Centres of origin - a practical question

Alec McClay alec at ARC.AB.CA
Wed Apr 17 10:44:53 CDT 2002

I have been following the recent biogeographic threads with interest,
particularly as they touch on "centres of origin". In biological control
the conventional wisdom is that, when searching for biocontrol agents for
introduced pests, we should look in the centre of origin of the pest. This
is supposedly where the pest has the longest history of coevolution with
its natural enemies, and therefore where the most specialized natural
enemies are likely to have evolved. Obviously this involves the assumptions
that (a) there is such a thing as a centre of origin for a species and (b)
there is some scientific way of finding out where it is. Does biogeographic
theory have anything to say about this that would be of practical use to
biological control workers?

Alec McClay
Research Scientist, Biological Control of Weeds

alec at arc.ab.ca           Alberta Research Council
Phone (780) 632-8207     Bag 4000, Vegreville
Fax   (780) 632-8612     Alberta T9C 1T4, Canada


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