"Plant diversity seems to increase when tropical forests cover large areas. Shrinking ecosystems may experience biodiversity loss lasting for millions of years." Carlos Jaramillo, at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), and colleagues seek explanations for the longest Central and South America pollen record, published in the March 31, 2006 issue of the journal Science.
"Jaramillos intriguing findings provide an evolutionary perspective on a modern crisis," William Laurance of STRI and the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments project in Brazil comments, "They suggest that the rapid contemporary loss and fragmentation of rainforests will lead to striking, long-term biodiversity declines."
Jaramillo et al. used cores drilled through 5km of rock in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela to get at the fossil pollen record in a sequence of samples representing 10 to 82 million years before present. Then they correlated pollen diversity with global temperature estimates for the middle part of that sequence (20-65 mybp).
Carlos Jaramillo | EurekAlert!
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