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Nature. 2000 May 11;405(6783):220-7.

Global patterns in biodiversity.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK.


To a first approximation, the distribution of biodiversity across the Earth can be described in terms of a relatively small number of broad-scale spatial patterns. Although these patterns are increasingly well documented, understanding why they exist constitutes one of the most significant intellectual challenges to ecologists and biogeographers. Theory is, however, developing rapidly, improving in its internal consistency, and more readily subjected to empirical challenge.

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