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LATE 20TH CENTURY PROGRESS
LATE 20TH CENTURY PROGRESS fte last half-century has witnessed increased importance of biogeography as a major field of interdisciplinary research. fte 1966 publication of Phylogenetic Systematics by German entomologist Willi Hennig (1913–1976) brought to the forefront the cladistics approach to biogeographical classification. In cladistics, evolutionary relationships of taxa are uncovered based on shared unique characteristics present in the most recent common ancestor but not in earlier ancestors. ftis approach would prove to be an important bridge between evolutionary biology and biogeography. Likewise, the application of molecular genetics approaches has made it possible to investigate evolutionary and biogeographical patterns in the relatively recent past. Phylogeography, an approach developed by John Avise (1948– ), focuses on geographically structured genetic patterns among populations within a species, and has many applications in conservation biology, public health, and even the study of language origins. Another major development in the last half of the 20th century was the maturation of the science of ecology and its integration with biogeography. Important work in ecological biogeography in the 1960s and 70s focused on the biotic and abiotic factors that influence the distribution of biological diversity. Important research in ecological biogeography also included seminal studies in the area of island biogeography by two of the most influential biologists of the 20th century, the late Robert MacArthur (1930–1972) and Edward O. Wilson (1929– ). Marine biogeography might be thought of as the “final frontier” in the field of biogeography. In general, we know much less about the organisms that inhabit the oceans than we do about terrestrial organisms. ftis is understandable because it is much more difficult to observe and sample marine organisms, particularly those that are great distances from land, or at great depths. As a consequence, knowledge of marine biogeography has grown much more slowly and recently than knowledge of terrestrial biogeography. But the pace of growth of our knowledge of marine distributions is increasing, thanks to a great extent to increased abilities to explore the deeper regions of the ocean as well as satellite technology that has revealed patterns in the distributions of oceanic planktonic life. fte history of the growth of biogeography reflects the integrative and multidisciplinary nature of the field. From basic early descriptions of animal and plant distributions the science has developed explanatory power that can help address some of today’s most pressing environmental problems. In the rest of this book we will review in more detail the principles of biogeography and their applications to today’s challenges.
Kategoria: Moje artykuły | Dodał: kolo (2019-03-11)
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