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Historical biogeography of West Indian vertebrates.

Regardless of the above complaints, I believe that the three major competing schools of historical biogeography feature the following positive characteristics vital to the success of any synthesis of systematics based on compatible (natural) deterministic phylogenetic principles and (natural) probabilistic spatial interaction principles. Regionalisation approach/es (i.e., not necessarily Wallace's particular model) provide a basis for summarising in least biased fashion the overall process of evolution (as viewed biogeographically), and by virtue of their resting on interrelatable units are the best suited for the study of the spatial interaction process underlying the structure of these. The vicariance/cladistics-based approach rests on principles ensuring a sound basis for phylogenetic reconstruction and, therefore, classification (see later discussion); moreover, it provides one equally sound basis for testing/verifying hypotheses erected through the assessment of spatial interaction patterns (but not the reverse, as is now the way the matter is treated). Panbiogeography contributes a generalisable spatial focus for investigations of microprocess: situation-specific trends of spatial affinity within and/or across taxa, relatable to a variety of causal mechanisms.


The dune-restoration project is just one of the Pompes' examples of how human actions have altered the islands to meet the demands of a growing number of visitors and residents.

Towards a biogeography of the Caribbean.

The signature of human pressure history on the biogeography of body mass in tetrapods.

Every topic in any discipline has seminal papers or books that startedresearch programs or changed the way that scientists, and ultimatelythe public, understand their subject. These publications are oftencalled "classic" works. Examples in Biogeography include Darwin's "Onthe Origin of Species," Wallace's "The Geographical Distribution ofAnimals," Dov Por's "One Hundred Years of Suez Canal -- A Century ofLessepsian Migration: Retrospect and Viewpoints," Elton's "Ecology ofInvasions by Animals and Plants," Haffer's "Speciation in AmazonForest Birds," MacArthur and Wilson's "Island Biogeography," and manyothers. Lomolino et al. (2004) "Foundations of Biogeography: ClassicPapers with Commentaries" (on reserve in the Marston Science Libraryfor the semester) is a great source of these papers, and although it isvery long it does not have all of the papers that you might consider"classic."

Wallace pushed the study of biogeography to grander scales than Darwin. As he traveled through Indonesia, for example, he was struck by the sharp distinction between the northwestern part of the and the southeastern, despite their similar climate and terrain. Sumatra and Java were ecologically more like the Asian mainland, while New Guinea was more like Australia. He traced a remarkably clear boundary that snaked among the islands, which later became known as "Wallace's Line." He later recognized six great biogeographical regions on Earth, and Wallace's Line divided the Oriental and the Australian regions.

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Molecular phylogeny and historical biogeography of West Indian boid snakes (Chilabothrus).

Geographers themselves are notorious "borrowers" of philosophy and theory from other fields, of course, but their applications and extensions of such are distinguished by the necessity of having to deal with the "how's"--not just "what's"--of very complex and explicitly spatial contexts. The overtly "open" nature of geographical systems has forced those who study related matters to specialise in the development and use of analytical techniques linking causal processes to spatial structure, and I feel it is time that biology-trained biogeographers became more conscious of these; and even more so, the philosophical rationale for their application.

Alfred Russel Wallace is important for at least four reasons. First, he co-discovered natural selection and prompted Darwin to finally rush his Origin of Species to press. Second, Wallace is perhaps one of the modern world’s greatest scientific adventurer explorers. When Wallace returned from his eight-year exploration of Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago he wrote in 1869, regarded by The Dictionary of Scientific Biography as “one of the finest scientific travel books ever written.” A third reason for Wallace’s importance is his work in biogeography. His (1876) is one of the seminal works in the field. A fourth reason Wallace is important is that this co-discoverer of natural selection, the workhorse of Darwinian evolution, diverged from Darwin’s methodological naturalism (i.e., the notion that scientists must invoke only natural processes functioning via unbroken natural laws in nonteleological ways) to propose a theory of evolution defined by intelligence and design.

Molecular systematics and historical biogeography of tree boas (Corallus spp.).Mol.
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Theory Of Island Biogeography Free Essays - StudyMode

With the preceding aside, let us briefly consider how the "speciation/organism" based schools of historical biogeography fall short of promoting spatially realistic biogeography interpretations. The oldest school, adhering to a regions-structured, dispersal-regulated interpretation, was popularised by Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace considered the six-region classification system he adopted a "natural" one to the extent that it efficiently summarised what appeared to be a well-differentiated and general distributional response to underlying causal mechanisms. Nonetheless, in a number of respects it represents something less than the tag "natural" ought to reflect. To begin with, he never produced better than a correlative--history-based--understanding of these assumed mechanisms. Wallace adopted Sclater's (1858) original plan, which dealt with the distribution of birds. Finding it a satisfactory summary for the distribution patterns of mammals (which he considered the "model" group zoogeographically) he also concluded, as a package, that present distribution patterns were a function of dispersal and more or less permanently-located continental masses (Wallace 1877; Fichman 1977). But speciation has occurred at different rates in various times and places in various groups, and any attempt to create a general system based on any individual group is illogical, even if one accepts the "permanence" model (which itself, of course, turns out to be wrong). Moreover, the choice of six regions is very arbitrary; why not five, or seven, or whatever? Further, on what basis is each unit understood to be distinct? Unless it can be shown that all regions as established are of equal (structural) rank, of what use are they to comparative studies? From the point of view of spatial analysis, all these problems are highly relevant, because the use of probabilism-based methods assumes (as does, in effect, any kind of statistical analysis) the general equivalence and "naturalness" of the units under study.

The Theory of Island Biogeography - Princeton …

Beyond the above, however, the fact that spatial interaction frameworks are measurable and referable to normative contexts can be exploited to provide methodological approaches that may be appropriate in a manner independent of scale of application. Later I will address this matter more directly; note, moreover, that it can be linked to arguments (which I will not expand on here: see Smith 1986a, b) that there actually may exist a controlling "biogeographical Bauplan" whose overt spatial expression is regional organisation.

Biogeography: The Study of Global Species Distribution

Through the work of Hennig (1950, 1966), Brundin (1966), Nelson (1969), and others, the structuralist biogeography of Wallace and followers was challenged and a new set of investigative methods introduced. The underlying concept, cladistics, provides a closely reasoned basis for the analytical retrieval of affinities (i.e., pattern of divergence) within a group of closely related populations.

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