Biogeography

Biogeography is the science that studies the distribution in space and time of living organisms and the causes that determine it. In fact, organisms and biological communities often vary on a regular basis following geographical gradients such as latitude, altitude, isolation and habitat.

This science deals with investigating the extension, development, rotation over time, and overlapping of the range of species. Zoogeography is spoken of if the study concerns the distribution of animals, phytogeography (or geobotany) is instead said to specify if the study concerns the distribution of plants, while microbial biogeography is spoken of for studies concerning microorganisms.

Knowledge of the numerical and frequency variations of organisms in space is of vital importance today as much as in the past, as a sign of the adaptation of species and the recognition of geographically foreseeable environments. Biogeography is a research field that combines concepts and information that are part of the ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, and physical geography. The application of biogeography in the context of ecology studies the short-term interactions between species and organisms that live in a particular habitat.

Modern biogeography combines information and ideas from different research fields, from the physiological and ecological characteristics that limit the dispersion of the organism, to the geological and climatological phenomena that operate on a global scale and in an evolutionarily wide temporal context.

The type of distribution of the species in the various geographical areas can be described through a combination of historical events, such as speciation, extinction, continental drift, and glaciations. By observing the geographical distribution of the species, it is possible to recognize a relationship with the changes in sea level, the distribution of watercourses, and the different habitats.

The biogeographic effects are most noticeable in the islands. These habitats are often simplified research areas because the ecosystem is more condensed than the distribution found in the dry land. Island environments are also ideal because they allow researchers to control the response of habitats to invasive species, and can verify how the dispersion of these species changes the habitat of a particular island. This knowledge can then be applied in a continental context. The islands have very diverse biomes, including from tropical islands to those with an arctic climate. This diversity allows researchers to analyze a broad spectrum of species in different parts of the world.

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