Biogeography is the study of geographic variation in all characteristics of life – ranging from genetic, morphological and behavioural variation among regional populations of a species, to geographic trends in diversity of entire communities across our planet's sufrace. From the ancient hunters and gatherers to the earliest naturalists, Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, and scientists today, the search for patterns in life has provided insights that proved invaluable for understanding the natural world. And many, if not most, of the compelling kaleidoscope of patterns in biological diversity make little sense unless placed in an explicit geographic context.
The Very Short Introduction explains the historical development of the field of biogeography, its fundamental tenets, principles and tools, and the invaluable insights it provides for understanding the diversity of life in the natural world. As Mark Lomolino shows, key questions such as where species occur, how they vary from place to place, where their ancestors occurred, and how they spread across the globe, are essential for us to develop effective strategies for conserving the great menagerie of life across our planet.
List of illustrations
1: Biological diversity and the geography of nature
2: Dynamics maps of a dynamic planet
3: Geography of diversification
4: Retracing evolution across space and time
5: The geography of biological diversity
6: Macroecology and the geography of micro-evolution
7: The geographic and ecological advance of humanity
Mark V. Lomolino is a Professor of Biology at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. He teaches courses on the Diversity of Mammals and the Geography of Nature, and conducts research in biogeography and the conservation of vertebrates, especially those occurring on islands or island-like systems. Lomolino was a co-founder of the International Biogeography Society and its second president, and has co-authored numerous books on biogeography, including Foundations of Biogeography (2004), Frontiers of Biogeography (2004), and Biogeography (2017), which is in its fifth edition.