A team at the Gibraltar National Museum, and specifically Professor Geraldine Finlayson and Dr Stewart Finlayson, have been collaborating with a French team working for Arte TV, the prestigious European Culture Television Channel, over the past year. As part of this work, the crew paid a recent visit to Gorham’s and Vanguard caves with Geraldine Finlayson to continue filming for an episode that will be part of a collection of four documentaries for Arte TV on straits (Gibraltar, Magellan, Malacca and Pas de Calais).
The aim of the series is summarised by Arte TV as follows:
“At the crossroads of seas and continents lie ecosystems which have ensured the immutable movement of genes and species since the dawn of time. Shaped by ice and plate tectonics, sometimes standing like impassable natural barriers, sometimes like providential gateways between worlds, the straits are unsuspected living environments as well as obligatory crossing points.
Captivated by these multi-story ecosystems, where the force of the elements and the odyssey of species intertwine underwater, on land and in the air, human beings very early on sought to establish themselves there. Today threatened by globalization, these great crossroads of life could well collapse. However, they hold the key to the resilience of all the ecosystems of our planet. How do human populations, settled on the shores of the straits, work to meet the challenges of these shared spaces?”
Stewart Finlayson has been working with the TV crew highlighting his research on bat populations on the Rock and other parts of the Strait. This is cutting edge research of species found in the area of the Strait, including Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco. He collaborates in this research with a team from the Estación Biologica de Doñana in this project. The work of Geraldine and her team around climate proxies is also being used in the documentary to illustrate how the Strait of Gibraltar has been an ecosystem like no other on the scale of the biosphere, since the time of the Neanderthals.
Commenting on this project, the latest in a long line, Minister for Heritage John Cortes said: “I am delighted with the way that the Gibraltar National Museum keeps on promoting Gibraltar at the highest international level. Its team has achieved one success after another and the museum has a very positive image abroad as a centre of excellence. They continue to put Gibraltar on the world map.”