HOME

TheInfoList




Biogeography is the study of the distribution of
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
and
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
s in
geographic space
geographic space
and through
geological time The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological datingChronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously establish ...
. Organisms and biological
communities A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, wor ...

communities
often vary in a regular fashion along geographic gradients of
latitude In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the ...

latitude
,
elevation The elevation of a geographic Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar Sy ...

elevation
, isolation and habitat
area Area is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value in ...
.Brown University, "Biogeography." Accessed February 24, 2014. .
Phytogeography Phytogeography (from Greek φυτόν, ''phytón'' = "plant" and γεωγραφία, ''geographía'' = "geography" meaning also distribution) or botanical geography is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution ...
is the branch of biogeography that studies the distribution of plants.
Zoogeography Zoogeography is the branch of the science of biogeography that is concerned with geographic distribution (present and past) of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), bi ...
is the branch that studies distribution of animals. Mycogeography is the branch that studies distribution of fungi, such as
mushrooms A mushroom or toadstool is the fleshy, spore )'', growing on a thinned hybrid black poplar ''(Populus x canadensis)''. The last stage of the moss lifecycle is shown, where the sporophytes are visible before dispersion of their spores: the ...

mushrooms
. Knowledge of spatial variation in the numbers and types of organisms is as vital to us today as it was to our early human
ancestors An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily ...

ancestors
, as we adapt to heterogeneous but geographically predictable
environments
environments
. Biogeography is an integrative field of inquiry that unites concepts and information from
ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
,
evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interacti ...
,
taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only about biological ...
,
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...

geology
,
physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...
,
palaeontology Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene epoch (geology), epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes th ...
, and
climatology Climatology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
.Dansereau, Pierre. 1957. Biogeography; an ecological perspective. New York: Ronald Press Co. Modern biogeographic research combines information and ideas from many fields, from the physiological and ecological constraints on organismal
dispersal Dispersal may refer to: * Biological dispersal, the movement of organisms from their birth site to their breeding site, or from one breeding site to another ** Dispersal vector, forces that carry seeds for plants ** Oceanic dispersal, the movement ...
to
geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which th ...
and
climatological Climatology (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 m ...
phenomena operating at global spatial scales and
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
ary time frames. The short-term interactions within a habitat and species of organisms describe the ecological application of biogeography. Historical biogeography describes the long-term, evolutionary periods of time for broader classifications of organisms.Cox, C Barry, and Peter Moore. Biogeography : an ecological and evolutionary approach. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publications, 2005. Early scientists, beginning with
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
, contributed to the development of biogeography as a science. The scientific theory of biogeography grows out of the work of
Alexander von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (14 September 17696 May 1859) was a , , , , and proponent of philosophy and . He was the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher, and (1767–1835). Humboldt's quantitative work ...

Alexander von Humboldt
(1769–1859),
Francisco Jose de Caldas Francisco is the Spanish and Portuguese form of the masculine given name '' Franciscus''. In Spanish, people with the name Francisco are sometimes nicknamed " Paco": San Francisco de Asís was known as Pater Comunitatis (The Community father) whe ...

Francisco Jose de Caldas
(1768-1816),
Hewett Cottrell Watson Hewett Cottrell Watson (9 May 1804 – 27 July 1881) was a phrenologist, botanist and evolutionary theorist. He was born in Firbeck, near Rotherham Rotherham () is a large minster town in South Yorkshire, England which along with its nearb ...

Hewett Cottrell Watson
(1804–1881),
Alphonse de Candolle Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (28 October 18064 April 1893) was a French-Swiss botanist, the son of the Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. Biography De Candolle, son of Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, first devote ...

Alphonse de Candolle
(1806–1893),
Alfred Russel Wallace Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 18237 November 1913) was a British natural history, naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist and illustrator. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution throug ...
(1823–1913),
Philip Lutley Sclater Philip Lutley Sclater (4 November 1829 – 27 June 1913) was an England, English lawyer and zoologist. In zoology, he was an expert ornithologist, and identified the main zoogeographic regions of the world. He was Secretary of the Zoological So ...
(1829–1913) and other biologists and explorers.


Introduction

The patterns of species distribution across geographical areas can usually be explained through a combination of historical factors such as:
speciation Speciation is the evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expression, expressions of genes that are ...

speciation
,
extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by ...

extinction
,
continental drift Continental drift is the hypothesis that the Earth's continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly reg ...
, and
glaciation A glacial period (alternatively glacial or glaciation) is an interval of time (thousands of years) within an ice age An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the o ...
. Through observing the geographic distribution of species, we can see associated variations in
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...

sea level
, river routes, habitat, and
river capture , leaving a wind gap Stream capture, river capture, river piracy or stream piracy is a geomorphology, geomorphological phenomenon occurring when a stream or river drainage system or watershed is diverted from its own bed, and flows instead down ...
. Additionally, this science considers the geographic constraints of
landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the ...
areas and isolation, as well as the available ecosystem energy supplies. Over periods of
ecological Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biology ...
changes, biogeography includes the study of plant and animal species in: their past and/or present living '' refugium''
habitat Ibex in an alpine habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. ...

habitat
; their interim living sites; and/or their survival locales. As writer David Quammen put it, "...biogeography does more than ask ''Which species?'' and ''Where''. It also asks ''Why?'' and, what is sometimes more crucial, ''Why not?''." Modern biogeography often employs the use of
Geographic Information Systems A geographic information system (GIS) is a type of database containing Geographic data and information, geographic data (that is, descriptions of phenomena for which location is relevant), combined with Geographic information system software, sof ...
(GIS), to understand the factors affecting organism distribution, and to predict future trends in organism distribution. Often mathematical models and GIS are employed to solve ecological problems that have a spatial aspect to them. Biogeography is most keenly observed on the world's
island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...

island
s. These habitats are often much more manageable areas of study because they are more condensed than larger ecosystems on the mainland.MacArthur R.H.; Wilson E.O. 1967. ''The theory of island biogeography''

/ref> Islands are also ideal locations because they allow scientists to look at habitats that new
invasive species An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and negatively alters its new environment. Although their spread can have beneficial aspects, invasive species adversely affect the invaded habitat Ibex in an ...
have only recently colonized and can observe how they disperse throughout the island and change it. They can then apply their understanding to similar but more complex mainland habitats. Islands are very diverse in their
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
s, ranging from the tropical to arctic climates. This diversity in habitat allows for a wide range of species study in different parts of the world. One scientist who recognized the importance of these geographic locations was
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
, who remarked in his journal "The Zoology of Archipelagoes will be well worth examination". Two chapters in ''
On the Origin of Species ''On the Origin of Species'' (or, more completely, ''On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life''),The book's full original title was ''On the Origin of Species by Me ...
'' were devoted to geographical distribution.


History


18th century

The first discoveries that contributed to the development of biogeography as a science began in the mid-18th century, as Europeans explored the world and described the biodiversity of life. During the 18th century most views on the world were shaped around religion and for many natural theologists, the bible.
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
, in the mid-18th century, initiated the ways to classify organisms through his exploration of undiscovered territories. When he noticed that species were not as perpetual as he believed, he developed the Mountain Explanation to explain the distribution of biodiversity; when Noah's ark landed on Mount Ararat and the waters receded, the animals dispersed throughout different elevations on the mountain. This showed different species in different climates proving species were not constant. Linnaeus' findings set a basis for ecological biogeography. Through his strong beliefs in Christianity, he was inspired to classify the living world, which then gave way to additional accounts of secular views on geographical distribution. He argued that the structure of an animal was very closely related to its physical surroundings. This was important to a George Louis Buffon's rival theory of distribution. Closely after Linnaeus,
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon Georges-Louis Leclerc, Count, Comte de Buffon (; 7 September 1707 – 16 April 1788) was a French people, French Natural history, naturalist, mathematician, cosmology, cosmologist, and Encyclopédistes, encyclopédiste. His works influenced the ...

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
observed shifts in climate and how species spread across the globe as a result. He was the first to see different groups of organisms in different regions of the world. Buffon saw similarities between some regions which led him to believe that at one point continents were connected and then water separated them and caused differences in species. His hypotheses were described in his work, the 36 volume '' Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière'', in which he argued that varying geographical regions would have different forms of life. This was inspired by his observations comparing the Old and New World, as he determined distinct variations of species from the two regions. Buffon believed there was a single species creation event, and that different regions of the world were homes for varying species, which is an alternate view than that of Linnaeus. Buffon's law eventually became a principle of biogeography by explaining how similar environments were habitats for comparable types of organisms. Buffon also studied fossils which led him to believe that the earth was over tens of thousands of years old, and that humans had not lived there long in comparison to the age of the earth.


19th century

Following the period of exploration came the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link= ...
in Europe, which attempted to explain the patterns of biodiversity observed by Buffon and Linnaeus. At the birth of the 19th century, Alexander von Humboldt, known as the "founder of plant geography", developed the concept of physique generale to demonstrate the unity of science and how species fit together. As one of the first to contribute empirical data to the science of biogeography through his travel as an explorer, he observed differences in climate and vegetation. The earth was divided into regions which he defined as tropical, temperate, and arctic and within these regions there were similar forms of vegetation. This ultimately enabled him to create the isotherm, which allowed scientists to see patterns of life within different climates. He contributed his observations to findings of botanical geography by previous scientists, and sketched this description of both the biotic and abiotic features of the earth in his book, ''
Cosmos The cosmos (, ) is another name for the Universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prev ...
''. Augustin de Candolle contributed to the field of biogeography as he observed species competition and the several differences that influenced the discovery of the diversity of life. He was a Swiss botanist and created the first Laws of Botanical Nomenclature in his work, Prodromus. He discussed plant distribution and his theories eventually had a great impact on Charles Darwin, who was inspired to consider species adaptations and evolution after learning about botanical geography. De Candolle was the first to describe the differences between the small-scale and large-scale distribution patterns of organisms around the globe. Several additional scientists contributed new theories to further develop the concept of biogeography.
Charles Lyell Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, (14 November 1797 – 22 February 1875) was a Scottish geologist who demonstrated the power of known natural causes in explaining the earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astro ...

Charles Lyell
developed the Theory of
Uniformitarianism at Jedburgh.Above: John Clerk of Eldin's 1787 illustration.Below: 2003 photograph. Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity or the Uniformitarian Principle, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operat ...
after studying fossils. This theory explained how the world was not created by one sole catastrophic event, but instead from numerous creation events and locations.Lyell, Charles. 1830. Principles of geology, being an attempt to explain the former changes of the Earth's surface, by reference to causes now in operation. London: John Murray. Volume 1. Uniformitarianism also introduced the idea that the Earth was actually significantly older than was previously accepted. Using this knowledge, Lyell concluded that it was possible for species to go extinct. Since he noted that earth's climate changes, he realized that species distribution must also change accordingly. Lyell argued that climate changes complemented vegetation changes, thus connecting the environmental surroundings to varying species. This largely influenced Charles Darwin in his development of the theory of evolution.
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
was a natural theologist who studied around the world, and most importantly in the Galapagos Islands. Darwin introduced the idea of natural selection, as he theorized against previously accepted ideas that species were static or unchanging. His contributions to biogeography and the theory of evolution were different from those of other explorers of his time, because he developed a mechanism to describe the ways that species changed. His influential ideas include the development of theories regarding the struggle for existence and natural selection. Darwin's theories started a biological segment to biogeography and empirical studies, which enabled future scientists to develop ideas about the geographical distribution of organisms around the globe. Alfred Russel Wallace studied the distribution of flora and fauna in the
Amazon Basin The Amazon Basin is the part of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven ...

Amazon Basin
and the
Malay Archipelago The Malay Archipelago ( ceb, Kapupud-ang Malay, ms, Kepulauan Melayu, tgl, Kapuluang Malay, jv, Nusantara) is the archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of ...

Malay Archipelago
in the mid-19th century. His research was essential to the further development of biogeography, and he was later nicknamed the "father of Biogeography". Wallace conducted fieldwork researching the habits, breeding and migration tendencies, and feeding behavior of thousands of species. He studied butterfly and bird distributions in comparison to the presence or absence of geographical barriers. His observations led him to conclude that the number of organisms present in a community was dependent on the amount of food resources in the particular habitat. Wallace believed species were dynamic by responding to biotic and abiotic factors. He and Philip Sclater saw biogeography as a source of support for the theory of
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
as they used Darwin's conclusion to explain how biogeography was similar to a record of species inheritance. Key findings, such as the sharp difference in fauna either side of the
Wallace Line The Wallace Line or Wallace's Line is a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 18237 November 1913) was a British naturalist Natural history is a domain ...
, and the sharp difference that existed between North and
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
prior to their relatively recent faunal interchange, can only be understood in this light. Otherwise, the field of biogeography would be seen as a purely descriptive one.


20th and 21st century

Moving on to the 20th century,
Alfred Wegener Alfred Lothar Wegener (; ; 1 November 1880 – November 1930) was a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist. During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and as a pioneer of polar researc ...

Alfred Wegener
introduced the Theory of
Continental Drift Continental drift is the hypothesis that the Earth's continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly reg ...
in 1912, though it was not widely accepted until the 1960s. This theory was revolutionary because it changed the way that everyone thought about species and their distribution around the globe. The theory explained how continents were formerly joined together in one large landmass,
Pangea Pangaea or Pangea () was a supercontinent In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology) ...

Pangea
, and slowly drifted apart due to the movement of the plates below Earth's surface. The evidence for this theory is in the geological similarities between varying locations around the globe, fossil comparisons from different continents, and the jigsaw puzzle shape of the landmasses on Earth. Though Wegener did not know the mechanism of this concept of Continental Drift, this contribution to the study of biogeography was significant in the way that it shed light on the importance of environmental and geographic similarities or differences as a result of climate and other pressures on the planet. Importantly, late in his career Wegener recognised that testing his theory required measurement of continental movement rather than inference from fossils species distributions. The publication of ''
The Theory of Island Biogeography ''The Theory of Island Biogeography'' is a 1967 book by the ecologist Robert MacArthur and the biologist Edward O. Wilson. It is widely regarded as a seminal piece in island biogeography and ecology. The Princeton University Press reprinted the boo ...
'' by
Robert MacArthur Robert Helmer MacArthur (April 7, 1930 – November 1, 1972) was a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadi ...
and
E.O. Wilson Eo or EO may refer to: Businesses and organizations * Education Otherwise, a home education organization * Elevorganisasjonen, a Norwegian student organization * Entrepreneurs' Organization, a nonprofit network * Evangelische Omroep, a publi ...
in 1967 showed that the species richness of an area could be predicted in terms of such factors as habitat area, immigration rate and extinction rate. This added to the long-standing interest in
island biogeography Insular biogeography or island biogeography is a field within biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geography, geographic space and through evolutionary history of life, geological time. Organis ...
. The application of island biogeography theory to habitat fragments spurred the development of the fields of
conservation biology Conservation biology is the study of the conservation of nature and of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions. It is an int ...
and
landscape ecology Landscape ecology is the science of studying and improving relationships between ecological processes in the environment and particular ecosystems. This is done within a variety of landscape scales, development spatial patterns, and organizatio ...
. Classic biogeography has been expanded by the development of
molecular systematics Molecular phylogenetics () is the branch of phylogeny that analyzes genetic, hereditary molecular differences, predominately in DNA sequences, to gain information on an organism's evolutionary relationships. From these analyses, it is possible to ...
, creating a new discipline known as
phylogeography Phylogeography is the study of the historical processes that may be responsible for the past to present geographic distributions of genealogical lineages. This is accomplished by considering the geographic distribution of individuals in light of ge ...
. This development allowed scientists to test theories about the origin and dispersal of populations, such as island endemics. For example, while classic biogeographers were able to speculate about the origins of species in the
Hawaiian Islands The Hawaiian Islands ( haw, Mokupuni o Hawai‘i) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and seamounts in the Pacific Ocean, North Pacific Ocean, extending some from the Hawaii (island), island o ...
, phylogeography allows them to test theories of relatedness between these populations and putative source populations in
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
and
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
. Biogeography continues as a point of study for many life sciences and geography students worldwide, however it may be under different broader titles within institutions such as ecology or evolutionary biology. In recent years, one of the most important and consequential developments in biogeography has been to show how multiple organisms, including mammals like monkeys and reptiles like lizards, overcame barriers such as large oceans that many biogeographers formerly believed were impossible to cross. See also
Oceanic dispersal Oceanic dispersal is a type of biological dispersal Biological dispersal refers to both the movement of individuals (animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc.) from their birth site to their breeding site ('natal dispersal'), as well as the movem ...
.


Modern applications

Biogeography now incorporates many different fields including but not limited to physical geography, geology, botany and plant biology, zoology, general biology, and modelling. A biogeographer's main focus is on how the environment and humans affect the distribution of species as well as other manifestations of Life such as species or genetic diversity. Biogeography is being applied to biodiversity conservation and planning, projecting global environmental changes on species and biomes, projecting the spread of infectious diseases, invasive species, and for supporting planning for the establishment of crops. Technological evolving and advances have allowed for generating a whole suit of predictor variables for biogeographic analysis, including satellite imaging and processing of the Earth.The New Biogeography and its Niche in Physical Geography. D. WATTS Geography, Vol. 63, No. 4, ANNUAL CONFERENCE 1978 (November 1978), pp. 324–337 Two main types of satellite imaging that are important within modern biogeography are Global Production Efficiency Model (GLO-PEM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GLO-PEM uses satellite-imaging gives "repetitive, spatially contiguous, and time specific observations of vegetation". These observations are on a global scale.Stephen D. Prince and Samuel N. Goward. "Global Primary Production: A Remote Sensing Approach" ''Journal of Biogeography'', Vol. 22, No. 4/5, Terrestrial Ecosystem Interactions with Global Change, Volume 2 (Jul. – Sep., 1995), pp. 815–835 GIS can show certain processes on the earth's surface like whale locations, sea surface temperatures, and bathymetry."Remote Sensing Data and Information." Remote Sensing Data and Information. (accessed April 28, 2014). Current scientists also use coral reefs to delve into the history of biogeography through the fossilized reefs.


Paleobiogeography

Paleobiogeography goes one step further to include paleogeographic data and considerations of
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
. Using molecular analyses and corroborated by
fossils A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the a ...

fossils
, it has been possible to demonstrate that perching birds evolved first in the region of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
or the adjacent
Antarctic The Antarctic (US English or , UK English or and or ) is a around 's , opposite the region around the . The Antarctic comprises the continent of , the and other located on the or south of the . The Antarctic region includes the , wa ...

Antarctic
(which at that time lay somewhat further north and had a temperate climate). From there, they spread to the other
Gondwana Gondwana () or Gondwanaland was a supercontinent In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (ge ...

Gondwana
n continents and Southeast Asia – the part of
Laurasia Laurasia () was the more northern of two large landmasses that formed part of the Pangaea Pangaea or Pangea () was a supercontinent In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("s ...
then closest to their origin of dispersal – in the late
Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; informally Lower Tertiary or Early Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that spans 43 million years from the end of the Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geologi ...
, before achieving a global distribution in the early
Neogene The Neogene ( ) (informally Upper Tertiary or Late Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that spans 20.45 million years from the end of the Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; informally Lower Tertiary or Ea ...

Neogene
. Not knowing that at the time of dispersal, the Indian Ocean was much narrower than it is today, and that South America was closer to the Antarctic, one would be hard pressed to explain the presence of many "ancient" lineages of perching birds in Africa, as well as the mainly South American distribution of the
suboscine The Tyranni (suboscines) are a clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', "branch"), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are monophyly, monophyletic—that is, composed of a common ancestor and al ...
s. Paleobiogeography also helps constrain hypotheses on the timing of biogeographic events such as
vicariance Allopatric speciation (from Ancient Greek ἄλλος, ''allos'', meaning "other", and πατρίς, ''patris'', "fatherland"), also referred to as geographic speciation, vicariant speciation, or its earlier name, the dumbbell model, is a mode of ...
and geodispersal, and provides unique information on the formation of regional biotas. For example, data from species-level phylogenetic and biogeographic studies tell us that the fish fauna accumulated in increments over a period of tens of millions of years, principally by means of allopatric speciation, and in an arena extending over most of the area of tropical South America (Albert & Reis 2011). In other words, unlike some of the well-known insular faunas ( Galapagos finches, Hawaiian drosophilid flies, African rift lake
cichlids Cichlids are fish from the family (biology), family Cichlidae in the order Cichliformes. Cichlids were traditionally classed in a suborder, the Labroidei, along with the wrasses (Labridae), in the order Perciformes, but molecular studies have co ...
), the species-rich Amazonian ichthyofauna is not the result of recent
adaptive radiation In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular ...
s.Lovejoy, N. R., S. C. Willis, & J. S. Albert (2010) Molecular signatures of
Neogene The Neogene ( ) (informally Upper Tertiary or Late Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that spans 20.45 million years from the end of the Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; informally Lower Tertiary or Ea ...

Neogene
biogeographic events in the Amazon fish fauna. Pp. 405–417 in ''Amazonia, Landscape and Species Evolution'', 1st edition (Hoorn, C. M. and Wesselingh, F.P., eds.). London: Blackwell Publishing.
For
freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in ...
organisms, landscapes are divided naturally into discrete
drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from surface runoff, rain runoff, snowm ...

drainage basin
s by watersheds, episodically isolated and reunited by
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
al processes. In regions like the
Amazon Basin The Amazon Basin is the part of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven ...

Amazon Basin
(or more generally Greater Amazonia, the Amazon basin,
Orinoco The Orinoco () is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes known as the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3 percent of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia. It is the List of rivers by discharge, fourt ...

Orinoco
basin, and
Guianas The Guianas, sometimes called by the Spanish language, Spanish loan-word ''Guayanas'' (''Las Guayanas''), is a region in north-eastern South America which includes the following three territories: * French Guiana, an overseas departments and re ...
) with an exceptionally low (flat) topographic relief, the many waterways have had a highly reticulated history over
geological time The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological datingChronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously establish ...
. In such a context,
stream capture , leaving a wind gap Stream capture, river capture, river piracy or stream piracy is a geomorphology, geomorphological phenomenon occurring when a stream or river Drainage system (geomorphology), drainage system or Drainage basin, watershed is dive ...

stream capture
is an important factor affecting the evolution and distribution of freshwater organisms. Stream capture occurs when an upstream portion of one river drainage is diverted to the downstream portion of an adjacent basin. This can happen as a result of
tectonic uplift Tectonic uplift is the geologic uplift An orogeny is an event that leads to both structural Deformation (physics), deformation and compositional differentiation of the Earth's lithosphere (Crust (geology), crust and uppermost Mantle (geology) ...
(or
subsidence Subsidence is a general term for downward vertical movement of the Earth's surface, which can be caused by both natural processes and human activities. Subsidence involves little or no horizontal movement, which distinguishes it from slope move ...
), natural damming created by a
landslide Landslides, also known as landslips, are several forms of mass wasting Mass wasting, also known as mass movement, is a general term for the movement of rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurri ...

landslide
, or headward or lateral
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
of the watershed between adjacent basins.


Concepts and fields

Biogeography is a synthetic science, related to
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...

geography
,
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
,
soil science Soil science is the study of soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, mine ...
,
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...

geology
,
climatology Climatology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
,
ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biol ...
and
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
. Some fundamental concepts in biogeography include: *
allopatric speciation Allopatric speciation (from Ancient Greek ἄλλος, ''allos'', meaning "other", and πατρίς, ''patris'', "fatherland"), also referred to as geographic speciation, vicariant speciation, or its earlier name, the dumbbell model, is a mode of ...
 – the splitting of a species by evolution of geographically isolated populations *
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
 – change in genetic composition of a population *
extinction Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by ...

extinction
 – disappearance of a species *
dispersal Dispersal may refer to: * Biological dispersal, the movement of organisms from their birth site to their breeding site, or from one breeding site to another ** Dispersal vector, forces that carry seeds for plants ** Oceanic dispersal, the movement ...
 – movement of populations away from their point of origin, related to
migration Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum len ...
*
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest gro ...
areas * geodispersal – the erosion of barriers to
biotic Biotics describe living or once living components of a community; for example organisms, such as animals and plants. Biotic may refer to: *Life, the condition of living organisms *Biology, the study of life *Biotic material, which is derived from l ...
dispersal and gene flow, that permit range expansion and the merging of previously isolated biotas *
range Range may refer to: Geography * Range (geographic)A range, in geography, is a chain of hill A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms together ...
and
distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distr ...

distribution
*
vicariance Allopatric speciation (from Ancient Greek ἄλλος, ''allos'', meaning "other", and πατρίς, ''patris'', "fatherland"), also referred to as geographic speciation, vicariant speciation, or its earlier name, the dumbbell model, is a mode of ...
 – the formation of barriers to biotic dispersal and gene flow, that tend to subdivide species and biotas, leading to speciation and extinction; vicariance biogeography is the field that studies these patterns


Comparative biogeography

The study of comparative biogeography can follow two main lines of investigation: * Systematic biogeography, the study of biotic area relationships, their distribution, and hierarchical classification * Evolutionary biogeography, the proposal of evolutionary mechanisms responsible for organismal distributions. Possible mechanisms include widespread taxa disrupted by continental break-up or individual episodes of long-distance movement.


Biogeographic regionalisations

There are many types of biogeographic units used in biogeographic regionalisation schemes, as there are many criteria (species composition, physiognomy, ecological aspects) and hierarchization schemes: biogeographic realms (or ecozones), bioregions (''sensu stricto''), ecoregions, zoogeographical regions, floristic regions, vegetation types,
biome A biome is a collection of plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respi ...
s, etc. The terms biogeographic unit, biogeographic area or bioregion ''sensu lato'', can be used for these categories, regardless of rank. In 2008, an International Code of Area Nomenclature was proposed for biogeography.Morrone, J. J. (2015). Biogeographical regionalisation of the world: a reappraisal. ''Australian Systematic Botany'' 28: 81–90, .


See also

* Allen's rule * Bergmann's rule * Bibliography of biology * Biogeography-based optimization * Center of origin * Distance decay * Ecological land classification * Geobiology * Macroecology * Marine ecoregions * Max Carl Wilhelm Weber * Miklos Udvardy * Phytochorion – ''Plant region'' * Sky island * Systematic and evolutionary biogeography association


Notes and references


Further reading

* Albert, J. S., & R. E. Reis (2011).
Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Freshwater Fishes
'. University of California Press, Berkeley. 424 pp. * * Cox, C. B. (2001). The biogeographic regions reconsidered. ''Journal of Biogeography'', 28: 511–523

* Ebach, M.C. (2015). ''Origins of biogeography. The role of biological classification in early plant and animal geography''. Dordrecht: Springer, xiv + 173 pp.

* Lieberman, B. S. (2001). "Paleobiogeography: using fossils to study global change, plate tectonics, and evolution". Kluwer Academic, Plenum Publishing

* Lomolino, M. V., & Brown, J. H. (2004). ''Foundations of biogeography: classic papers with commentaries''. University of Chicago Press

* * * Millington, A., Blumler, M., & Schickhoff, U. (Eds.). (2011). ''The SAGE handbook of biogeography.'' Sage, London

* Nelson, G.J. (1978)
From Candolle to Croizat: Comments on the history of biogeography
''Journal of the History of Biology'', 11: 269–305. * Udvardy, M. D. F. (1975). ''A classification of the biogeographical provinces of the world''. IUCN Occasional Paper no. 18. Morges, Switzerland: IUCN


External links


International Biogeography Society

Systematic & Evolutionary Biogeographical Society

Early Classics in Biogeography, Distribution, and Diversity Studies: To 1950


* [http://www.wku.edu/%7Esmithch/chronob/homelist.htm Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists: Chrono-Biographical Sketches] ; Major journals
''Journal of Biogeography'' homepage

''Global Ecology and Biogeography'' homepage

''Ecography'' homepage
{{Authority control Biogeography, Landscape ecology Physical oceanography Ecology Physical geography Biology terminology Environmental terminology Habitat