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Predicting island beetle faunas by their climate ranges: the tabula rasa/refugia theory in the North Atlantic
Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, UK.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies, Environmental Archaeology Lab. (Miljöarkeologiska laboratoriet ; Arcum)
2015 (English)In: Journal of Biogeography, ISSN 0305-0270, E-ISSN 1365-2699, Vol. 42, no 11, 2031-2048 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim: This paper addresses two opposing theories put forward for the origins of the beetle fauna of the North Atlantic islands. The first is that the biota of the isolated oceanic islands of the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland immigrated across a Palaeogene–Neogene land bridge from Europe, and survived Pleistocene glaciations in ameliorated refugia. The second argues for a tabula rasa in which the biota of the islands was exterminated during glaciations and is Holocene in origin. The crux of these theories lies in the ability of the flora and fauna to survive in a range of environmental extremes. This paper sets out to assess the viability of the refugia hypothesis using the climatic tolerances of one aspect of the biota: the beetle fauna. Location: The paper focuses on Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Methods: The known temperature requirements of the recorded beetle faunas of the North Atlantic islands were compared with published proxy climate reconstructions for successive climate periods since the severing of a North Atlantic land bridge. We used the MCR (mutual climatic range) method available in the open access BugsCEP database software. Results: We show that most of the MCR faunas of the North Atlantic islands could not have survived in situ since the Palaeogene–Neogene, and are likely to have been exterminated by the Pleistocene glaciations. Main conclusions: The discrepancy between the climatic tolerances of the North Atlantic beetle fauna and the estimated climatic regimes since the severing of a land bridge strongly support the tabula rasa theory and suggests that the North Atlantic coleopteran fauna is Holocene in origin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. Vol. 42, no 11, 2031-2048 p.
Keyword [en]
BugsCEP database, Coleoptera, mutual climatic range method, North Atlantic, Pleistocene climate change, refugia, tabula rasa
National Category
Ecology Other Biological Topics Zoology Other Humanities not elsewhere specified Bioinformatics (Computational Biology) Climate Research Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Other Natural Sciences
Research subject
environmental archaeology; Entomology; Quarternary Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107110DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12593ISI: 000362833700002OAI: diva2:846930
Available from: 2015-08-18 Created: 2015-08-18 Last updated: 2016-05-25Bibliographically approved

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Buckland, Philip I
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Environmental Archaeology Lab
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Journal of Biogeography
EcologyOther Biological TopicsZoologyOther Humanities not elsewhere specifiedBioinformatics (Computational Biology)Climate ResearchGeosciences, MultidisciplinaryOther Natural Sciences

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