Diversity and Distribution of Plants and Animals

Biology/Geology 445 (G. SMITH, Winter, 1999)


The goal of this course is to learn about causes of evolution and extinction as revealed by patterns of distribution of animals and plants on the earth. Lectures and discussions will address problems in molecular, morphological, and ecosystem evolution in relation to the history of continents, tectonic plates, oceans, and climate of the past.

Time: Tues, Thurs 10:10 B 11:30. Place: 1139 N.S.

Text: Brown and Lomolino, 1998, Biogeography, Sinaur


INTRODUCTION (Chapter 1, 2)

  1. Overview: Questions, issues, and methods in the history of ecological and evolutionary biogeography, as exemplified by the works of:
  2. Lyell, Darwin, Wallace, Hooker, Sclater, Gray, Willis, Gleason, Matthew, Liebig, Merriam, Dansereau, Cain, MacArthur, Wilson, Pianka, Connell, Brown, Rosenzweig (ecological approach).
  3. Simpson, Mayr, Darlington, Croizat, Brundin, Rosen, Nelson and Platnick (systematic approach).



  1. Physical factors that limit plant and animal ranges: solar energy, seasonal temperature distribution, moisture distribution, soils, topography, wind; ocean currents, light, salinity, depth/pressure.
  2. Biotic processes that limit geographic ranges (Chapter 4): niches (Hutchinson), productivity, food, predation, competition, facilitation, (Vandermeer; Werner), demography, genetics.
  3. Visit to Matthai Botanical Gardens: Plant exercise--plant life forms in relation to habitat and climate.

  5. Distribution of Communities, Biomes, Ecosystems (Ch. 5)
  6. Tectonics and Paleobiogeography: volcanism, mountain building, topography, hydrography, ocean vents, biomes and geological barriers on continents and in oceans (Ch. 6).
  7. Paleoclimate and organisms through the ages: Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, Pleistocene, Holocene. How old are the tropics? Causes and Effects of Pleistocene glaciation and seasonal climates (Ch.7).



  1. Speciation and extinction; Species selection; extinction (Chapter 8)
  2. Dispersal--Niches, life history, reproduction, immigration, emigration, migration, range size, and interactions with diverse barriers--dispersal agents, fruits, seeds, spores, e.g., Hawaiian ferns (Wagner); molecular phytogeography, North American Miocene fruiting trees; African alpine Senecio and Lobelia (Knox).
  3. Endemism and patterns (Chapter 9) Animal examples, e.g. freshwater fish and snails (Taylor); amphibians and mammals (Darlington); crickets (Alexander et al.); Hemiptera (Polhemus), spiders.



  1. Changes in temperature and moisture distribution in the past 3 million years. The marine record and the DSDP. Continental patterns. How much of the observed pattern is correlated with glaciation? Causal models (Milankovitch; Imbrie; Bartlein).
  2. Responses of Quaternary continental plants: temperature, latitude, altitude, and lapse rate (Pielou). Independence of species movements (Davis).
  3. Continental animals; Great American Interchange (Vrba; McFadden).




  1. Evolutionary processes in space and time: Speciation modes.
  2. The pace of life: Rates of evolutionary and ecological processes such as species formation and extinction (Punctuated equilibrium vs. variable rates (Gould and Eldredge; Gingerich; Bennett).
  3. Exhibits Museum: Exercise--time and evolution.



  1. Phylogenetic analysis, and historical biogeography; cladistic methods, area cladograms (Nelson and Platnick).
  2. Marine examples of vicariance: Plate tectonics, sea level change; Panamanian vicariance and the molecular clock (Rosenblatt; Collins) coordinated stasis and metapopulation biology (Brett; Ivany).
  3. Continental examples of vicariance: Gondwanan floras and faunas (Lars Brundin). Water as barriers; freshwater as islands.



  1. Island examples of vicariance: Indo-Malay (Wallace) and Caribbean (Rosen).
  2. Island biogeography, the Theory: Area effect; Immigration, Extinction, and species density (MacArthur and Wilson); Critique-- Equilibrium vs non-equilibrium assumptions (Simberloff).
  3. The Great Basin



  1. Latitudinal patterns in plants and animals. (Latitude is not a variable).
  2. Pianka's hypotheses: time, climate, latitude, stability, productivity, competition, predation.
  3. Rosenzweig's hypotheses: heterogeneity and niches.

  5. Species density gradients: productivity, intermediate disturbance (Huston)
  6. Ecology and diversity, cont. (Hubbell; Ricklefs and Schluter; Tilman)
  7. Mammal evolution, geography, and climate (Vrba);
    North America(Van Valkenburg and Janis); multivariate models (Badgley).



  1. Extinction (Lawton and May; Ehrlich)
  2. Conservation (Soule; Quammen) (Chapter 16).
  3. Continental Patterns





Bartlein, P.J., and I.C. Prentice. 1989. Orbital variations, climate, and paleoecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 4: 195-199.

Bennett, K.D. 1997. Evolution and Ecology, the Pace of Life. Cambridge University Press.

Bookstein, F., P. Gingerich, and A. Kluge. 1978. Hierarchical linear modeling of the tempo and mode of evolution. Paleobiology 4:120-134.

Brown, J. 1996. Macroecology; Chicago

Brown, J., and Gibson, A. Biogeography. Mosby.

Carroll, R.L. 1988. Vertebrate Paleontology and evolution. Freeman.

Cracraft, J. 1982. A non-equilibrium theory for the rate control of speciation and extinction and the origin of macroevolutionary patterns. Syst. Zool. 348-365.

Croizat, L. 1952. Manual of phytogeography. Junk.

Croizat, L. 1958. Panbiogeography. Publ. by the Author.

Darlington, P.J. 1957. Zoogeography. Wiley.

Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Species in the Struggle for Life. J. Murray.

Davis, M. B. 1976. Pleistocene Biogeography of Temperate deciduous Forests. Geoscience and Man 13:13-26.

Ehrlich, P., and A. Erlich. 1981. Extinction. Random House.

Endler, J. 1982. Pleistocene forest refuges, fact or fancy? In Prance, G. (ed.) Biological Diversification in the Tropics. Columbia.

Fischer, A. 1960. Latitudinal Variation in Organic Diversity. Evolution, 14:64-81.

Hengeveld, R. 1989. Dynamic Biogeogaphy. Chapman and Hall.

Gingerich, P.D. 1986. Evolution and the fossil record: patterns, rates, and processes. Can. J. Zool. 65:1053-1060.

Goldberg, D., and T. Miller. 1990. Effects of different resource additions on species diversity in an annual plant community. Ecology 71:213-225.

Good, R. 1964. The geography of the flowering plants. Harper.

Gould, S.J., and N. Eldredge. Punctuated Equilibrium

Graham, R. et al. 1996. Spatial response of mammals to late-Quaternary environmental fluctuations. Science 272:1601-1606.

Huston, M. 1995. Biological Diversity. Cambridge.

Heaney, L., and Patterson, B.D. (eds) 1986. Island biogeography of mammals. Biol. J. Linn Soc. 28(1 & 2).

Jablonsky, D. 1991. Extinctions, a paleontological perspective. Science 253:754-757.

Lande, R. 1988. Genetics and demography in biological conservation. Science 241, (Sept. 16).

Lundberg, J. [South American/African fish patterns]. Ann Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Lyell, C. Principles of Geology.

MacArthur, R. 1972. Geographical Ecology. Princeton

MacArthur, R. and E.O. Wilson. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton.

Lawton, and May, R. 1997. Extinction. Oxford.

Mayden, R. [North American freshwater fish patterns.]

Mayr, E. 1963. Animal Species and Evolution

McFadden, B. [Pliocene Great American Interchange]

Nelson, G. and N. Platnick. 1981. Systematics and biogeography: Cladistics and vicariance. Columbia Univ. Press. New York.

Pielou, E.C. 1979. Biogeography. Wiley.

Pielou, After the Ice Age

Quammen, David. 1996. Song of the Dodo. Scribner.

Raven, P., and D.I. Axelrod. 1972. Plate tectonics and Australasian palebigeography. Science June 30.

Ricklefs, R. and D. Schluter. 1993. Species diversity in ecological communities. Univ. Chicago Press.

Rosen, D.E. 1985. Geological hierarchies and biological congruence in the Caribbean. Ann. Missouri Bot. Garden 72:636-659.

Rosenzweig, M. 1996. Species Diversity in Space and Time. Cambridge

Simberloff, D., and L.G. Abele. Island Biogeography and conservation theory and practice. Science Jan. 23, Sept. 10.

Simpson, G.G. 1944. Tempo and Mode of Evolution. Columbia.

Simpson, G.G. 1953. Major Features of Evolution. Columbia.

Soule, M., and D. Simberloff. 1986. What do genetics and ecology tell us about the design of natural reserves? Biol. Cons. 35.

Templeton, A. 1980. The theory of speciation via the founder principle. Genetics 94.

VanValkenburg, B., and C. Janis. 1993. (North American Mammals) In Ricklefs and Schluter.

Vrba, E. 1993. Turnover Pulses, The Red Queen, and Related Topics. American Journal of Science, 293A:418-452.

Wallace, A.R. 1976. The geographical distribution of animals. Vol. I, II. Harper.

Wilson, E.O. 1961. The nature of the taxon cycle in the Melanesian ant fauna. American Naturalist 95:169-193.

Wright, H.E. 1976. Ice retreat and revegetation of the western Great Lakes area. In W.C. Mahaney (ed.)Quaternary Stratigraphy of North America, 119-132. Dowden, Hutchison, and Ross.