Whitepaper: Earth – Evolution at the dry limit

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Title:Main Title: Whitepaper: Earth – Evolution at the dry limit
Description:Abstract: At the land surface, the availability of water controls the evolution of life as well as the morphological development. It is currently hardly known how far both evolutionary processes interact in water-limited environments. While it is well considered that biotic processes contribute to weathering and therewith also prepare the landscape for erosion, little is known to what degree different landforms form barriers and corridors of life across geological time scales. Here, we present an example of how to tackle this complex interplay of biology and landscape evolution by introducing the Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1211 ‘Earth – Evolution at the dry limit’. A CRC is a German Research Foundation funding program, bringing together scientists from different disciplines to tackle jointly complex emergent research questions for up to twelve years. The CRC 1211 focuses on the arid cores of the Atacama Desert and the Namib Desert. Main objective is to disentangle how the shaping of land-surfaces by past episodes of wetter climate coevolved with the evolution of life. It is hypothesized that aridity was interrupted by punctuated wetter periods, which left fingerprints in surface processes and the radiation of the biota, with climatic thresholds beyond which biota could adapt to and influence landscape development. Specific desert landscape elements such as soil surface crusts, desiccation cracks and subsoil water potentially form underexplored refugia of life at particular sites, while old channels and alluvial fan systems potentially structure its dispersal at small to intermediate scales (< 100 m2), In addition, there are large-scale (> 10,000 km2) gradients in surface processes and biodiversity, likely controlled by the intensity and duration of fog or rainfall. To substantiate these hypotheses we combine expertise from the fields of population and (phylo-) genetics, molecular biology, biogeography, ecology, soil sciences, Earth-surface sciences, geomorphology, meteorology, (paleo-) climatology, (isotope-) geochemistry and physical dating to discover and evaluate the trajectories and thresholds of the evolution and isolation of life. While presenting here our current research strategy, we invite scientists from all over the world to link their research on related questions for the joint development of a global picture on how evolution of life was triggered and regulated by land-surface processes.
Responsible Party
Creators:Tibor Dunai (Author), Martin Melles (Author), Dietmar Quandt (Author), Claudia Knief (Author), Wulf Amelung (Author)
Publisher:Global and Planetary Change
Publication Year:2021
CRC1211 Topic:Climate
Related Subprojects:D1, Z1
Subjects:Keywords: Geomorphology, Paleoclimate Proxies, Biodiversity
File Details
Data Type:Data Paper - Publication
File Size:2.9 MB
Date:Accepted: 20.07.2021
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Download Permission:Free
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Access Limitations:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Licence:[CRC1211DB] Data policy agreement
Specific Information - Publication
Publication Status:Accepted
Review Status:Peer reviewed
Publication Type:Article
Article Type:Journal
Source:Global and Planetary Change
Source Website:Global and Planetary Change
Number of Pages:2 (193 - 194)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Benedikt Ritter
Metadata Created:16.07.2021
Metadata Last Updated:16.07.2021
Funding Phase:1
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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