IslandLab – Island Ecosystem Ecology from Deep Prehistory to the Anthropocene
The ERC funded IslandLab project will document long-term legacies and feedbacks between ecological changes, societal responses and ecosystem resilience on the island of Malta.
Ecosystem destruction usually brings about fragmentation – the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated areas. Today, the consequence of this destruction is the collapse of large mammal populations. At the same time, what caused megafauna, i.e. large animals, to go extinct over the last 50,000 years remains hotly debated. Another unanswered question is how humans and the climate helped to transform and collapse megafaunal ecosystems, and how this affected human societies at various periods.
The EU-funded IslandLab project will address these questions using the Maltese Islands to explore the effects of anthropogenic ecosystem fragmentation. By building high-resolution ecological, climatic, and archaeological characterisations of Malta before and after human arrival and subsequent alteration of biotas, IslandLab will document long-term legacies and feedbacks between ecological changes, societal responses, and ecosystem resilience. The results will shed light on extinction processes in current anthropogenic landscapes, elucidating the ecological and human dimensions of restoration pathways from an island paradigm at a pivot between Europe and Africa.
With thanks to Michelle O’Reilly for the logo and artwork.