Special Issue "The Human Footprint on Islands - The Ecological Impact of Discovery and Colonization"

A special issue of Quaternary (ISSN 2571-550X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Erik De Boer
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera (ICTJA-CSIC), 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: paleoecology and palynology; island biogeography; climate change; human arrival and extinction
Dr. Lea De Nascimento
Website
Guest Editor
Island Ecology and Biogeography Group, University of La Laguna, 38200 La Laguna, Spain
Interests: palaeoecology; island biogeography; plant ecology; human impact; forest dynamics; palaeoenvironmental DNA
Dr. Jamie Wood
Website
Guest Editor
Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, 7608 Lincoln, New Zealand
Interests: ancient DNA; extinctions; human impacts on ecosystems; paleodiets; paleoecology; palynology
Dr. Sandra Nogué
Website
Guest Editor
Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ Southampton, UK
Interests: palaeoecology; biogeography

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The discovery and settlement of previously-uninhabited land masses around the world caused dramatic changes to local ecosystems and biotas. These changes were particularly evident on islands, where human settlement usually marked the beginning of a period of habitat destruction and extinctions of local flora and fauna. Although extinctions are perhaps the most widely known impact, they represent only part of the transformation that was set in motion after an island´s settlement. For example, distribution range shifts and extinctions led to the loss of biotic interactions, while new interactions were created following the introduction of invasive species. In the last decade, an increasing number of studies have reported novel and unprecedented anthropogenic pressures on island ecosystems. An improved understanding of the human footprint on islands will provide valuable information for biodiversity conservation.

In this Special Issue, we will study baseline conditions and drivers of ecosystem change on islands prior to human arrival and examine the timing and mode of human settlement to examine subsequent ecological changes. In particular, we are interested in quantitative studies of island ecosystem changes following their initial discovery and settlement. We welcome contributions from a wide range of Quaternary disciplines—preferably interdisciplinary or multi-proxy studies—across different timescales. Examples include ecological baseline studies (e.g., the effects of sea level changes during glacial and interglacial periods on island biotas), resilience or vulnerability of island biotas to natural and anthropogenic climate change, studies on (pre-)historical human land use, and studies on current threats, such as habitat loss and biological invasion.

Dr. Erik de Boer
Dr. Lea de Nascimento
Dr. Jamie Wood
Dr. Sandra Nogué
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Quaternary is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Paleoecology
  • Landscape use and change
  • Early discovery
  • Community dynamics
  • Restoration ecology
  • Fire regime
  • Historical land use

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Revisiting the Foraging Ecology and Extinction History of Two Endemic Vertebrates from Tenerife, Canary Islands
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010010 - 21 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
We used carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes to examine the foraging ecology of Tenerife giant rats (Canariomys bravoi) and lizards (Gallotia goliath) in northwestern Tenerife, which until recently, were the island’s largest terrestrial vertebrates. [...] Read more.
We used carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes to examine the foraging ecology of Tenerife giant rats (Canariomys bravoi) and lizards (Gallotia goliath) in northwestern Tenerife, which until recently, were the island’s largest terrestrial vertebrates. We combined new isotope data for 28 C. bravoi and 14 G. goliath with published regional data for both species and then compared these with data for co-occurring extant taxa and modern C3 plants. Isotope data suggest both extinct species relied primarily on C3 resources and were trophic omnivores. However, the two species appear to have partitioned their resources when living in sympatry. Isotopic overlap between C. bravoi and Rattus spp., and between G. goliath, extant Gallotia galloti, and introduced rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) suggests reliance on similar foods. We radiocarbon dated four C. bravoi and two G. goliath with the most extreme isotope values. These new dates do not settle the question of what triggered the demise of either species. Nevertheless, the data are most consistent with anthropogenically-induced extinction. Temporal isotopic trends contradict expectations if regional climate were responsible, and confidence intervals for radiocarbon dates suggest it is highly likely that both species were present when humans first settled the island. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Dodo and the Red Hen, A Saga of Extinction, Misunderstanding, and Name Transfer: A Review
Quaternary 2020, 3(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat3010004 - 18 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The chronology of observations of two extinct flightless birds in 17th century Mauritius, the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and the red hen (Aphanapteryx bonasia), and what names or descriptions were used for them, is re-examined. It was concluded that the balance [...] Read more.
The chronology of observations of two extinct flightless birds in 17th century Mauritius, the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and the red hen (Aphanapteryx bonasia), and what names or descriptions were used for them, is re-examined. It was concluded that the balance of probabilities is strongly against birds called dodaarsen without descriptions in the 1680s being dodos rather than red hens. The dodo had disappeared earlier due to predation by pigs, but a hiatus in settlement broke observational continuity, yet folklore preserved the name and transferred it to the red hen. The dodo’s extinction thus happened unobserved. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Human Discovery and Settlement of the Remote Easter Island (SE Pacific)
Quaternary 2019, 2(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2020015 - 02 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The discovery and settlement of the tiny and remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has been a classical controversy for decades. Present-day aboriginal people and their culture are undoubtedly of Polynesian origin, but it has been debated whether Native Americans discovered the island before [...] Read more.
The discovery and settlement of the tiny and remote Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has been a classical controversy for decades. Present-day aboriginal people and their culture are undoubtedly of Polynesian origin, but it has been debated whether Native Americans discovered the island before the Polynesian settlement. Until recently, the paradigm was that Easter Island was discovered and settled just once by Polynesians in their millennial-scale eastward migration across the Pacific. However, the evidence for cultivation and consumption of an American plant—the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)—on the island before the European contact (1722 CE), even prior to the Europe-America contact (1492 CE), revived controversy. This paper reviews the classical archaeological, ethnological and paleoecological literature on the subject and summarizes the information into four main hypotheses to explain the sweet potato enigma: the long-distance dispersal hypothesis, the back-and-forth hypothesis, the Heyerdahl hypothesis, and the newcomers hypothesis. These hypotheses are evaluated in light of the more recent evidence (last decade), including molecular DNA phylogeny and phylogeography of humans and associated plants and animals, physical anthropology (craniometry and dietary analysis), and new paleoecological findings. It is concluded that, with the available evidence, none of the former hypotheses may be rejected and, therefore, all possibilities remain open. For future work, it is recommended to use the multiple working hypotheses framework and the strong inference method of hypothesis testing, rather than the ruling theory approach, very common in Easter Island research. Full article
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