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Geography / West Africa

West Africa

Africa

  • West Africa


1998

Le Loeuff & Cosel, 1998, p. 309:

  • "Five different hydroclimatic regions are recognized in the tropical eastern Atlantic: the northern alternance region (Cape Blanc - Cape Verga), the atypical tropical region (Cape Palmas - border BeninlNigeiia), the southern alternance region (Cape Lopez - Cape Frio), all with periodical upwelling of colder water, and two intercalated typical tropical regions with warm water and reduced salinity. The faunal richness in the regions with upwelling is higher than in the typical tiopical regions because many benthic species avoid warm and reduced salinity water, Faunistic exchange and affinity are greater between the upwelling zones and the bordering temperate zones. The cold regions are also more similar in faunal composition. Benthic communities in both tropical and temperate eastern Atlantic are not fundamentally different. Species diversity of benthic invertebrates in tropical West Africa is about the same order of magnitude as in Europe and the Mediterranean. Hydroclimatic conditions (upwelling, salinity reduction and internal waves with drastic temperature changes) and absence of coral reef formations do not favour the establishment and thriving of a warm stenohaline and stenotherm fauna in West Africa. Paleozoogeographic events, such as the formation of a large Euro-West African tropical province during the Miocene after the breakup of the Tethys, repeated climate deteriorations during Pliocene and Pleistocene with reductions of the tropical zone, sea level changes and large-scale extinction of warm-tropical species, are also factors responsible for the current low biodiversity in the tropical eastern Atlantic. Some species survived in two major relict pockets in Senegal and southern Angola with particular ecological conditions.*

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