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Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc. 2017 May;92(2):830-853. doi: 10.1111/brv.12256. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

Oceanic island biogeography through the lens of the general dynamic model: assessment and prospect.

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School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, OX1 3QY, Oxford, U.K.
Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, National Museum of Natural History, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, 2100, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Departamento de Ciências Agrárias, cE3c - Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes/Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores, Rua Capitão João d'Ávila, São Pedro, 9700-042, Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, Portugal.
Biodiversity, Macroecology and Conservation Biogeography, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 1, 37077, Göttingen, Germany.
Synthesis Centre of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Deutscher Platz 5e, 04103, Leipzig, Germany.
Island Ecology and Biogeography Research Group, Instituto Universitario de Enfermedades Tropicales y Salud Pública de Canarias (IUETSPC), Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, 38206, Spain.
School of Geography, University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD, Nottingham, U.K.
Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60605, U.S.A.
Department of Bioscience - Genetics, Ecology and Evolution, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114.2, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark.
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Hawaii at Hilo, 200 West Kawili Street, Hilo, HI, 96720, U.S.A.
Environment and Microbiology Team, Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, IPREM UMR CNRS 5254, BP 1155, 64013, Pau Cedex, France.
Section for Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 116, 8000, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Ecology and Taxonomy, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University, GR-15784, Athens, Greece.
Unit of Evolutionary Biology/Systematic Zoology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, Haus 26, D-14476, Potsdam, Germany.


The general dynamic model of oceanic island biogeography (GDM) has added a new dimension to theoretical island biogeography in recognizing that geological processes are key drivers of the evolutionary processes of diversification and extinction within remote islands. It provides a dynamic and essentially non-equilibrium framework generating novel predictions for emergent diversity properties of oceanic islands and archipelagos. Its publication in 2008 coincided with, and spurred on, renewed attention to the dynamics of remote islands. We review progress, both in testing the GDM's predictions and in developing and enhancing ecological-evolutionary understanding of oceanic island systems through the lens of the GDM. In particular, we focus on four main themes: (i) macroecological tests using a space-for-time rationale; (ii) extensions of theory to islands following different patterns of ontogeny; (iii) the implications of GDM dynamics for lineage diversification and trait evolution; and (iv) the potential for downscaling GDM dynamics to local-scale ecological patterns and processes within islands. We also consider the implications of the GDM for understanding patterns of non-native species diversity. We demonstrate the vitality of the field of island biogeography by identifying a range of potentially productive lines for future research.


archipelago; diversity theory; general dynamic model; island biogeography; island evolution; trait evolution; volcanic islands

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