Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants
EDITORIAL

Further progress in historical biogeography

Malte C. Ebach A , Juan J. Morrone B , Isabel Sanmartín C and Tania Escalante D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre (PANGEA), School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Museo de Zoología ‘Alfonso L. Herrera’, Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), 04510 Mexico City, Mexico.

C Department of Biodiversity and Conservation, Real Jardín Botánico (RJB-CSIC), Madrid, Spain.

D Grupo de Biogeografía de la Conservación, Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, 04510, Mexico City, Mexico.

Australian Systematic Botany 30(6) i-i https://doi.org/10.1071/SBv30n6_ED
Published: 31 January 2018

Australian Systematic Botany has again dared to venture outside its usual remit to include studies on non-Australian and zoological themes. This first occurred in 1991 (Volume 4), in which the first issue focused on plant and animal distributions of the Southern Hemisphere. The issue proved to be so popular that it was later released as stand-alone book titled Austral Biogeography (Ladiges et al. 1991). That volume included new methods and techniques in historical biogeography at the time, as well as discussions on endemism and biotic areas. We have continued this tradition with two Special Issues focusing on similar biogeographic themes.

In the current issue, Historical Biogeography: Part 2, we have attempted to showcase as many methods and points-of-view within historical biogeography, a field still producing a multitude of new methods and techniques. The field of biogeography is also constantly reviewing its own literature, in order to facilitate discussion about the fundamental concepts, such as the nature of biogeographical units, how it incorporates time and endemicity.

In this issue we cover methods in conservation (Chen and Escalante 2017; Giraudo and Arzamendia 2017); the use of metapopulations to understand older distributions in Pacific islands (Heads 2017); utilising topographic units in understanding endemicity patterns in Atlantic Forests (Amorim and Santos 2017); a review of biogeographic units and the methods used to propose them (Ferrari 2017), as well as how this is done in the Neotropical region (Noguera-Urbano and Escalante 2017); the relationship between environmental factors and areas of endemism (Noguera-Urbano and Ferro 2017); and a new method on temporally slicing biotic areas (King and Ebach 2017).

As Historical Biogeography continues to grow in the number of practitioners and methods, it attracts many new trends and approaches (e.g. niche conservation). As it attracts new approaches and viewpoints, these do not automatically replace older or existing ones, unless those older approaches are demonstrated to be incorrect. Science is not about jumping on the latest trend, but rather incorporating new developments with those of previous practitioners. Biogeography has a habit of reinventing itself as new generations of biogeographers rediscover unresolved problems (e.g. Weber’s Line v. Wallace’s Line) in an era of new methods and data (e.g. molecular data and molecular clocks). In 100 years, with the development of even newer technologies and data, biogeographers will still be arguing over trans-Pacific patterns and rediscovering the same century-old hypotheses. That is something to cherish rather than rebuke.

Biogeographers can find comfort in the fact that some problems may simply take decades to comprehend let alone resolve. As these two Special Issues in Australian Systematic Botany have demonstrated, biogeographers improve on existing methods in order to move historical biogeography forward and into the next century.



References

Amorim DS, Santos CMD (2017) Flies, endemicity, and the Atlantic Forest: a biogeographical study using topographic units of analysis. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 439–469.
Flies, endemicity, and the Atlantic Forest: a biogeographical study using topographic units of analysis.CrossRef |

Chen Y, Escalante T (2017) Correlates of ecological-niche diversity and extinction risk of amphibians in China under climate change. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 414–421.
Correlates of ecological-niche diversity and extinction risk of amphibians in China under climate change.CrossRef |

Ferrari A (2017) Biogeographical units matter. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 391–402.
Biogeographical units matter.CrossRef |

Giraudo AR, Arzamendia V (2017) Descriptive bioregionalisation and conservation biogeography: what is the true bioregional representativeness of protected areas? Australian Systematic Botany 30, 403–413.
Descriptive bioregionalisation and conservation biogeography: what is the true bioregional representativeness of protected areas?CrossRef |

Heads M (2017) Metapopulation vicariance in the Pacific genus Coprosma (Rubiaceae) and its Gondwanan relatives. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 422–438.
Metapopulation vicariance in the Pacific genus Coprosma (Rubiaceae) and its Gondwanan relatives.CrossRef |

King AR, Ebach MC (2017) A novel approach to time-slicing areas within biogeographic-area classifications: Wallacea as an example. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 495–512.
A novel approach to time-slicing areas within biogeographic-area classifications: Wallacea as an example.CrossRef |

Ladiges PY, Humphries CJ, Martinelli LW (Eds) (1991). ‘Austral Biogeography.’ (CSIRO: Melbourne, Vic., Australia)

Noguera-Urbano EA, Escalante T (2017) The Neotropical region sensu the areas of endemism of terrestrial mammals. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 470–484.
The Neotropical region sensu the areas of endemism of terrestrial mammals.CrossRef |

Noguera-Urbano EA, Ferro I (2017) Environmental factors related to biogeographical transition zones of areas of endemism of Neotropical mammals. Australian Systematic Botany 30, 485–494.
Environmental factors related to biogeographical transition zones of areas of endemism of Neotropical mammals.CrossRef |


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