The Quaternary palaeobotany of Madeira and Azores volcanic archipelagos (Portugal): insights into the past diversity, ecology, biogeography and evolution
- 1Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016, Lisbon, Portugal
- 2Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL), Laboratório Associado, Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016, Lisbon, Portugal
- 3Madeira Botanical Group (GBM), Faculdade de Ciências da Vida, Universidade da Madeira, Campus da Penteada, 9000-390, Funchal, Portugal
Correspondence: Carlos A. Góis-Marques (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Góis-Marques, C. A.: The Quaternary palaeobotany of Madeira and Azores volcanic archipelagos (Portugal): insights into the past diversity, ecology, biogeography and evolution, E&G Quaternary Sci. J., 70, 197–199, https://doi.org/10.5194/egqsj-70-197-2021, 2021.
Supervisor: José Madeira (University of Lisbon)
Co-supervisors: José María Fernández-Palacios (University of La Laguna), Miguel Menezes de Sequeira (University of Madeira)
Dissertation online: https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.25325.10729
Palaeobotanical research on oceanic islands has been largely ignored despite its importance for providing empirical proof to disentangle insular plant diversity, evolution, ecology and biogeography. Here we use the oceanic archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores as a “testing ground” (Fig. 1a), via fieldwork and laboratorial and collection-based research, to demonstrate the existence of well-preserved and palaeobiologically informative plant fossils (Góis-Marques, 2020). In Madeira, mid-19th century collections from the São Jorge leaf bed (Fig. 2b) were stratigraphically and taxonomically reappraised, revealing the presence of the stink-laurel forest at 7–1.8 Ma, similar to the extant community (Góis-Marques et al., 2018). Porto da Cruz sediment exploration and new 40Ar–39Ar dating revealed the existence at 1.3 Ma of the extinct Eurya stigmosa (Theaceae) (Fig. 1d; Góis-Marques et al., 2019d), the neoendemic Melanoselinum decipiens (Apiaceae) (Fig. 1c; Góis-Marques et al., 2019a) and the probable ancestor of the Madeiran besom heath, Erica sect. Chlorocodon (Ericaceae). Preliminary prospection and dating of limnic sediments revealed the presence of suitable Pleisto-Holocene palynological content for palaeoecological reconstruction. In the Azores archipelago, the historical fossil collection (Góis-Marques and Menezes de Sequeira, 2015) and palaeobotanical review revealed the existence of plant fossils on all the islands (Fig. 1g; Góis-Marques et al., 2019b). On Faial, charcoalified wood found within the 1200-year BP ignimbrite (Fig. 1e) revealed the presence of abundant Prunus lusitanica subsp. azorica (Fig. 1f), today a rare endemic tree due to anthropic impacts (Góis-Marques et al., 2020). Fanal Bay leaf beds (Terceira) were prospected during 2016, revealing an in situ leaf litter forest, but these were destroyed in 2018 despite being within the Azores UNESCO global Geopark (Góis-Marques et al., 2019c). Here we demonstrate, for both archipelagos, the presence of an abundant and well-preserved plant fossil record, ranging probably from the Miocene but mostly Pleistocene to Holocene (Fig. 1g). These plant fossils are valuable, as they provide minimum ages for future phylogeny calibration and clues on the evolution of insular syndromes and allow the inference of the anthropic impact on pristine insular vegetation. However, this information can only be retrieved if the palaeobotanical geoheritage in these archipelagos is protected and properly studied.
The papers that constitute this thesis are published or submitted (see reference list).
The contact author has declared that there are no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
This thesis was supported by the SYNTHESYS project (GB-TAF-3203; http://www.synthesys.info/, last acess: 10 May 2021), which is financed by the European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 Integrating Activities Programme.
This research has been supported by the ARDITI – Regional Agency for the Development of Research, Technology and Innovation project (PhD grant: M1420-09-5369-FSE-000001).
The article processing charge was funded by the Quaternary scientific community, as represented by the host institution of EGQSJ, the German Quaternary Association (DEUQUA).
This paper was edited by Daniela Sauer and reviewed by one anonymous referee.
Góis-Marques, C. A.: The Quaternary palaeobotany of Madeira and Azores volcanic archipelagos (Portugal): insights into the past diversity, ecology, biogeography and evolution, unpublished PhD thesis, Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, XLVIII+426 pp., 2020.
Góis-Marques, C. A. and Menezes de Sequeira, M.: Darwin, Hooker and Arruda Furtado and the palaeobotany of Azores: Rediscovering the first collections, Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol., 221, 47–51, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2015.05.010, 2015.
Góis-Marques, C. A., Madeira, J., and Menezes de Sequeira, M.: Inventory and review of the Mio-Pleistocene São Jorge flora (Madeira Island, Portugal): palaeoecological and biogeographical implications, J. Syst. Palaeontol., 16, 159–177, https://doi.org/10.1080/14772019.2017.1282991, 2018.
Góis-Marques, C. A., de Nascimento, L., Fernández-Palacios, J. M., Madeira, J., and Menezes de Sequeira, M.: Tracing insular woodiness in giant Daucus (s.l.) fruit fossils from the Early Pleistocene of Madeira Island (Portugal), Taxon, 68, 1314–1320, https://doi.org/10.1002/tax.12175, 2019a.
Góis-Marques, C. A., de Nascimento, L., Menezes de Sequeira, M., Fernández-Palacios, J. M., and Madeira, J.: The Quaternary plant fossil record from the volcanic Azores Archipelago (Portugal, North Atlantic Ocean): a review, Hist. Biol., 31, 1267–1283, https://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2018.1444761, 2019b.
Góis-Marques, C. A., Elias, R. B., Steinbauer, M. J., de Nascimento, L., Fernández-Palacios, J. M., Menezes de Sequeira, M., and Madeira, J.: The loss of a unique palaeobotanical site in Terceira Island within the Azores UNESCO global geopark (Portugal), Geoheritage, 11, 1817–1825, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-019-00401-1, 2019c.
Góis-Marques, C. A., Mitchell, R. L., de Nascimento, L., Fernández-Palacios, J. M., Madeira, J., and Menezes de Sequeira, M.: Eurya stigmosa (Theaceae), a new and extinct record for the Calabrian stage of Madeira Island (Portugal): 40Ar/39Ar dating, palaeoecological and oceanic island palaeobiogeographical implications, Quat. Sci. Rev., 206, 129–140, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.01.008, 2019d.
Góis-Marques, C. A., Rubiales, J., de Nascimento, L., Menezes de Sequeira, M., Fernández-Palacios, J. M., and Madeira, J.: Oceanic Island forests buried by Holocene (Meghalayan) explosive eruptions: palaeobiodiversity in pre-anthropic volcanic charcoal from Faial Island (Azores, Portugal) and its palaeoecological implications, Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol., 273, 104116, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revpalbo.2019.104116, 2020.
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