Seminar Series

The human dimension of biodiversity changes on islands (Nogue et al)


Matiu Prebble


University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Thu, 06 May 2021 16:00:00 NZST in ER 263


Islands are among the last regions on Earth settled and transformed by human activities, and they
provide replicated model systems for analysis of how people affect ecological functions. By analyzing 27
representative fossil pollen sequences encompassing the past 5000 years from islands globally, we
quantified the rates of vegetation compositional change before and after human arrival. After human
arrival, rates of turnover accelerate by a median factor of 11, with faster rates on islands colonized in the
past 1500 years than for those colonized earlier. This global anthropogenic acceleration in turnover
suggests that islands are on trajectories of continuing change. Strategies for biodiversity conservation
and ecosystem restoration must acknowledge the long duration of human impacts and the degree to
which ecological changes today differ from prehuman dynamics.


Matiu is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School of Earth & Environment, University of Canterbury.