Biogeography

Biogeography is the study of the distribution of biological organisms. The scale of analysis ranges from very small micro-topography regimes to continental dimensions. Fundamental concepts in this field of study are the nature of barrier formation and response of species to their patterns of travel and migration; in particular, the presence of rivers, mountain ranges, deserts and other natural boundaries are examples of large scale barriers. Besides such major landform barriers there are soil, topographic and meteorological factors that influence the distribution of each species. In the case of smaller scale regimes that are applicable for some bacteria or limited range plant species, there are often very restricted niches; for example, certain bacteria extremophiles may be limited to such localized features as small geyser pools, and some rare plants may have a single extant colony defined specialized soils such as serpentine and narrow climatic zone. Inherent in the concept of biogeography are the processes of speciation, extinction, dispersal and migration.   

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Recently Updated
Zambezian and mopane woodlands Last Updated on 2016-01-20 13:37:37 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Zambezian and mopane woodlands are dispersed throughout southern Africa, bounded by the Luangwa River in the north and the Pongola River in the south. Mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane) woodlands mix with Zambezian woodlands in lower-elevation areas, often along major river valleys. Although the ecoregion, particularly the mopane communities, is considered to be low in endemism, it supports some of the largest and most significant wildlife populations in Africa, particularly those of the endangered African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and critically endangered Black rhino (Diceros bicornis). Important populations of predators are also found in the Zambezian and Mopane Woodlands. The abundance of wildlife can be largely attributed to the high level of protection in the ecoregion, in which more than 45 percent of... More »
Zambezian flooded grasslands Last Updated on 2016-01-17 15:49:24 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Located within the miombo and mopane woodlands of the Central African Plateau, Zambezian flooded grasslands are an anomaly of productivity and abundance in a landscape characterized by nutrient deficient soil and associated vegetation. Unlike the surrounding woodlands that generally support animals only in rather low densities, the wetlands and floodplains of this ecoregion provide habitats to sizable faunal populations, since food and water are abundant throughout the majority of the year. Large populations of waterbirds gather during the rainy season, and numerous herd animals and  carnivores  frequent the landscape. However, in a trend of rapid population growth and increasing need for land and natural resources, this fragile ecoregion may face increasing threat. Several conservation measures... More »
Adriatic Sea Last Updated on 2015-09-29 15:00:08 The Adriatic Sea is a branch of the Mediterranean Sea lying between 2 (50,590 miles2). The Adriatic has a maximum depth of 1233 metres (m) and an average depth of 252 m; although north of a line from Zadar, Croatia to Pescara, Italy, it is less than 100 m deep. The northern end of the sea is the Gulf of Venice and its southern limit is the Strait of Ontranto. By European standards, the Adriatic is both warm (surface water temperature ranges from 8-13oC in winter to 22-25oC in summer) and low in turbidity; correspondingly, this sea is a  popular tourist destination. Map of the Adriatic Sea basin. Source: Norman Einstein/Wikimeia Commons True-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from May 18, 2002. Source: NASA The Adriatic coastline is heavily indented and includes many islands. As a result the coastline is... More »
Namibian savanna woodlands Last Updated on 2015-09-07 13:29:18 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection The Namibian savanna woodlands ecoregion covers the Great Escarpment that delimits the interior of southern Africa from both the Kaokoveld Desert and Namib Desert. This broken and deeply dissected escarpment is an area of high endemism for plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. The northern area of the ecoregion, the Kaoko escarpment, is an endemism "hotspot" (area of extremely high species richness and endemism). The Namibian savanna woodlands comprise a land area of approximately 87,100 square miles. This northern area is poorly protected and is under threat from poaching, off-road driving, and to a lesser extent from farming, and resultant habitat fragmentation;  much of this destabilisation in the Angolan portion of the ecoregion stems from the Cuban mercenaries aided... More »
Colorado Plateau shrublands Last Updated on 2015-09-05 12:10:49 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection   The Colorado Plateau shrublands is epitomized by the Grand Canyon, an area that has been called the "land of color and canyons." The Plateau can be thought of as an elevated, northward-tilted saucer. It is characterized by its high elevation and arid to semi-arid climate. The Colorado Plateau has developed extensive topographic relief through the erosive action of high-gradient, swift-flowing rivers that have downcut and incised the plateau. Approximately 90 percent of the plateau is drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries, notably the lower catchmentCatchment is the entire area of a hydrological drainage basin. of the Green River, the San Juan River and Animas River. This ecoregion is classified within the Deserts and Xeric Shrublands biome, and is codified as WWF Ecoregion... More »