Biogeography

Biogeography (an amalgamation of biology and geography) is the comparative study of the geographic distribution of organisms and the corresponding evolution of their traits in space and time.[137] The Journal of Biogeography was established in 1974.[138] Biogeography and ecology share many of their disciplinary roots. For example, the theory of island biogeography, published by the mathematician Robert MacArthur and ecologist Edward O. Wilson in 1967[139] is considered one of the fundamentals of ecological theory.[140] Biogeography has a long history in the natural sciences concerning the spatial distribution of plants and animals. Ecology and evolution provide the explanatory context for biogeographical studies.[137] Biogeographical patterns result from ecological processes that influence range distributions, such as migration and dispersal.[140] and from historical processes that split populations or species into different areas. The biogeographic processes that result in the natural splitting of species explains much of the modern distribution of the Earth's biota. The splitting of lineages in a species is called vicariance biogeography and it is a sub-discipline of biogeography.[141] There are also practical applications in the field of biogeography concerning ecological systems and processes. For example, the range and distribution of biodiversity and invasive species responding to climate change is a serious concern and active area of research in the context of global warming.[16][142] [edit]r/K-Selection theory Main article: r/K selection A population ecology concept is r/K selection theory,[D] one of the first predictive models in ecology used to explain life-history

evolution. The premise behind the r/K selection model is that natural selection pressures change according to population density. For example, when an island is first colonized, density of individuals is low. The initial increase in population size is not limited by competition, leaving an abundance of available resources for rapid population growth. These early phases of population growth experience density-independent forces of natural selection, which is called r-selection. As the population becomes more crowded, it approaches the island's carrying capacity, thus forcing individuals to compete more heavily for fewer available resources. Under crowded conditions, the population experiences density-dependent forces of natural selection, called K-selection.[143] In the r/K-selection model, the first variable r is the intrinsic rate of natural increase in population size and the second variable K is the carrying capacity of a population.[31] Different species evolve different life-history strategies spanning a continuum between these two selective forces. An r-selected species is one that has high birth rates, low levels of parental investment, and high rates of mortality before individuals reach maturity. Evolution favours high rates of fecundity in r-selected species. Many kinds of insects and invasive species exhibit r-selected characteristics. In contrast, a K-selected species has low rates of fecundity, high levels of parental investment in the young, and low rates of mortality as individuals mature. Humans and elephants are examples of species exhibiting K-selected characteristics, including longevity and efficiency in the conversion of more resources into fewer offspring.