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Posts from the ‘inselbergs’ Category

Rocky outcrops as ecological refuges – new paper in Biological Conservation

In joint work with the University of the Free State, we study how isolated mountains and rocky outcrops can help to preserve biodiversity. As study region we work  in the grassland biome of the Eastern Free State Province in South Africa.  In a first paper, now out in Biological Conservation, we present data on the butterflies present in this region.

We found that butterflies in the landscape matrix between the mountains were a nested subset of species from the mountains and outcrops, and there was little evidence that species with certain traits were limited to either habitat. This suggests that species can retreat to mountain refuges during harsh conditions and recolonise the surrounding matrix once conditions improve.

Ecological refuges such as these mountains and rocky outcrops  can unify land-sharing and land-sparing because their targeted protection would support the persistence of species throughout wider landscapes.

Aridity promotes bet hedging – new paper in Oecologia

In a new paper Tom Pinceel shows that crustaceans from ephemeral water bodies have different egg hatching frequencies depending on local climatic conditions. If the climate is harsher and less predictable, a lower percentage of eggs hatches after rains. This ensures that more long lived eggs are left that may grow during future conditions!

The work has been published in  Oecologia


Joining the Inselberg Research Initiative


I visited the University of Rostock to consult with some of the world’s leading experts on the ecology of isolated mountain habitats known as inselbergs. We’ll be joining forces for a number of future projects combining insights from plants and animals to better understand how these enigmatic landscape features survived through the ages and how their biota interact with the landscape matrix around them.

Expedition to the Australian outback 2013


Sunset at our campsite at Walga Rock


Where we are going we don’t need roads

During the 2013 expedition we sampled a total of 600 rock pools from 50 inselbergs in Western Australia. The dataset wil be used to get more insight in the drivers of diversity patterns across spatial scales.


Sampling a rock pool community on Baladgie Rock overlooking a salt lake


A typical example of a West Australian inselberg in the Cue area in Western Australia