Working with ecology and biogeography of Amazonian rain forests.
University of Turku
Department of Biology
+358 50 464 5802
Amazonia distribution modelling ferns floristic patterns geological history indicator species remote sensing species diversity
Estimating how well existing conservation units represent different habitats and their species is necessary for the long-term preservation of biological diversity and for sustainable use of forest resources. The task is especially challenging in Amazonia, which is both extensive and largely unexplored. Therefore, exact enough maps of the distribution of biodiversity are not available. We aim to solve the problem by combining the efforts of two teams that have approached biodiversity-related questions from different points of view. Attention will be given both to the current distribution of biodiversity in Amazonia and to the geological history that has shaped it. This will invove a combination of novel remote sensing methods, exceptionally extensive and internally consistent field data, and a thorough understanding of the geology of the Amazon basin and the ecology of selected indicator plants.
Hanna Tuomisto, Kalle Ruokolainen, Samuli Lehtonen, Jasper Van doninck, Gabriela Zuquim, Gabriel Moulatlet, Glenda Cárdenas
Because of the huge species diversity of Amazonian forests, it has been difficult to obtain a general idea of their environmental and floristic variation among sites. This makes it difficult to allocate suitable land uses to areas with different productivity, to adapt the management systems to local ecological conditions, and to identify habitats of high conservation value. Understorey plants (such as pteridophytes) can be used as indicators to rapidly and at relatively low cost evaluate the ecological conditions and species composition of a given rain forest site. The present project will design a species identification tool that conveys to the users of the indicator species approach 1) the knowledge on how to identify the indicator species, and 2) the information on what kind of environment or forest each species indicates. In order to be useful for people who are not plant specialists, the identification tool will be interactive, easy to use, free of botanical jargon, richly illustrated and freely available on the internet.
Hanna Tuomisto, Gabriela Zuquim, Glenda Cárdenas