A study by an international team of scientists coordinatedby Italy's MUSE - Science Museum updates knowledge on the faunal richness of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya; presents the discovery of 27 new vertebrate species (of which 23 amphibians and reptiles); identifies the drivers of the area's exception biological importance and advocates for its candidature to the UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites.
A study documenting the latest research findings on the faunal richness of the tropical moist forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania was published on-line today (26th of September – 5am BST) in Diversity and Distributions. The study summarises the last decade of biodiversity research in the Eastern Arc Mountains, including the discovery of 27 vertebrate species that are new to science; and 14 other species not previously known to exist in the area.
The results further re-enforce the importance of the Eastern Arc Mountains as one of the top sites on earth for biological diversity and endemism. The study was conducted by an international team coordinated by researchers of the Tropical Biodiversity Section at MUSE-Science Museum in Italy.
The team includes several research and conservation agencies in Tanzania and across the world which were supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, a global partnership dedicated to providing funding and technical assistance to NGOs and private sector involved in the conservation of globally important biodiversity hotspots. The biodiversity research that was supported by CEPF targeted the most remote and least-surveyed forests in the Eastern Arc Mountains.
The Eastern Arc Mountains are geologically ancient. The persistence of forest on these mountains, for several million years, has driven an extraordinary differentiation of living forms. The Eastern Arc Mountains comprise 13 blocks extending in an arc from southern Kenya to south-central Tanzania.
"Our study shows how little we still know about the Earth's biodiversity hotspots, and how important targeted biodiversity inventories are in revealing the biological wealth of our planet" said Dr Francesco Rovero, Head of the Tropical Biodiversity section at MUSE-Science Museum, and senior author of the publication.
"We can now rank the 13 Eastern Arc Mountain blocks by biological importance and we can better understand the forces that have caused such extraordinary patterns of biological richness. These findings provide the Governments of Tanzania and Kenya, and other agencies involved in the protection of these forests, with management recommendations, among which is to revive the Eastern Arc Mountain's candidature to UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites", continued Dr Rovero.
"The Eastern Arc Mountains were already known for the unusually high density of endemic species, however we lacked comprehensive data from at least six of the 13 mountain blocks," said Professor Neil Burgess, a leading expert on Africa's biodiversity from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen and UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
"The new findings affirm the importance of conserving as large an extent of forest as possible, particularly where a forest extends across different altitudes. Besides forest extent, forest elevational range and rainfall were found to be equally important drivers of richness of vertebrate species", continued Professor Burgess.
"The candidature of this area to UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites would ensure greater international visibility and support for the long-term protection of these exceptional but highly threatened fragments of rainforest. We are urging the Government of Tanzania to embrace this new research as a basis for reviving Tanzania's application to UNESCO," said Charles Meshack, Executive Director of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group.
"Twenty-three of the 27 new species that we reported in the study are amphibian and reptiles," said Michele Menegon, researcher with the Tropical Biodiversity Section at MUSE." These results make the Eastern Arc the most important site in Africa for these two classes of vertebrate. Some of these species are up to 100 million years old and are evidence of the great age, forest stability and unique evolutionary history of these mountains."
Five low and high resolution images, a map and legends can be downloaded here (27.5 MB): http://www.muse.it/it/ufficio-stampa/Cartelle-stampa/Documents/foto_biodiversita_eastern_arc_agosto2014.zip
Video interview to Francesco Rovero and Michele Menegon (MUSE) for download here (30.7 MB): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/z0ruhdb1fwj6mxv/AAB27xdosNeeiYER3F3c9_YGa
Francesco Rovero | Eurek Alert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Life Sciences