Provides a comprehensive overview of the knowledge of vertebrate diversity within Australasia, together with discussion of the factors that influenced the evolution and distributions of the faunas we see today. By considering the major forces shaping the extant vertebrate assemblages, using new techniques and strategies, we can formulate ideas about how to best conserve and manage these dynamic vertebrate groups as well as the ecosystem complexes on which they depend.
The 38 chapters are divided into 7 major sections. The first group of chapters covers the general topics of classification and evolution, together with geologic and climatic processes influencing environments and biogeography of parts of Australasia. Then follow 5 sections that each concentrate on a major vertebrate grouping, from primitive jawless fishes to specialized marine mammals and humans. The final section focuses on the future, describing some of the latest techniques and systems used for assessing biodiversity and assisting in conservation management.
Each chapter is fully sourced and illustrated with line diagrams, as well as other figures next to the relevant text. Attempts have been made to maintain a clear, informal style for readers without specialized knowledge and a humorous or irreverent essence when appropriate. The 136 colour plates are distributed throughout the book as close to the related chapters as possible. A general combined Index is at the back.
Over 50 leading researchers, from all parts of Australasia and elsewhere, have combined as authors and coauthors to make this a ground-breaking volume of international significance. This resource book follows in the tradition of Vertebrate Zoogeography & Evolution in Australasia (edited by Archer and Clayton) released in 1984.