Biogeography is a branch of geography that studies
the past and present distribution of the world's many
It is usually considered to be a part of physical
geography as it often relates to the examination of the
physical environment and how it affects species and
shaped their distribution across space.
As such it studies the world's biomes and taxonomy -
the naming of species. In addition, biogeography has
strong ties to biology, ecology, evolution studies,
climatology, and soil science.
• The study of biogeography gained
popularity with the work of Alfred
Russel Wallace in late 19th Century.
Wallace, originally from England, was
a naturalist, explorer, geographer,
anthropologist, and biologist.
• He first extensively studied the
Amazon River and then the Malay
Archipelago and gave the concept of
• Because of his extensive early
research, Wallace is often called the
"Father of Biogeography."
HISTORY OF BIOGEOGRAPHY
Alfred Russel Wallace
TYPES OF BIOGEOGRAPHY
• Historical Biogeography – Reconstruct the
origins, dispersal, and extinctions of taxa and
• Ecological Biogeography – Accounts for the
present distributions in terms of interactions
between organisms and their physical and
• Conservation Biogeography - Work on the
protection and restoration of natural
• Historical biogeography includes data from subjects as
geology, geography, and biology to meet its aim.
• The branch of historical biogeography is called
paleobiogeography because it often includes
• Paleobiogeography also takes varying climate as a result
of the physical land being in different places into account
for the presence of different plants and animals.
The five basic historical biogeographic methods are:
2. Phylogenetic Biogeography
4. Cladistic Biogeography
5. Parsimony Analysis of Endemity.
1. Dispersalism derives from the traditional concepts of
center of origin and dispersal.
2. Phylogenetic biogeography applies the rules of
progression and deviation to elucidate the history of the
geographical distribution of a group.
3. Panbiogeography consists of plotting distributions of
different taxa on maps, connecting their distribution areas
together with lines called individual tracks, and looking for
coincidence among individual tracks to determine
4. Cladistic biogeography assumes a correspondence
between taxonomic relationships and area
relationships, where comparisons between area
cladograms derived from different taxa allow one to
obtain general area cladograms. The most important
cladistic biogeographic procedures are: component
analysis, Brook’s parsimony analysis, three-area
statements, and reconciled trees.
5. Parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE) classifies
areas by their shared taxa, analogous to characters,
according to the most parsimonious solution. It has the
capability of resolving different problems, such as the
recognition of spatial homology (panbiogeography), the
identification of areas of endemism (PAE), and the
formulation of hypotheses about area (cladistic
The most common fields of research within
ecological biogeography are :
i. climatic equability looks at the variation between
daily and annual temperatures.
i. primary productivity looks at the evapotranspiration
rates of plants.
ii. habitat heterogeneity leads to the presence of more
Climate Change and its Effect on Polar Bears
I think the place that best represents the rapid climate
changes on our planet is the Arctic ice shelf. The ecosystem
in this harsh environment is very fragile, so even the
slightest alteration will greatly affect it. One of the
animals that will be greatly affected by climate change in
the Arctic is the polar bear.
EVENTS FOR CURRENT BIOGEOGRAPHY
Polar bears live
exclusively in the
Arctic, so if they
cannot adapt to their
will be lost forever.
• A BIOME is the largest geographic biotic unit, a
major community of plants and animals with
similar life forms and environmental
• There are terrestrial biomes , which are
located on land, and aquatic biomes , which
are located in oceans, lakes, rivers, or other
bodies of water.
Congo Basin of
East Indies, from
Sumatra to New
• Temperature Range: 23 °C
• Average Annual Precipitation: 60 -160 in
• Latitude Range: 23.5°N.
The vegetation in
tropical rain forests is
divided into five
These include monkeys,
sloths, parrots, toucans,
bats, tapirs, frogs, and
a wide variety of
• Temperature Range: 16 °C
• Annual Precipitation: 0.25 cm.
• Latitude Range: 15 ° to 25 ° N and S
West Africa ,
the north coast
These biomes are often found on either side of rainforests.
The soils of the savanna are usually low in nutrients. The
soils are porous, having only a thin layer of nutrient rich
matter called humus.
Plant life is composed of low
growing grasses with
scattered deciduous trees
and thorny shrubs, Acacias,
Eucalypts and Baobab.
There are frequent fires in the savanna. The dominant
vegetation is fire adapted, but many seedlings are killed
before they become established, by fire or by grazing
animals. The fires also remove dead plant material
and recycle nutrients that support new growth.
Animals found here include large herbivores such as giraffes,
zebras, antelopes, buffalo, kangaroos, wildebeests, and
There are also many burrowing animals found here,
including mice, gophers, snakes, as well as ants and
During the dry season, many small animals are dormant, and
larger mammals often migrate to other areas.
• Temperature Range: 16° C
• Annual Precipitation: less than 3o cm.
• Range: 15° - 35° N and S.
central part of
Deserts are the driest of all biomes.
Most deserts are very hot, but cold deserts also exist. The
hot deserts generally experience hot days and cold
Hot deserts can be found
in the southwest of the
United States, along the
coast of South America, in
northern Africa, and in the
There are cold deserts to
the west of the Rocky
Mountains, in eastern
Argentina and central Asia.
Common desert animals include many kinds snakes and
lizards, scorpions, ants, beetles, migratory and resident
birds, and seed-eating rodents. Many species are
nocturnal. Water conservation is a common adaptation.
In less arid regions, the
plant life includes some
grasses, shrubs, cacti,
creosote, and rosette plants.
These plants have numerous
adaptations to life in the
• Temperature Range: 7 °C (12 °F)
• Annual Precipitation: 42 cm (17 in).
• Latitude Range: 30° - 50° N and S
Sea; Cape Town
region of South
The plants found in these
region are dense, spiny
shrubs with tough
evergreen leaves. These
Plants have adaptations to
Animals found here
include deer, and fruit
eating birds, which are
browsers. There are
also ants and rodents,
which eat seeds, as
well as lizards and
• Temperature Range: -10°C -30 °C
• Annual Precipitation: 30 cm – 100 cm.
The soil of grassland is the deepest and most fertile in
The dominant plants are
grasses and forbs. Some of
the main adaptations of
plants are for droughts and
Large vertebrate grazers
are the most conspicuous,
such as bison, antelopes
and wild horses.
TEMPERATE DECIDUOUS FOREST
• Temperature Range: 31 °C (56 ° F)
• Average Annual Precipitation: 81 cm
• Latitude Range: 30° - 55° N and S (Europe: 45° - 60° N).
eastern parts of
the United States
Japan; central and
The soils are fertile, due to plenty of leaf litter.
There is extensive plant
diversity in this biome,
dominated by broadleaf
deciduous hardwood trees
such as oak, hickory, maple,
ash, beech and more.
The forests consist of 3-5
Animals found here are bears,
deer, bobcats, raccoons,
squirrels, as well as many
birds and invertebrates.
• Temperature Range: 41 °C, lows; -25 °C, highs; 16 °C
• Average Annual Precipitation: 31 cm (12 in).
• Latitude Range: 50° - 70° N and S.
central and western
Alaska; Canada, from
the Yukon Territory
to Labrador; Eurasia,
from northern Europe
across all of Siberia
to the Pacific Ocean.
Taiga, also known as coniferous or boreal forest,. It is the
largest terrestrial biome on earth.
The soil is thin, nutrient poor, and acidic.
These include different species
of spruce, pine, or fir, and
often there is little
Larger browsing animals such
as deer, moose, elk, snowshoe
hare, and beavers. The
typical predators for this area
are grizzly bears, wolves,
lynxes and wolverines.
• Temperature Range: -22 °C to 6 °C (-10 °F to 41 °F).
• Average Annual Precipitation: 20 cm (8 in).
• Latitude Range: 60° - 75° N.
arctic zone of
the Arctic Ocean.
The vegetation of tundra
is mostly herbaceous,
consisting of a mixture of
lichens, mosses, grasses,
and forbs along with
dwarf shrubs and trees.
Decomposition takes place slowly, because of the low
temperatures. The ground is frozen year-round, known as
Largest grazing musk ox is
resident, while caribou and
rein deer are migratory.
Predators include bears,
wolves, and foxes
1. Fresh Water Biome :
Ponds and Lakes
Streams and Rivers
2. Marine Biome:
Types Of Aquatic Biomes:
FRESH WATER BIOMES
• Freshwater is defined as having a low salt
concentration — usually less than 1%.
• Plants and animals in freshwater regions are
adjusted to the low salt content and would
not be able to survive in areas of high salt
concentration (i.e., ocean).
• There are different types of freshwater
Ponds and Lakes
Streams and Rivers
Ponds and lakes
These regions range in size from just a few square meters
to thousands of square kilometers. Scattered throughout
Many ponds are seasonal, lasting just a couple of months
(such as sessile pools) while lakes may exist for hundreds
of years or more.
Ponds and lakes may have limited species diversity since
they are often isolated from one another and from other
water sources like rivers and oceans.
Temperature varies in ponds and lakes seasonally. During
the summer, the temperature can range from 4° C near the
bottom to 22° C at the top. During the winter, the
temperature at the bottom can be 4° C while the top is 0° C
Lakes and ponds are divided into three different
“zones” which are usually determined by depth and
distance from the shoreline.
These are bodies of flowing water moving in one
direction. Streams and rivers can be found
everywhere — they get their starts at headwaters,
which may be springs, snowmelt or even lakes, and
then travel all the way to their mouths, usually
another water channel or the ocean.
The characteristics of a river or stream change during
the journey from the source to the mouth.
STREAMS AND RIVERS
Wetlands are areas of standing water that support
aquatic plants. Marshes, swamps, and bogs are all
Plant species adapted to the very moist and humid
conditions are called hydrophytes. These include
pond lilies, cattails, sedges, tamarack, and black
Wetlands have the highest species diversity of all
ecosystems. Many species of amphibians, reptiles,
birds (such as ducks and waders), and furbearers
can be found in the wetlands.
Marine regions cover about three-fourths of the
Earth's surface. Marine algae supply much of the
world's oxygen supply and take in a huge
amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The
evaporation of the seawater provides rainwater
for the land.
The largest of all the ecosystems, oceans are very large
bodies of water that dominate the Earth's surface.
Like ponds and lakes, the ocean regions are separated into
separate zones: intertidal, pelagic, abyssal, and benthic. All
four zones have a great diversity of species.
Coral reefs are widely distributed in warm shallow waters.
They can be found as barriers along continents (e.g., the
Great Barrier Reef off Australia), fringing islands, and atolls.
Naturally, the dominant organisms in coral reefs are corals.
Corals are interesting since they consist of both algae and
tissues of animal polyp. Since reef waters tend to be
nutritionally poor, corals obtain nutrients through the algae
via photosynthesis and also by extending tentacles to obtain
plankton from the water. Besides corals, the fauna include
several species of microorganisms, invertebrates, fishes, sea
urchins, octopuses, and sea stars.
Estuaries are areas where freshwater streams or rivers
merge with the ocean. This mixing of waters with such
different salt concentrations creates a very interesting and
unique ecosystem. Microflora like algae, and macroflora,
such as seaweeds, marsh grasses can be found here.
Estuaries support a diverse fauna, including a variety of
worms, oysters, crabs, and waterfowl.