We studied the easternmost area of Andalucía, a region with a high amount of plant species and a very high density of endemism, many of them associated with the mountain systems of the Bética mountains. The presence in the territory of the four Biosphere reserves: Cabo de Gata-Níjar, Sierra de las Nieves, Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y las Villas and Sierra Nevada, show their extraordinary ecological value. Although the botanical importance of the region has stimulated exploration and study for more than two centuries, the true dimension of the biological diversity it holds is still not fully understood; (ii) the mechanisms and processes that have historically originated and maintained it today; and (iii) the current risks and survival prospects of this high regional concentration of diversity in a changing world, are subject to increasing anthropic pressures on natural systems.
This project will analyze the changes in plant diversity in the Betic Mountain Ranges on a geological scale determined in pollen samples and phylogenetic analysis, conducting a survey of their current distribution and evaluating the contribution of interactions with pollinators and microorganisms to this great diversity. Information shall be provided on the level of protection of the different species and the potential risks to their conversation.
With this line of work, information will be generated for several classes of Essential biodiversity variables accepted as a standard to study, inform and manage changes in biodiversity, both in the classical spatial dimension and in the temporal dimension, a fact that will help to understand historical factors associated with biodiversity patterns in the Betic mountains, allowing to prospect some future changes that could be mitigated.