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Foundations of Biogeography

Classic Papers with Commentaries

Foundations of Biogeography provides facsimile reprints of seventy-two works that have proven fundamental to the development of the field. From classics by Georges-Louis LeClerc Compte de Buffon, Alexander von Humboldt, and Charles Darwin to equally seminal contributions by Ernst Mayr, Robert MacArthur, and E. O. Wilson, these papers and book excerpts not only reveal biogeography’s historical roots but also trace its theoretical and empirical development. Selected and introduced by leading biogeographers, the articles cover a wide variety of taxonomic groups, habitat types, and geographic regions. Foundations of Biogeography will be an ideal introduction to the field for beginning students and an essential reference for established scholars of biogeography, ecology, and evolution.

List of Contributors
John C. Briggs, James H. Brown, Vicki A. Funk, Paul S. Giller, Nicholas J. Gotelli, Lawrence R. Heaney, Robert Hengeveld, Christopher J. Humphries, Mark V. Lomolino, Alan A. Myers, Brett R. Riddle, Dov F. Sax, Geerat J. Vermeij, Robert J. Whittaker

1,328 pages | 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 | © 2004

Biological Sciences: Biology--Systematics, Conservation, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology


"This is not only a truly voluminous book . . . it is also very interesting and supplies stimulating reading of papers of various styles and approaches."

P. Langer | Mammalian Biology

"If your class reading list calls for something on Linnaeus, Buffon, de Candolle, von Humboldt and Hooker at one end of the time span, along with MacArthur and Wilson’s theory and developments in the 1970s, this 2-kg set will be very useful."

Mark Williamson | Nature

"It is not possible to do justice here to the dozens and dozens of great studies reprinted in this book--after all, virtually every paper is considered a classic in its own rignt--but perhaps it suffices to say that it should not come as any surprise when Foundations of Biogeography itself becomes a major milestone in modern biogeography."

Carole T. Gee | Plant Systematics and Evolution

“Compendia of this type can be judged by two criteria: how effectively the specific selections convey the complex history of the field, and how well the accompanying commentaries orient the reader to provide a realistic sense of the science’s development. . . . The book measures up well to these standards.  The selection includes warty works as well as bright jewels, and most of the commentaries provide a good accounting of the twists and turns as concepts and research avenues developed toward the present. . . . Another standard for judging a compilation is how many surprises we encounter.  Again, the volume stands up well.”

Stephen T. Jackson | Ecology

"[The Foundations] are all extremely useful for teaching, and the present volume is no exception, providing a generous basis for an advanced course or graduate seminar. . . . The volume is a major accomplishment. Praise is due to the publisher, volume editors, and section editors for providing a compendious resource for students and scholars in the history of evolution, ecology, and biogeography."

Jane R. Camerini | Journal of the History of Biology

"The purpose of the Foundations series is to bring together and reprint classic papers from a field in one place and create a volume for students of the field to use as a reference. In this aim, the Foundations of Biogepgraphy succeeds admirably. . . . [The] book should make a worthy addition to the library of a biogreographer at any stage. . . .This book would make an excellent text for use in an introduction to biogeography seminar or in a history of biogeography course."

S. Kathleen Lyons | Journal of Mammal Evolution

Table of Contents

Pt. 1 - Early classics
1. Carlous Linnaeus (1781) : excerpts from Dissertation II, on the increase of the habitable earth
2. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Compte de Buffon (1761) : excerpts from Natural history, general and particular
3. Johann Reinhold Forster (1778) : excerpts from Observations made during a voyage round the world, on physical geography, natural history, and ethic philosophy
4. Augustin de Candolle (1820) : excerpt from Essai elementaire de geographie Botanique
5. Alexander von Humboldt (1805) : excerpt from Essay on the geography of plants
6. Edward Forbes (1844) : excerpts from Report on the mollusca and radiata of the Aegean Sea, and on their distribution, considered as bearing on geology
7. James Dwight Dana (1853) : On an isothermal oceanic chart, illustrating the geographical distribution of marine animals
8. Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1853) : excerpt from The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H. M. Discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839-1843
9. Philip Lutley Sclater (1858) : On the general geographical distribution of the members of the class aves
10. Asa Gray (1876) : excerpt from Darwiniana : essays and reviews pertaining to darwinism
11. Charles Darwin (1859) : excerpts from On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life
12. Alfred Russel Wallace (1876) : excerpt from The geographical distribution of animals
13. Ernst Haeckel (1876) : excerpt from The history of creation, or the development of the earth and its inhabitants by the action of natural causes
14. Hermann von Ihering (1900) : The history of the neotropical region
15. Clinton Hart Merriam (1890) : excerpt from Results of a biological survey of the San Francisco mountain region and desert of the Little Colorado, Arizona
16. William Diller Matthew (1915) : excerpt from Climate and evolution
17. Sven Ekman (1953) : excerpt from Zoogeography of the sea
18. Evgenii Vladimirovitch Wulff (1943) : excerpt from An introduction to historical plant geography
Pt. 2 - Earth history, vicariance, and dispersal
19. Alfred Wegener (1924) : excerpt from The origin of continents and oceans
20. Lars Brundin (1966) : excerpt from Transantarctic relationships and their significance, as evidenced by chironomid midges
21. Sherwin Carlquist (1966) : The biota of long-distance dispersal, I : principles of dispersal and evolution
22. George Gaylord Simpson (1940) : Mammals and land bridges
23. Anthony Hallam (1967) : The bearing of certain palaeozoogeographic data on continental drift
24. Philip J. Darlington, Jr. (1965) : excerpt from Biogeography of the southern end of the world
25. Larry G. Marshall, S. David Webb, J. John Sepkoski, Jr., and David M. Raup (1982) : Mammalian evolution and the Great American interchange
26. Francis Dov Por (1971) : One hundred years of Suez Canal - a century of lessepsian migration : retrospect and viewpoints
Pt. 3 - Species ranges
27. Joseph Grinnell (1922) : The role of the "accidental"
28. Eric Hulten (1937) : excerpts from Outline of the history of Arctic and boreal biota during the Quaternary period
29. Evgenii Vladimirovitch Wulff (1943) : excerpt from An introduction to historical plant geography
30. Jeremy D. Holloway and Nicholas Jardine (1968) : Two approaches to zoogeography : a study based on the distributions of butterflies, birds and bats in the Indo-Australian area
31. Charles S. Elton (1958) : excerpt from The ecology of invasions by animals and plants
32. Daniel H. Janzen (1967) : Why mountain passes are higher in the tropics
33. Philip V. Wells and Rainer Berger (1967) : Late Pleistocene history of coniferous woodland in the Mohave Desert
34. John R. Flenley (1979) : The late quaternary vegetational history of the equatorial mountains
35. Paul S. Martin (1973) : The discovery of America
Pt. 4 - Revolutions in historical biogeography
36. Lars Brundin (1966) : excerpt from Transantarctic relationships and their significance, as evidenced by chironomid midges
37. Willi Hennig (1966) : excerpt from Phylogenetic systematics
38. Gareth J. Nelson (1969) : The problem of historical biogeography
39. Leon Croizat (1962) : excerpt from Space, time, form : the biological synthesis
40. Leon Croizat, Gareth J. Nelson and Donn Eric Rosen (1974) : Centers of origin and related concepts
41. Gareth J. Nelson (1974) : Historical biogeography : an alternative formalization
42. Norman I. Platnick and Gareth J. Nelson (1978) : A method of analysis for historical biogeography
43. Donn E. Rosen (1978) : Vicariant patterns and historical explanation in biogeography
Pt. 5 - Diversification
44. Bernard Rensch (1960) : excerpt from Evolution above the species level
45. Ernst Mayr (1942) : excerpt from Systematics and the origin of species
46. David Lack (1947) : excerpts from Darwin’s finches
47. Philip J. Darlington, Jr. (1959) : Area, climate, and evolution
48. James W. Valentine (1969) : Patterns of taxonomic and ecological structure of the shelf benthos during Phanerozoic time
49. David M. Raup (1972) : Taxonomic diversity during the Phanerozoic
50. Jurgen Haffer (1969) : Speciation in Amazonian forest birds
51. Guy L. Bush (1969) : Sympatric host race formation and speciation in frugivorous flies of the genus Rhagoletis (diptera, tephritidae)
Pt. 6 - The importance of islands
52. Olof Arrhenius (1921) : Species and area
53. Edward O. Wilson (1959) : Adaptive shift and dispersal in a tropical ant fauna
54. Robert H. MacArthur and Edward O. Wilson (1963) : An equilibrium theory of insular zoogeography
55. Daniel S. Simberloff and Edward O. Wilson (1970) : Experimental zoogeography of islands : a two-year record of colonization
56. James H. Brown (1971) : Mammals on mountaintops : nonequilibrium insular biography
57. Jared M. Diamond (1974) : Colonization of exploded volcanic islands by birds : the supertramp strategy
58. Jared M. Diamond (1975) : The island dilemma : lessons of modern biogeographic studies for the design of natural reserves
59. Storrs L. Olson and Helen F. James (1982) : Fossil birds from the Hawaiian islands : evidence for wholesale extinction by man before Western contact
Pt. 7 - Assembly rules
60. Philip J. Darlington, Jr. (1957) : excerpt from Zoogeography : the geographic distribution of animals
61. Charles S. Elton (1946) : Competition and the structure of ecological communities
62. Carrington Bonsor Williams (1947) : The generic relations of species in small ecological communities
63. Robert H. Whittaker (1967) : Gradient analysis of vegetation
64. Robert H. MacArthur (1972) : excerpts from Geographical ecology : patterns in the distributions of species
65. Jared M. Diamond (1975) : excerpt from Assembly of species communities
66. Edward F. Connor and Daniel S. Simberloff (1979) : The assembly of species communities : chance or competition?
Pt. 8 - Gradients in species diversity : why are there so many species in the tropics?
67. Theodosius Dobzhansky (1950) : Evolution in the tropics
68. Alfred G. Fischer (1960) : Latitudinal variations in organic diversity
69. George Gaylord Simpson (1964) : Species density of North American recent mammals
70. Eric R. Pianka (1966) : Latitudinal gradients in species diversity : a review of concepts
71. Robert H. MacArthur (1972) : excerpts from Geographical ecology : patterns in the distribution of species
72. Robert H. Whittaker and William A. Niering (1975) : Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, V : biomass, production and diversity along the elevation gradient
List of Contributors

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