Biogeography is the study of the
distribution Distribution may refer to:
*Distribution (mathematics), generalized functions used to formulate solutions of partial differential equations
*Probability distribution, the probability of a particular value or value range of a varia ...
In biology, a species is the basic unit of 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 individuals of the appropriate ...
s in geographic space
and through geological time
. Organisms and biological
A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as place, norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, ...
often vary in a regular fashion along geographic gradients of latitude
and habitat area
[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 o ...
is the branch of biogeography that studies the distribution of plants.
Zoogeography is the branch of the science of biogeography that is concerned with geographic distribution (present and past) of animal species.
As a multifaceted field of study, zoogeography incorporates methods of molecular biology, genetics, mor ...
is the branch that studies distribution of animals. Mycogeography is the branch that studies distribution of fungi, such as
A mushroom or toadstool is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source. ''Toadstool'' generally denotes one poisonous to humans.
The standard for the name "mushroom" is ...
Knowledge of spatial variation in the numbers and types of organisms is as vital to us today as it was to our early human
An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an antecedent (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent and so forth). ''Ancestor'' is "any person from wh ...
, as we adapt to heterogeneous but geographically predictable environments
. Biogeography is an integrative field of inquiry that unites concepts and information from
Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overl ...
Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolutionary processes ( natural selection, common descent, speciation) that produced the diversity of life on Earth. It is also defined as the study of the history of life f ...
Taxonomy is the practice and science of categorization or classification.
A taxonomy (or taxonomical classification) is a scheme of classification, especially a hierarchical classification, in which things are organized into groups or types. A ...
Geology () is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other astronomical objects, the features or rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other Ear ...
Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the three main branches of geography. Physical geography is the branch of natural science which deals with the processes and patterns in the natural environment such as the atmosphere, h ...
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 (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fos ...
Climatology (from Greek , ''klima'', "place, zone"; and , ''-logia'') or climate science is the scientific study of Earth's climate, typically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of at least 30 years. This modern field of study ...
[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
Geology () is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other astronomical objects, the features or rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other Ea ...
phenomena operating at global spatial scales and
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variatio ...
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 (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement in 1761 as Carl von Linné Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature ...
, contributed to the development of biogeography as a science.
The scientific theory of biogeography grows out of the work of Alexander von Humboldt
(1769–1859), Francisco Jose de Caldas
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, Yorkshire, and died at Thames Ditton, Surrey.
Watson was the eldest son of Holla ...
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.
De Candolle, son of Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, first dev ...
(1806–1893), Alfred Russel Wallace
(1823–1913), Philip Lutley Sclater
(1829–1913) and other biologists and explorers.
The patterns of species distribution across geographical areas can usually be explained through a combination of historical factors such as:
Speciation is the evolutionary process by which populations evolve to become distinct species. The biologist Orator F. Cook coined the term in 1906 for cladogenesis, the splitting of lineages, as opposed to anagenesis, phyletic evolution with ...
Continental drift is the hypothesis that the Earth's continents have moved over geologic time relative to each other, thus appearing to have "drifted" across the ocean bed. The idea of continental drift has been subsumed into the science of pla ...
A glacial period (alternatively glacial or glaciation) is an interval of time (thousands of years) within an ice age that is marked by colder temperatures and glacier advances. Interglacials, on the other hand, are periods of warmer climate betwe ...
. Through observing the geographic distribution of species, we can see associated variations in sea level
, river routes, habitat, and river capture
. Additionally, this science considers the geographic constraints of landmass
areas and isolation, as well as the available ecosystem energy supplies.
Over periods of
Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overlaps w ...
changes, biogeography includes the study of plant and animal species in: their past and/or present living '' refugium
; 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 (that is, descriptions of phenomena for which location is relevant), combined with software tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing those data. In a b ...
(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
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 atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An 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 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 biomes, 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, 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.
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 (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement in 1761 as Carl von Linné Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomial nomenclature ..., 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, Comte de Buffon (; 7 September 1707 – 16 April 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopédiste.
His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including two prominent F ... 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.
Following the period of exploration came the Age of Enlightenment 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. Using the word ''cosmos'' implies viewing the universe as a complex and orderly system or entity.
The cosmos, and understandings of the reasons for its existence and significance, are studied in ...''.
Augustin de Candolle
Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (, , ; 4 February 17789 September 1841) was a Swiss botanist. René Louiche Desfontaines launched de Candolle's botanical career by recommending him at a herbarium. Within a couple of years 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 developed the Theory of Uniformitarianism
Uniformitarianism, also known as the Doctrine of Uniformity or the Uniformitarian Principle, is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in our present-day scientific observations have always operated in the universe in ... 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 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 drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about , or about 35.5 percent of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Boliv ... and the 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 characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variatio ... 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, and the sharp difference that existed between North and South America
South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the south ... 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 Lothar Wegener (; ; 1 November 1880 – November 1930) was a German climatologist, geologist, geophysicist, meteorologist, and polar researcher.
During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and ... introduced the Theory of Continental Drift
Continental drift is the hypothesis that the Earth's continents have moved over geologic time relative to each other, thus appearing to have "drifted" across the ocean bed. The idea of continental drift has been subsumed into the science of pla ... 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 in one large landmass, Pangea
Pangaea or Pangea () was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It assembled from the earlier continental units of Gondwana, Euramerica and Siberia during the Carboniferous approximately 335 million y ..., 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.
In 1958 paleontologist Paul S. Martin published ''A Biogeography of Reptiles and Amphibians in the Gómez Farias Region, Tamaulipas, Mexico'', which has been described as "ground-breaking" [Steadman, David W. 2011. ] and "a classic treatise in historical biogeography".
Professor Paul Schultz Martin 1928–2010
'. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. January 2011: 33-46
[Adler, Kraig. 2012. ''Contributions to the History of Herpetology, Vol. III''. Contributions to Herpetology Vol. 29. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 564 pp. ] Martin applied several disciplines including ecology
Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overl ..., botany, climatology
Climatology (from Greek , ''klima'', "place, zone"; and , ''-logia'') or climate science is the scientific study of Earth's climate, typically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of at least 30 years. This modern field of study ..., geology
Geology () is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other astronomical objects, the features or rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other Ear ..., and Pleistocene
The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the '' Ice age'') is the geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed in ... dispersal routes to examine the herpetofauna of a relatively small and largely undisturbed area, but ecologically complex, situated on the threshold of temperate – tropical
The tropics are the regions of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are defined in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in
the Southern Hemisphere at S. The tropics are also referred t ... (nearctic and neotropical) regions, including semiarid lowlands at 70 meters elevation and the northernmost cloud forest
A cloud forest, also called a water forest, primas forest, or tropical montane cloud forest (TMCF), is a generally tropical or subtropical, evergreen, montane, moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud ... in the western hemisphere at over 2200 meters. [Martin, Paul S. 1958. ]
The publication of '' The Theory of Island Biogeography'' by Robert MacArthur and E.O. Wilson 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
A Biogeography of Reptiles and Amphibians in the Gómez Farias Region, Tamaulipas, Mexico
'. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology University of Michigan, 101: 1-102.
island biogeography Insular biogeography or island biogeography is a field within biogeography that examines the factors that affect the species richness and diversification of isolated natural communities. The theory was originally developed to explain the pattern of .... The application of island biogeography theory to habitat fragments spurred the development of the fields of conservation biology 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, predominantly 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, Nā Mokupuni o Hawai‘i) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, and numerous smaller islets in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some from the island of Hawaii in the south to northernmost ..., phylogeography allows them to test theories of relatedness between these populations and putative source populations in Asia
Asia (, ) is one of the world's most notable geographical regions, which is either considered a continent in its own right or a subcontinent of Eurasia, which shares the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with Africa. Asia covers an a ... and North America
North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the ....
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 that occurs when terrestrial organisms transfer from one land mass to another by way of a sea crossing. Island hopping is the crossing of an ocean by a series of shorter journeys between island ....
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 suite 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 goes one step further to include paleogeographic data and considerations of plate tectonics. Using molecular analyses and corroborated by
A fossil (from Classical Latin , ) is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or microbes, objects preserved ..., 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 country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country b ... or the adjacent Antarctic
The Antarctic ( or , American English also or ; commonly ) is a polar region around Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica, the Kerguelen Plateau and other ... (which at that time lay somewhat further north and had a temperate climate). From there, they spread to the other Gondwanan continents and Southeast Asia – the part of Laurasia
Laurasia () was the more northern of two large landmasses that formed part of the Pangaea supercontinent from around ( Mya), the other being Gondwana. It separated from Gondwana (beginning in the late Triassic period) during the breakup of Pan ... then closest to their origin of dispersal – in the late Paleogene, before achieving a global distribution in the early 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 suboscines.
Paleobiogeography also helps constrain hypotheses on the timing of biogeographic events such as vicariance 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 Amazonian 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 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 contradicted this ...), the species-rich Amazonian ichthyofauna is not the result of recent adaptive radiation
In evolutionary biology, adaptive radiation is a process in which organisms diversify rapidly from an ancestral species into a multitude of new forms, particularly when a change in the environment makes new resources available, alters biotic int ...s. [Lovejoy, N. R., S. C. Willis, & J. S. Albert (2010) Molecular signatures of 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.]
Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water containing low concentrations of dissolved salts and other total dissolved solids. Although the term specifically excludes seawater and brackish water, it does incl ... organisms, landscapes are divided naturally into discrete drainage basins by watersheds, episodically isolated and reunited by erosional processes. In regions like the Amazon Basin
The Amazon basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about , or about 35.5 percent of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Boliv ... (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 fourth largest river in the w ... basin, and Guianas
The Guianas, sometimes called by the Spanish loan-word ''Guayanas'' (''Las Guayanas''), is a region in north-eastern South America which includes the following three territories:
* French Guiana, an overseas department and region of France
* G ...) with an exceptionally low (flat) topographic relief, the many waterways have had a highly reticulated history over geological time. In such a context, 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 of Earth's surface that is attributed to plate tectonics. While isostatic response is important, an increase in the mean elevation of a region can only occur in response to tectonic processes of crustal th ... (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 mov ...), natural damming created by a landslide, or headward or lateral erosion of the watershed between adjacent basins.
Concepts and fields
Biogeography is a synthetic science, related to
Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, an ..., biology, soil science, geology
Geology () is a branch of natural science concerned with Earth and other astronomical objects, the features or rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time. Modern geology significantly overlaps all other Ear ..., climatology
Climatology (from Greek , ''klima'', "place, zone"; and , ''-logia'') or climate science is the scientific study of Earth's climate, typically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of at least 30 years. This modern field of study ..., ecology
Ecology () is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms at the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and biosphere level. Ecology overl ... and evolution
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variatio ....
Some fundamental concepts in biogeography include:
* allopatric speciation
Allopatric speciation () – also referred to as geographic speciation, vicariant speciation, or its earlier name the dumbbell model – is a mode of speciation that occurs when biological populations become geographically isolated from ... – the splitting of a species by evolution of geographically isolated populations
Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes, which are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Variatio ... – change in genetic composition of a population
* extinction – disappearance of a species
* dispersal – 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 l ...
* endemic areas
* geodispersal – the erosion of barriers to biotic dispersal and gene flow, that permit range expansion and the merging of previously isolated biotas
Range may refer to:
* Range (geographic), a chain of hills or mountains; a somewhat linear, complex mountainous or hilly area (cordillera, sierra)
** Mountain range, a group of mountains bordered by lowlands
* Range, a term used to ... and distribution Distribution may refer to:
*Distribution (mathematics), generalized functions used to formulate solutions of partial differential equations
*Probability distribution, the probability of a particular value or value range of a varia ...
* vicariance – 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
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.
There are many types of biogeographic units used in biogeographic regionalisation schemes, as there are many criteria (species composition,
Physiognomy (from the Greek , , meaning "nature", and , meaning "judge" or "interpreter") is the practice of assessing a person's character or personality from their outer appearance—especially the face. The term can also refer to the general ..., ecological aspects) and hierarchization schemes: biogeographic realm
A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeographic division of Earth's land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms. They are subdivided into bioregions, which are further subdivided into ecoregions.
...s (ecozones), bioregion
A bioregion is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographic realm, but larger than an ecoregion or an ecosystem, in the World Wide Fund for Nature classification scheme. There is also an attempt to use the ...s (''sensu stricto''), ecoregion
An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is smaller than a biogeographic realm. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of ...s, zoogeographical regions, floristic region
A phytochorion, in phytogeography, is a geographic area with a relatively uniform composition of plant species. Adjacent phytochoria do not usually have a sharp boundary, but rather a soft one, a transitional area in which many species from both re ...s, vegetation types, biomes, etc.
The terms biogeographic unit, biogeographic area or bioregion
A bioregion is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographic realm, but larger than an ecoregion or an ecosystem, in the World Wide Fund for Nature classification scheme. There is also an attempt to use the ... ''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, .]
* Allen's rule
Bergmann's rule is an ecogeographical rule that states that within a broadly distributed taxonomic clade, populations and species of larger size are found in colder environments, while populations and species of smaller size are found in warmer ...
* Biogeographic realm
A biogeographic realm or ecozone is the broadest biogeographic division of Earth's land surface, based on distributional patterns of terrestrial organisms. They are subdivided into bioregions, which are further subdivided into ecoregions.
* Bibliography of biology
* Biogeography-based optimization
* Center of origin
* Concepts and Techniques in Modern Geography
* Distance decay
* Ecological land classification
Geobiology is a field of scientific research that explores the interactions between the physical Earth and the biosphere. It is a relatively young field, and its borders are fluid. There is considerable overlap with the fields of ecology, evolutio ...
Macroecology is the subfield of ecology that deals with the study of relationships between organisms and their environment at large spatial scales to characterise and explain statistical patterns of abundance, distribution and diversity. The term ...
* Marine ecoregions
* Max Carl Wilhelm Weber
Max Carl Wilhelm Weber van Bosse or Max Wilhelm Carl Weber (5 December 1852, in Bonn – 7 February 1937, in Eerbeek) was a German- Dutch zoologist and biogeographer.
Weber studied at the University of Bonn, then at the Humboldt University ...
* Miklos Udvardy
A phytochorion, in phytogeography, is a geographic area with a relatively uniform composition of plant species. Adjacent phytochoria do not usually have a sharp boundary, but rather a soft one, a transitional area in which many species from both re ... – ''Plant region''
* Sky island
Sky islands are isolated mountains surrounded by radically different lowland environments. The term originally referred to those found on the Mexican Plateau, and has extended to similarly isolated high-elevation forests. The isolation has s ...
* Systematic and evolutionary biogeography association
Notes and references
* 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
International Biogeography Society
Systematic & Evolutionary Biogeographical Society
Early Classics in Biogeography, Distribution, and Diversity Studies: To 1950
* ttp://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