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Introduction to Biogeography
Biogeography is the study of the geographical distribution of organisms in the past and
today. It attempts to understand and describe the spatial pattern of the diverse living
organisms and the variations or differences of those patterns. Some biogeographers explain
such patterns by focusing on the ancestors of organisms and the changes that happens in the
environment. This approach is called historical approach. Ecological approach is used by
others which focuses on the adaptations that are observed in organisms and their interaction
to the environment. Nowadays, since abundance and distribution of biodiversity is also highly
affected by human activities, biogeography has also become an important role in conservation
(Department of Geography and Geographic Information Sciences, n.d.)
Ernst Haeckel – a German biologist who first coined the term ecology, defined
ecology as the “total relations of the animal both to its inorganic and organic
Today ecology is defined as the study of interactions between organisms and their
Ecology also includes:
o Study of abundance of organisms in space and time
o Processes in biological communities
In the 20th century ecology emerged from natural history and wildlife management
Early on, ecology became popular but was not well understood
Because ecologists and biogeographers are both interested in the patterns of
distribution of organisms in space and time and the process that determine those
patterns, ecology and biogeography obviously have a close link.
Interactions between organisms
and their environment, patterns
and processes in ecosystems, as
well as with the distribution and
Distribution of organisms and the
factors and processes causing
those distributions
Studying distribution could be a part of a study of abundance
Factors affecting distribution also affects abundance
In biogeography, theories (sets of ideas that try to explain something) are used in
trying to understand a process (ex. process that determine the abundance of a
species in a forest); and
Models are theories that are tested and used to predict the effects of impacts in the
natural world
Because human population densities are increasing and resources are diminishing,
biogeography has a crucial application in sustainability and conservation of biodiversity
Good decisions in conservation cannot be made without knowing what is there? where
is it? How many are there? and son on
Wildlife conservation are done though just partly by establishing protected areas,
where biogeography plays an important role
Climate changes affect the distribution of organisms
A change in biogeography happens because a poleward shift in species distribution
that is triggered by climate change (Frainer, et al., 2017)
Fishes for example are highly affected by changes in temperature making their
community become reorganized which also causes changes in the marine ecosystem
Possible environmental impacts on the new development in land use are assessed by
Environmental impact assessment should be done first before constructing a dam or
a flood control for example.
Research on the process on how a protected area is established. Create a graphic
organizer that will show the process to the reader in a simpler manner and it should be followed
by an explanation (last part of explanation should also tell the application of ecology and
biogeography in the process). The following questions should be answered as well:
Where should protected area be established and why?
How large should it be?
How should it be managed?
Should it be closed from plans arising from land development and use
activities around?
1. Describe biogeography and its relationship to ecology. Prove your answer on the
relationship between biogeography and ecology by giving example.
2. Explain how biogeography is related to conservation. Give an example.
3. Explain how biogeography is related to climate change. Give an example.