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July 4, 2019. Life / Islands

Atlantic Ocean Islands

Nicholas D. Holmes, Olivier Langrand, Russell A. Mittermeier, Anthony B. Rylands, Thomas Brooks, Dena R. Spatz, James C. Russell, Wes Sechrest, Federico Mendez Sanchez

The Atlantic Ocean separates Europe and Africa from the Americas and covers approximately 20% of the Earth’s surface.

Many of the typical Atlantic Islands are the result of volcanoes, starting with Iceland in the far north, the Azores archipelago (belonging to Portugal), São Pedro and São Paulo (Brazil), and Ascension, St. Helena, and the Tristan da Cunha archipelago (all UK Overseas Territories) in the far south. These islands are geologically quite young and have a wide range of climates and ecosystems. They vary from cold and windswept in the sub-Arctic and sub-Antarctic latitudes, through lush forested islands in the Azores and off West Africa, to hot and dry desert islands such as Ascension.

In terms of biodiversity, the most impressive are the islands of the Gulf of Guinea—humid tropical rain forest islands of a volcanic range extending southwest from Cameroon. They are the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Principe (1,001 km2), and the islands of Annobón (17 km2) and Bioko (2,017 km2) that are part of Equatorial Guinea. Annobón and São Tomé and Principe are truly oceanic and have never been connected with each other or with the mainland, while Bioko lies on the continental shelf and was connected to the African mainland in the past.

 

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “Islands” (2018)

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