IslandExtinctions: The link between humans and animal extinctions on islands worldwide

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Julia Heinen


Postdoctoral Fellow


Oxford University School of Archaeology


DKK 1,100,000




Visiting Fellowships at University of Oxford


The goal of the IslandExtinctions project is to accurately predict vertebrate extinctions (birds, mammals, and reptiles) on 25 islands worldwide for conservation prioritisation, by substantiating risks and drivers.


Most of the recent extinctions have happened on islands, placing them at the center of the biodiversity crisis. Yet, there are at least a thousand extinct species that have disappeared before they were discovered, biassing our picture of the past. We also lack detailed information about human-related extinction causes. This stands in our way of accurate extinction prediction and prevention.


I will enhance the discovery and characterisation of undetected extinct island species by searching for their environmental DNA (e.g.cave sediment). I will identify human arrival times and specific activities driving these extinctions by integrating my biological databases of animal extinctions with archaeological data about historical island people at the School of Archaeology, Oxford University.

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