Introduction to Ecosystems

Ecosystems of Bel Ombre


From ridge to reef


Origins of native terrestrial and marine biodiversity

Mauritius along with the other Mascarene islands have emerged as a result of gigantic underwater volcanic eruptions to the East of the African and Malagasy continental plate. It is estimated that Mauritius itself started to emerge 8 million years ago, and Reunion island 5 million years later, while Rodrigues – thought to be the most recent – some 1.5 million years ago. Mauritius is encircled by a broken ring of mountain ranges, varying in height from 300–800 m (1,000–2,600 ft) above sea level. These ranges form a ring, suggesting that they are the remnants of the ridges of the extant volcano’s main crater in addition to the isolated peaks and craters found around the island.


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