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What is Biogeography?

July 14, 2016

Biogeography is the study of the geographic distribution of plant and animals, factoring in their origins, migration, and it’s relation to other organisms. It is a combination of geology, physical geography, geomorphology, climatology, meteorology, biology, taxonomy, genetics, and physiology. The Earth is divided into regions to better examine the differences between flora and fauna and their regional counterparts.

Biogeography’s origins date to the nineteenth century with one of the founders of evolutionary theory, Alfred Russel Wallace. In 1848, Wallace traveled through the Amazon and Southeast Asia, where he observed hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species, noting where he had found them and the patterns between regions such as how rivers and mountain ranges served as boundaries for species types.

Wallace’s observations were accumulated in his 1876 book, The Geographic Distribution of Animals, where he argued that geological ranges served as boundaries for the different fields of a particular species.

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Other Sources

Dansereau, Pierre. "Biogeography." In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada, 1985—. Article published February 8, 2006. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/biogeography/. Accessed July 12, 2016.

Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Biogeography.” Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/biogeography. Accessed July 12, 2016.

University of California Museum of Paleontology et al. “Biogeography: Wallace to Wagner.” Understanding Evolution. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/history_16. Accessed July 14, 2016.