Biogeography is a field of geography that studies the distribution of species and the geographic factors that influence species and the habitats they occupy.
Here are some common biogeography terms.
Allen’s rule is a principle in biogeography that states that animals adapted to cold climates will have shorter limbs and body appendages, while animals adapted to warmer climates will have longer limbs and appendages, to regulate body temperature more efficiently — short limbs reduce surface area to minimize heat loss in cold climates, while long limbs increase surface area to maximize heat loss in warm climates.
The aphotic zone is the portion of a lake or ocean where there is little or no sunlight, usually because it is too deep for sunlight to penetrate, and therefore, photosynthesis cannot occur. It is contrasted with the photic zone, which is the area of water that receives enough sunlight for photosynthesis to occur.
A biome is a large community of vegetation and wildlife adapted to a specific climate. Examples include the desert, tundra, and rainforest biomes.
A region inhabited by life forms of common ancestry, bounded by barriers that prevent the spread of the distinctive kinds of life to other regions and the immigration of foreign species.
This term describes when two previously separated biotas begin to merge due to the removal of a physical barrier, often leading to significant changes in biodiversity.
The Boreal Zone is a biogeographical designation for high latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere that are characterized by the presence of coniferous forests, including the taiga. Boreal climates are generally cold, with winter temperatures often dropping below freezing, and short, cool summers.
Carrying capacity refers to the maximum number of individuals of a particular species that a specific environment can sustainably support, given the food, habitat, water, and other necessities available in the environment. It is a key concept in population ecology and environmental science.
Convergent evolution is the process in which organisms that are not closely related independently evolve similar traits or characteristics as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches, rather than from a close genetic relationship.
An example of convergent evolution is that despite looking similar, New World vultures (found in the Americas) evolved separately from Old World vultures (found Europe, Asia, and Africa).
A region of transition between two biological communities, often characterized by increased species diversity and density.
Endemism refers to species that are native to a single defined geographic location, such as an island, a country, a habitat type, or other defined zone.
Dispersal is the movement of organisms from their birthplace to their breeding site (‘natal dispersal’), as well as the movement from one breeding site to another (‘breeding dispersal’).
Edge species are organisms that prefer or are restricted to living near the boundaries of two different habitats, often created by habitat fragmentation or natural environmental transitions.
Fauna and flora
The animals (fauna) and plants (flora) of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
Habitat fragmentation is the process by which large, continuous habitats are broken down into smaller, isolated patches, often due to human activities like deforestation, urban development, or agriculture.
Invasive species are species that are not native to a specific location and have a tendency to spread, causing damage to the environment, human economy, or human health.
This is a study within biogeography that tries to establish and explain the factors that affect the species richness of a specific community isolated from other geographic areas by being surrounded by a body of water.
Migration is the seasonal movement of animals from one region to another for feeding or breeding.
Mutualism is the relationship between two species of organisms in which both benefit from the association.
Paleobiogeography is a field of studies the distribution of ancient organisms and their change over time, usually using fossil evidence.
The photic zone is the area in a body of water that receives enough sunlight for photosynthesis to occur.
A group of individuals of the same species that live in the same area and interbreed.
Also known as botanic geography, phytogeography is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of plant species.
The area where a particular species can be found during its lifetime.
The actual space that an organism inhabits and the resources it can access as a result of limiting pressures from other species (predation, competition).
The evolutionary process by which a new species evolves over time and geography.
Vicariance is when a geographical barrier splits the range of an individual taxon, or a whole biota. This geographic separation results the evolution of those split groups of individual into new variations or species.
Named after Alfred Russel Wallace, the Wallace Line is a boundary that separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia.
This is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of animal species.