Litho-refugia: the importance of rock landscapes for the long-term persistence of Australian rainforest fauna

Couper, Patrick J., and Hoskin, Conrad J. (2008) Litho-refugia: the importance of rock landscapes for the long-term persistence of Australian rainforest fauna. Australian Zoologist, 34 (4). pp. 554-560.

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Abstract

Rainforest was formerly widespread on the Australian continent but underwent large-scale contraction to pockets on the east coast through the Miocene and Quaternary. This contraction was due to increasingly dry and seasonal climatic conditions across the continent, which reached greatest severity during the glacial cycles of the Pleistocene. Extensive areas of exposed, layered rock in the mesic areas of Australia provide similar microclimatic conditions to rainforest, in being cool, moist and largely sheltered from fire. These rock habitats are stable and relatively buffered from short- and long-term climatic changes. Therefore, rock habitats can act as refugia (litho-refugia) for the persistence of rainforest lineages in areas where rainforest is currently, or was historically, marginal or absent. Here we outline a number of examples of rainforest faunal groups, primarily from mid-eastern and northeastern Queensland, that exemplify the importance of rock landscapes in the persistence of rainforest lineages.

Item ID: 35241
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0067-2238
Keywords: climate change, microclimate, vertebrates, invertebrates
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2014 04:33
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060302 Biogeography and Phylogeography @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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