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New species of butterfly is named after PhD alumnus

24 November 2016

In 2008 Brookes alumnus and Visiting Professor Julian Bayliss famously discovered the ‘lost’ rainforest of Mount Mabu in Mozambique, generating much international attention. Julian went onto discover a range of new species thriving in this hidden oasis. His contribution to conservation efforts in the region have also been broadcast in various BBC documentaries including the recent TV series Africa narrated by Sir David Attenborough and Earth’s Seasonal Secrets.

Sir David Attenborough referred to Mount Mabu as ‘the Butterfly Forest’. It is perhaps then appropriate that Julian has recently had a new species of butterfly from Mount Mabu named after him (Cymothoe baylissi). In total Julian has discovered over 20 new species at Mount Mabu including eight butterflies, three snakes, four chameleons, two bats and three crabs.

Julian’s recent work has focused on climate change and land cover in Africa and the startling results have been published this year. In this series of collaborative articles, investigation has focused on how agricultural land use has affected land cover in Africa (focusing on Tanzania’s Eastern Arc mountains). The research has shown that in just under one century (1908-2000) forested area has declined by a dramatic 74% in this region and has been replaced with cropland.

Bayliss and team also studied the efficacy of legal protection of land and what effect this had on preventing deforestation. Their results show that such protection has a major benefit to not only conserving existing areas but in actually increasing forested areas to expand. This work is ongoing and further publications are in progress.

For more information on the lost Rainforest of Mount Mabu discovered by Professor Julian Bayliss:
Dr. Julian Bayliss: The Lost Forest of Mount Mabu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qb062