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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 Apr;23(4):229-36. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2007.11.006. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Gondwanan break-up: legacies of a lost world?

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Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, London, UK.


Fierce debate surrounds the history of organisms in the southern hemisphere; did Gondwanan break-up produce ocean barriers that imposed distribution patterns on phylogenies (vicariance)? Or have organisms modified their distributions through trans-oceanic dispersal? Recent advances in biogeographical theory suggest that the current focus on vicariance versus dispersal is too narrow because it ignores 'geodispersal' (i.e. expansion of species into areas when geographical barriers disappear), extinction and sampling errors. Geodispersal produces multiple, conflicting vicariance patterns, and extinction and sampling errors destroy vicariance patterns. This perspective suggests that it is more difficult to detect vicariance than trans-oceanic dispersal and that specialized methods must be applied if an unbiased understanding of southern hemisphere biogeography is to be achieved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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