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Caribbean bioregion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Caribbean bioregion is a biogeographic region that includes the islands of the Caribbean Sea and nearby Atlantic islands, which share a fauna, flora and mycobiota distinct from surrounding bioregions.

The Caribbean bioregion, as described by the World Wildlife Fund, includes the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica), the Lesser Antilles, the Lucayan archipelago (Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), and Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. The Lucayan archipelago lies north of the Caribbean in the Atlantic Ocean, but is part of the bioregion based on its flora and fauna. The bioregion does not include Trinidad and Tobago; these islands rest on South America's continental shelf, and have been historically part of the South American continent. Trinidad and Tobago are part of the Orinoco bioregion[1]

The climate of the ecoregion is tropical, and varies from humid to arid. Geology and topography also vary, with larger mountainous islands of continental rock, volcanic islands, and low-lying coral and limestone islands. The bioregion includes tropical moist forests, tropical dry forests, tropical pine forests, flooded grasslands and savannas, xeric shrublands, and mangroves.

The Caribbean bioregion's distinct fauna, flora and mycobiota was shaped by long periods of physical separation from the neighboring continents, allowing animals, fungi and plants to evolve in isolation. Other animals, fungi and plants arrived via long-distance oceanic dispersal or island hopping from North America and South America.[2][3]

The bioregion has many plant species, including many endemics. There are about 200 endemic genera of plants. Wallenia, the largest endemic genus, has thirty species, and six other genera have ten or more species.[4]

Three mammal families are endemic to the bioregion; the Solenodontidae includes two species of Solenodon, one species on Cuba, the other on Hispaniola. Fossil evidence shows that the family was once more widespread in North America. Family Nesophontidae, or the West Indian shrews, contained a single genus, Nesophontes, which inhabited Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands. All members of the family are now believed to be extinct. The Capromyidae, or hutias, include a number of species, mainly from the Greater Antilles. Many other rodents of the Caribbean are also restricted to the region.[5][6]

Ecoregions

Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests

Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests

Flooded grasslands and savannas

Deserts and xeric shrublands

Mangrove

See also

References

  1. ^ Dinerstein, Eric; David Olson; Douglas J. Graham; et al. (1995). A Conservation Assessment of the Terrestrial Ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington DC.
  2. ^ Dinerstein, Eric; David Olson; Douglas J. Graham; et al. (1995). A Conservation Assessment of the Terrestrial Ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington DC.
  3. ^ Iturralde-Vinent, M.A., and R.D.E. MacPhee (1999). Paleogeography of the Caribbean region: Implications for Cenozoic biogeography. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 238:1-95.
  4. ^ World Wildlife Fund. "Islands of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean". Accessed 4 September 2017. [1]
  5. ^ Iturralde-Vinent, M.A., and R.D.E. MacPhee (1999). Paleogeography of the Caribbean region: Implications for Cenozoic biogeography. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 238:1-95.
  6. ^ MacPhee, R.D.E., Ronald Singer, Michael Diamond (2000). "LateCenozoic Land Mammals from Grenada, Lesser Antilles Island-Arc". American Museum Novitates Number 3302, American Museum of Natural History, October 16, 2000.
This page was last edited on 9 October 2021, at 19:44
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