DISPATCHES FROM AFRICAN ISLANDS
Join Academy scientists as they search for bats, snakes, lizards, frogs, insects, and spiders on the islands of São Tomé and Principé in Africa's Gulf of Guinea. The team of specialists will post their latest adventures and discoveries from the Islands on the Science NOW web site throughout April and May.
About 200 miles off the western coast of Africa, near the equator, lie a chain of volcanic tropical islands teeming with biological diversity. Despite the proximity of the islands to mainland Africa and nearly 500 years of Portuguese colonization, the animals here have gone largely unstudied.
To address this void, a team of experts from the Academy will will document the divesity of everything from mammals to diatoms, or tiny planktonic algae, to conduct the first complete survey of two of the islands, São Tomé and Principé. The multidisciplinary team will search for animals in as many habitats and locations as possible, from the central mountains and inland streams to the coast.
both recognized and new species, the team will compare the collection
to that of a previous Academy trip to the nearby island of Bioko to see
what species the islands have in common and help determine how small,
isolated populations of these species have evolved.