science of biogeography

8 Biogeography Essay Questions

1. ) What is the scientific discipline of biogeography?

Biogeography is that survey of geographical distribution of vegetations and zoologies sing the different systematic degrees, nowadays and yesteryear, the home grounds in which they are found together with the involved ecological relationships. Today, there are two theories in biogeography that have been developed to discourse more on the distribution of biological species in the universe. The two of them are Distance-decay and Island biogeography theories. The distance-decay theory asserts that the correlativity and similarity between species in any two geographical locations will go on diminishing as the distance between the two additions. The 2nd biogeographical theory, island biogeography asserts that those pockets of life ( islands ) that are closely spaced will back up more biological life/species. It is still this 2nd theory that explains that these closely separated islands are seldom threatened by extinction if compared to the bantam stray islands of the universe. The Geographic Information Systems Scientists say that the above two theories were developed in order for us to be able to to the full understand the distribution of species but non the distribution or even motion of human existences.

As it was developed, the scientific discipline of biogeography was meant to reply so many inquiries that are varied. It was developed so that it can reply some of the inquiries like why are at that place so many sorts of animate beings and workss in the universe. It seeks to reply why some of these animate beings and workss are rare while others are common. Some animate beings and workss are widely dispersed while others are confined to a limited topographic point. The scientific discipline of biogeography seeks to explicate the ground as to why this is so. There are some parts of this universe that are richer in footings of species compared to others. It ‘s merely by usage of the survey of biogeography that we can be in a place to understand this.

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There are several major types of biogeography distributions. They include ; Endemic ( restricted to specific locations ) , cosmopolite ( e.g.Caenorhabdities elegans and Drosophila melanogaster ) , and Disjunct ( separated ) . The disjunct biogeographic distributions are believed to hold been caused by Vicariance and dispersion. In biogeography, grounds that can be based on its history can be classified in footings of Paleontology and systematics.

1. ) Describe the 5 observations upon which the scientific discipline of biogeography is founded. Give TWO illustrations for each observation.

a ) Each and every species and other higher group animate beings are said to hold a discrete and a non random distribution in clip and infinite. A good illustration of this is the gorilla that is merely found in two African woods.
B ) In different geographical parts of the universe there is an gathering of animate beings that are distinguishable and they coexist. A good illustration to explicate this is the zoology that is found south of the desert of Sahara together with its monkeys, antelopes, hogs and this is wholly different from the Australian zoology and its duck billed duckbill, wombats and kangaroos.
degree Celsius ) The differences and the similarities in these parts can non be in any manner be described in footings of the distance between them or even the country of beginning. A good illustration is that the zoology of eastern Asia and Europe is to big extent similar although they are both separated by 11,500km of land. Besides the zoology of New Guinea and Borneo are different though are separated by a little piece of land compared to the 1s above which is across H2O and land.
vitamin D ) All those zoologies that look different from those of today one time antecedently occurred in all other geographical parts. An illustration is the dinosaurs which existed in most parts of the geographic locations in Cretaceous.
vitamin E ) The zoology which resemble the 1s found today and their ancestors one time occurred, but its sometimes at far distances from the current scope. A good illustration is the subtropical-warm temperature zoology which is found in Eocene Wyoming. This includes fishes which are fresh-water, turtle groups and salamander which are restricted to southeasterly parts of the United States.

1. ) Discuss this statement: “The history of biogeography is basically a go oning struggle between creative activity myth and empirical science.”

Empirical scientific discipline describes that the distribution of beings in the whole universe was as a consequence of uninterrupted development of the past existing species. Science asserts that the present zoology and vegetations are as a consequence of development from past beings which were non developed as they are today. On the other side of the creative activity myth, people and particularly the Christians believe that the current population of workss and animate beings are a merchandise of what God created long clip ago. Some of the things that are explained in the bible are in entire struggle with what scientific discipline has provided a elaborate history on. A good illustration is the Global Flood during the clip of Noah. The Bible says that God instructed Noah who by so was 600 old ages old to build an Ark. Noah was so supposed to take two of every dirty animate being and seven of every clean animate being. All nutrient and fresh H2O was so supposed to be in the Ark. Noah and his household were to stay in the Ark for six months until the inundation Waterss subsided. This creative activity narrative in the book of generation continues to explicate that after the inundation Waterss subsided, Noah, his household and the animate beings that were released so were the 1s who subsequently repopulated the Earth. This is in entire struggle with the empirical scientists who argue that today there is excessively much of familial diverseness in the universe for us to be consistent that every animate being that is land based descended from the few genteelness braces and this is merely some few 1000s old ages ago. Harmonizing to empirical scientific discipline, some of the species we have today in the planet will germinate locally. This therefore means that they are immobile geographically harmonizing to scientists. The scientists will inquire today how comes the Duckbill duckbill ended up merely in Australia and non anyplace else in the planet.

Scientists still argue that Noah did non take any fish or coral in the Ark. During the inundation therefore, all the fish would hold become nonextant and all the corals would hold been swept off. Some of the corals harmonizing to the scientists even appear older than the given history of the inundations. For scientists they believe that there is no manner the short lived species could hold survived the clip they were in the Ark. They say that the grownup dayflies would hold died in merely a few yearss while the larvae of many dayflies will necessitate shallow fresh and running H2O. Other similar insects and many of them would really confront the same jobs. There is no manner the scientists would believe that the human population could bounce in such a short period. Other contentions apart from the field of evolutionary biological science can besides be seen in cosmology, thermodynamics, palaeontology, geology and atomic natural philosophies.

1. ) Describe the chief parts to biogeography of the people listed below. Alexander von Humbolt, Liebig, MacArthur and William.
Alexander Von Humbolt:

He was German naturalist who is usually referred to as the male parent of phytogeography. He was the 1 who felt that survey on geographical distribution was an of import scientific enquiry that could take to the find of Torahs of nature that are cardinal. He was the 1 who did the geographic expeditions of South and Central America together with Aime Bonpland who was a Gallic naturalist. These two travelled along the Orinoco and Amazon rivers as they explored the Andes and the present twenty-four hours parts of Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia. He managed to analyze flora and climatic conditions of Urals Mountains, Siberia and Caspian Sea. He was the 1 who invented the isobar and isotherm which are used today in description of climatic associations of works communities. He had a passion for the beauty of nature. He had a good description of the physical environment together with the works distribution that are widely used in biogeography.


He was born in Darmstadt, Germany. He went to Paris where was working in the research lab of Joseph Gay-Lussac. His chief involvement was in chemical science. He did much in order to set up chemical science as a subject. He started the first chemical periodical for bookmans. He was the 1 who showed that surveies like physiology, agribusiness, and psychological science are merely apprehensible if based on sound chemical rules. He was one of the subscribers in find of isomerism ( a status where two different compounds may hold the same chemical expression ) . He showed that organic compounds can really be dealt with in a rational manner. He one time rejected the current humus theory. He showed his contrasting thought by depicting that some workss will go forth the dirt richer in footings of C that they truly found it. He visited England one time and was non happy with the manner they were puting out their sewerage to the sea. He was of the sentiment that they should utilize their sewerage as a fertiliser.


He collected craniates in many distant parts of Hispaniola between the old ages 1916 and 1923. He besides did aggregations in other parts of the universe like the celebrated Himalayas. To day of the month, most his aggregations are still in Smithsonian. He is landscape ecologist and a biogeographer. He has made enormous parts in the apprehension of landscapes and perturbations. His research in these Fieldss has made enormous influence on the field of biogeography and besides the academic biogeographers.


He came up with the MacArthur and Wilson equilibrium theoretical account on insular biogeography. This is a theoretical account that is used to supply a good foundation on the distribution of species on islands. Its besides utile in account of the composing of insular biologies. It ‘s because of his theoretical account that many analyses have been made on the distributions of mammals on insular home grounds.

5 ) Describe the relationships among the undermentioned physical factors: force per unit area, physical geography, ocean currents, latitude, temperature, visible radiation, precipitation, and air current

Physiography is a description of the characteristics and even phenomena of nature. Most of the physical characteristics of the universe can non be good described unless we use other factors like temperature. Physiography stands for physical geographics. What is in physical geographics is all the physical characteristics like the mountains, forests/vegetations among others. When we attempt to describer any climatic status of a topographic point or of a certain part, we use temperature, the degree of rainfall/precipitation and the effects that air currents may hold on it. It hence translates that we can non depict most of the physical phenomena without utilizing the other factors mentioned. They interdepend on each other for description of physical phenomena.

Ocean currents depend on force per unit area. They normally move from where the force per unit area is low to where it ‘s high. Wind is said to be air in gesture. Air can merely be in mo0tion if one part has a high force per unit area compared to another. Air moves from high force per unit area centres to low force per unit area centres. This is air current. It hence means that air current can merely be thee if there is difference in force per unit area sums in two parts. Ocean currents are normally associated with the precipitation. They normally make the nearby countries in the ocean to have rainfall if they are normally accompanied by high temperatures. Areas of low latitude have high temperatures while high latitude countries are by and large cool. Light strength in certain ecosystems helps the growing of specific beings. Physiography/physical geographics can non be to the full described if light strength is non traveling to be applied to depict some of the conditions in some topographic points ( physical phenomena ) .

1. ) Give the Holdridge Bioclimate Classification of clime for the undermentioned topographic points: Honolulu, Hawaii ; Adelaide, Australia ; Timbuktu, Mali ; La Paz, Bolivia.
Timbuktu ( Mali )

Class 35 ; harmonizing to Holdridge bioclimatic categorization it is in a tropical dry wood. The clime is characterized by high temperatures all twelvemonth. There is nevertheless a better developed dry season compared to the tropical rain wood. The dirts are merely like for the tropical rain forest. Most of the evergreen tree species become deciduous. Tree canopy is lower compared to tropical rain forest. Underbrush is heavy. There is lower species diverseness. Trees have thicker back and little foliages. Rootss are long and trees have irritants besides. Larger mammals are more dominant

Honolulu ( Hawaii )

Class 25 ; semitropical desert chaparral with an one-year clime of 24 grades. Average temperature in a twenty-four hours is 29 grades and the lower limit is 21 grades. Its humidness is moderated by its mid-ocean placement. There is intense rainfall in the winter months though most of the winter yearss have warm bright sunlight. Rarely will temperatures travel beyond 32 grades.

Adelaide ( Australia )

Class 30 ; semitropical rain wood
By and large, rainfall is more than 1300mm. there are fertile eutrophic stones. A multi layered canopy of between 10 and 60 species of trees. Most of these trees will exhibit buttressing w2hich is a characteristic that is common in rain forest countries.

La Paz ( Bolivia )

Class 27 ; semitropical dry wood

2. ) Define indigenousness. Give and explicate five features associated/correlated with countries of indigenousness.

This is a state of affairs where a works or an carnal taxon is said to be restricted in a geographical scope or a peculiar part. Since the times of Darwin, it has been known that islands are the 1s which are largely rich in endemic species. Endemism will originate because of several mechanisms. The major 1 is the geographical isolation. In this geographic isolation, a little population that has a limited familial diverseness may be isolated. After several coevalss, the impetus in genetic sciences will take to formation of a distinguishable species. A population that may get on a new island may make full different ecological niches. Other coevalss of natural choice may ensue in formation of distinguishable species. Again, a certain species that was widespread may endure extinction. This island may now go a “refugia” . This describes the beginning of the major species of Macaronesian endemic “laurels” . These are largely found in the Mediterranean part.


species profusion of most beings in an endemic part additions form high temperature to low tropical latitudes. Lower latitudes have high degrees of indigenousness.

Speciess profusion:

The degrees of species profusion and those of indigenousness can non be said to be infrequently correlated. Oceanic islands have high degrees of indigenousness but will hold low Numberss of species.

Unusual environmental conditions:

Most endemic countries are known to hold environmental conditions that are really different from other countries. There occurs independent development of the local versions. These will largely enable the species to prevail under the bing conditions.


About all countries of indigenousness are separated or isolated from others geographically. There are barriers to other countries such that even independent development is traveling to give rise to endemic taxa.


In these countries there are normally altering abiotic and biotic environmental conditions. High degrees of indigenousness may be associated with countries that have long-run ecoclimatic stableness. This can even enable these populations to be able to last planetary alterations in clime conditions.

1. ) Describe the three possible tectonic home base boundaries, give an illustration of each and explicate the possible effects of a convergent boundary.
Divergent boundary:

It ‘s the soft boundary and it ‘s besides called the spreading centre. Two home bases move off from each other and mid-ocean ridges will be formed. Magma from the mantle will travel though a cleft to the ocean and it so cols. This chilling causes the formation of pelagic crust on both sides of the blowhole. When the home bases continue to travel, more crust will be formed. The ocean basin so expands organizing a ridge system. This crust formed causes the forcing of the home bases on either side farther. A good illustration of this sort of home base boundary is that of North America and Europe.

Convergent boundary:

It ‘s besides called a subduction zone. This is a home base border where one home base will overrule the other. This forces the other into beneath its mantle. They are boundaries which are in the signifier of trench. Old pelagic crust will travel into these systems as there is new crust formed when the centres are distributing. They are normally locations of strong temblors as the action of the home base that is traveling down interacts with the overruling one. It can besides be as a consequence of volcanic activity. A good topographic point to be associated with it is Japan. The home base that is traveling down the other will go on to go even hotter. This is because of its propinquity to the mantle. The home base will therefore run to organize magma. This magma will travel upwards through the crust and vents are formed. A good illustration is the Aleutian Islands.

Conservative/transform boundary:

Its called conservative as there is neither creative activity nor devastation of home base stuffs at the boundaries. What normally happens here is that the home bases will skid past each other. These are normally countries where there are many temblors. They are caused by the accretion and release of strain when the home bases slide past each other. Good illustrations of conservative boundaries are the San Andreas Fault in California and mid-ocean ridges, the Rockies in North America.

Possible effects of convergent boundary:

These are countries that are temblor prone. These temblors can do a batch of deceases to human existences and animate beings. A good illustration is the 1883 eruption of Krakatau vent of Indonesia that killed more than 37,000 people. The hot magma contains some chemical that may be harmful to the human existences and besides the bing flora. Where these large mountains are formed after the home base boundary formation, climatic conditions may alter which may non be contributing to the bing vegetations and zoologies.


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