This book focuses on geological history as the critical factor in determining the present biodiversity and landscapes of Amazonia. We explore the different driving mechanisms for landscape evolution by reviewing the history of the Amazon Craton, the associated sedimentary basins, and the role of mountain uplift and climate change. Throughout the book we provide an insight into the Meso- and Cenozoic record of Amazonia that was characterized by fluvial and long-lived lake systems and a highly diverse flora and fauna. This fauna includes giants such as the ca. 12 m long caiman Purussaurus, but also a varied fish fauna and fragile molluscs, whilst fossil pollen and spores form relics of ancestral swamps and rainforests.
Finally, we review the molecular datasets of the modern Amazonian rainforest and aquatic ecosystem, and discuss the possible relations between the origin of Amazonian species diversity and the palaeogeographic, palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental evolution of northern South America. The multidisciplinary approach in evaluating the history of Amazonia has resulted in a comprehensive volume that provides novel insights into the evolution of this region and can serve as reference for a variety of scientists working in Amazonia.
The book is written by leading scientists of the Amazonian research community and should be of interest to all students and researchers concerned with the natural history of Amazonia. Potential readers will include geologists, geographers and biologists who wish to understand the evolution of landscapes and biota of this unique region.
Introduction. Amazonia in its wider context: Delimitations, river, vegetation and landscapes. Amazonia: Configuration of the sedimentary basins, the Andean foreland, and the significance of Andean tectonics on Amazonia's sedimentary record and the Amazon Fan. Stratigraphy of Amazonia (synthesis of Neogene formations). Neogene sedimentary environments (Early Miocene E-W fluvial system; Middle Miocene paleo-Amazon wetland (W-E flow); Late Miocene to Pliocene with inferences based on Amazon Fan/Ceara Rise data; the extent of fluvial and/or tidal environments and marine incursions). The ancestral tropical rainforest and its evolution: A reconstruction based on a comparison of palynological data from Neogene to Present. Origin and evolution of the (unique) endemic mollusc fauna of the paleo-Amazon wetland. Ostracod speciation in the paleo-Amazon wetland. A reconstruction of Neogene water chemistry and it implications for the climate in Amazonia. Amazonia's fish fauna: Origins and distribution patters in relation to Andean tectonics, past marine incursions, and the paleo-Amazon wetland. Vertebrate fauna in Neogene Amazonia: Evidence from the fossil record. Molecular studies of present fauna groups and implications of the dynamic geological past on present distribution patterns. Synthesis: Paleogeography of Amazonia with reference to the Amazon Fan and northern and southern South America.Discussion of Neogene to Present landscape evolution in Amazonia linked to species evolution and diversity.
Carina Hoorn is a palynologist and geologist. She holds a PhD from at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Master of Science Communication (Imperial College, London). She is currently liaised to the University of Amsterdam and her main research interests are Amazonia, the Himalayo-Tibetan Region, and the coastal lagoons of Oman. Frank Wesselingh is a molluscan palaeontologist who studied geology at the Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and holds a PhD from the University of Turku (Finland). Frank works at Naturalis, the Natural History Museum in Leiden (The Netherlands), and his research interests are fossil molluscan faunas of long-lived lakes, the North Sea Basin and the Indo-West Pacific.
Recommenced. Academic audiences, upper-division undergraduates. (Choice, October 2010)