Biogeography without phylogenies

Robert Mesibov mesibov at SOUTHCOM.COM.AU
Fri Jul 12 10:55:51 CDT 2002

Tom DiBenedetto wrote:

"To be blunt, I don't really see how it is possible to do biogeography in a
manner, above the species level, without having a phylogentic relationship
already in hand."

I pass, if we're still talking about the biogeography of taxa. Working out
the spatial history of taxa above the species level can be pretty dodgy
because genera and higher orders often have very wide distributions.

Wallace and his successors didn't do a bad job of coherently outlining the
biogeography of areas, which isn't the same thing. However, area
biogeography has become a lot more plausible and historical since the old
phenetic approach was replaced with cladistic biogeographic method, which
as Tom says is based on taxon relationship schemes.

In both cases (spatial history of taxa, and spatial history of areas) the
next step forward is likely to be made by earth scientists, who I'm hoping
will get around to systematising the landscape elements they now classify
phenetically. I rattled on about this in an earlier TAXACOM post!

(Back to lurking before the panbiogeographic shrapnel starts flying...)

Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195

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