Africa (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast), Australia, South America (Ecuador)

These projects seek to understand the mechanisms important in generating rainforest biodiversity. Results from research on birds in Cameroon and reptiles in Australia strongly suggest that these transition zones, known as ecotones, are an important generator of the biodiversity of the rainforest. These findings have important implications for conservation policies, which to date have focused on the preservation of the rainforest exclusively, effectively seeking to preserve the pattern of biodiversity but not the process that creates it. By taking a multifaceted approach to the study of evolution, we can understand how diverging populations become new species, and take steps to conserve and protect those areas of the tropics that support such evolutionary processes.

With its collaborators, CTR has secured funding to expand this research to include birds, reptiles, small mammals and bats, in-and-around the rainforests of Africa, South America, and Australia. Finally, CTR is working with Senior Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab to utilize NASA satellite imagery to assess the degree of ecotone loss worldwide.

rainforest biodiversity and speciation rainforest biodiversity and speciation