The eight million species now living on the planet probably comprise less than 0.01 per cent of all the species that have ever existed and, while the theory of evolution can tell us a great deal about how various species arise, some basic questions have never been answered: How long does a species exist? What affects its longevity? How does climate change affect the rise and fall of different species?
Alexandre Antonelli, Associate Professor at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, and Scientific Curator at Gothenburg botanical garden, will search for the answers to these questions. The project includes the investigation of over 3 million documented fossils and the analyses of hundreds of millions of DNA sequences from plants, animals and fungi. Based on the results, Antonelli will figure out how different species have appeared and disappeared in various regions of the world.
Alexandre Antonelli wants to use history to help make more reliable estimations of how climate change will affect different species, so that efforts can be targeted on regions that are facing the greatest threat to biological diversity.
Photo: Gothenburg botanical garden