EGU2020-3575, updated on 12 Jan 2022
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Sundaland's subsidence requires revisiting its biogeography

Laurent Husson1, Florian Boucher2, Anta-Clarisse Sarr3, Pierre Sepulchre4, and Sri Yudawati Cahyarini5
Laurent Husson et al.
  • 1ISTerre, CNRS, Université Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France (
  • 2LECA, Université Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France
  • 3CEREGE, Université Aix-Marseille, France
  • 4LSCE, CNRS, Université Versailles-Saint Quentin, France
  • 5Geotek, LIPI, Bandung, Indonesia

It is widely accepted that sea level changes intermittently inun- dated the Sunda Shelf throughout the Pleistocene, separating Java, Sumatra and Borneo from the Malay Peninsula and from each other. On this basis, the dynamics of the biodiversity hotspot of Sundaland is consistently regarded as solely contingent on glacial sea level os- cillations, with interglacial highstands creating intermittent dispersal barriers between disjunct landmasses. However, recent findings on the geomorphology of the currently submerged Sunda shelf sug- gest that it subsided during the Pleistocene and that, over the Late Pliocene and Quaternary, is was never submerged prior to Marine Isotope Stage 11 (MIS 11, 400 ka). This would have enabled the dispersal of terrestrial organisms regardless of sea level variations until 400 ka and hampered movements thereafter, at least during interglacial periods. Existing phylogeographic data for terrestrial organisms conform to this scenario: available divergence time esti- mates reveal an 8‐ to 9‐fold increase in the rate of vicariance be- tween landmasses of Sundaland after 400 ka, corresponding to the onset of episodic flooding of the Sunda shelf. These results highlight how reconsidering the paleogeographic setting of Sundaland chal- lenges understanding the mechanisms generating Southeast Asian biodiversity.

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