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Calpe Conference 2024 - Climate change, ecology and evolution on the Atlantic Islands and its continental seaboard

This year’s Calpe Conference will take place for the first time in July, from 4 to 6, in a bid to avoid a busier time of year at the Gibraltar University.

With current concerns over global climate change, what lessons can be learnt from Atlantic islands and the continental margins facing them? This year’s Calpe Conference brings together leading experts to discuss these issues.

“Since Darwin’s work on the Galapagos, islands have been seen as natural laboratories for the study of evolution. The Atlantic Island archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira, Selvagens, Canaries and Cape Verde (collectively known as Macaronesia) have received less attention, but a growing body of research is bringing their significance to the fore. Isolation from the mainland generated unique floras and faunas in the archipelagos and some unexpected exchanges between them,” said a statement from the Government.

“At the same time, the mild climate generated by oceanic influence has made the islands reservoirs of plants and animals that survived the glaciations. This oceanic influence has also had its effects on the proximate continental shores of south-west Iberia and north-west Africa, where continental species survived the glaciations.”

“These populations included Tertiary plant relics, that vanished from the rest of the continent, and the Neanderthals, who persisted on the shores of south-western Iberia longer than anywhere else on the planet.”

“Fossil evidence from Neanderthal contexts in caves at Gibraltar and south-west Portugal also indicates that species of seabirds now extinct or restricted to the Atlantic Islands, once occupied the coastal mainland.”

“Humans arrived on the islands much later and it is becoming increasingly clear, from fossil and archaeological evidence, that they were responsible for the extinction of unique island species.”

The Calpe Conference aims to focus on these issues with their lead of experts who will be presenting.

Anyone wishing to attend can register via the Gibraltar National Museum website https://www.gibmuseum.gi/ or by contacting the Calpe Conference Desk on +(350) 200 74289. Attendance is free for Gibraltar residents.

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