleistocene glacial- interglacial episodes and their associated sea-level variations on the shallow marine fauna and flora of volcanic oceanic islands? What are the main factors that explain the present-day marine biodiversity around volcanic oceanic islands? At what time and spatial scales do these factors operate? Elucidation of these questions is the chief aim of this course.
20 h of lectures + 8 h of theoretical-practical classes + 56 h of independent work.
As the registration for any elective is mandatory, please wait for an email by the MSc Coordinating Team requesting the names of the electives that you plan to choose for your 2nd year, 1st semester.
One final exam (e.g., moodle environment).