Pacific land snail phylogeography - grad studentproject

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at ISTAR.CA
Wed Dec 4 10:18:47 CST 2002

john grehan wrote:
> Robert Cowie wrote
> > based on hypotheses
> >we have generated from preliminary study, including:
> >1) How frequent is dispersal between islands and archipelagos?
> >2) What are the routes of colonization into the Pacific?
> >3) What is the pattern of intra-archipelago diversification?
> >4) What are the taxonomic affiliations of the Pacific island
> >succineids.
> This seems to be a good example of the Darwinian model of biogeography where biogeography is treated as being independently uninformative of the past... In this case the chosen geo-narrative is that of isolated island hotspot formation which requires one to ignore other geo-narratives (e.g. former island arcs) that might provide an alternative geohistory to that of colonization routes into the Pacific as proposed by Cowie.

* and then, perhaps, a good example of a panbiogeographer's anxiety that
a Darwinian dispersalist model encompasses the panbiogeographic model,
since 'disperal' includes 'not dispersing.' Glib dispersalism may
restrict the kinds of explanations biogeographic analysis can come up
with, but without pointing out flaws in Cowie's 'preliminary study' it's
equally glib to condemn it for presumed methodological errors.

Is reciprocal illumination between biogeography and geology appropriate?
Do "dispersal between islands and archipelagos" and "routes of
colonization into the Pacific" exclude "other geo-narratives (e.g.
former island arcs)"? It seems to me that every phylogeny worked out by
the student who lands this apparently idyllic position will test
(=depend on) the overall geo-narrative as well as any smaller scale
details being particularly studied.

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