Phytogeography

Phytogeography (from Greek φυτόν, phytón = "plant" and γεωγραφία, geographía = "geography" meaning also distribution) or botanical geography is the branch of biogeography that is concerned with the geographic distribution of plant species and their influence on the earth's surface. Phytogeography is concerned with all aspects of plant distribution, from the controls on the distribution of individual species ranges (at both large and small scales, see species distribution) to the factors that govern the composition of entire communities and floras. Geobotany, by contrast, focuses on the geographic space's influence on plants.

Fields

Phytogeography is part of a more general science known as biogeography. Phytogeographers are concerned with patterns and process in plant distribution. Most of the major questions and kinds of approaches taken to answer such questions are held in common between phyto- and zoogeographers.

Phytogeography in wider sense (or geobotany, in German literature) encompasses four fields, according with the focused aspect, environment, flora (taxa), vegetation (plant community) and origin, respectively:[1][2][3][4]

Phytogeography is often divided into two main branches: ecological phytogeography and historical phytogeography. The former investigates the role of current day biotic and abiotic interactions in influencing plant distributions; the latter are concerned with historical reconstruction of the origin, dispersal, and extinction of taxa.

Overview

Cinnamon fern smokies
The basic data element of phytogeography are specimen records. These are collected individual plants like this one, a Cinnamon Fern, collected in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

The basic data elements of phytogeography are occurrence records (presence or absence of a species) with operational geographic units such as political units or geographical coordinates. These data are often used to construct phytogeographic provinces (floristic provinces) and elements.

The questions and approaches in phytogeography are largely shared with zoogeography, except zoogeography is concerned with animal distribution rather than plant distribution. The term phytogeography itself suggests a broad meaning. How the term is actually applied by practicing scientists is apparent in the way periodicals use the term. The American Journal of Botany, a monthly primary research journal, frequently publishes a section titled "Systematics, Phytogeography, and Evolution." Topics covered in the American Journal of Botany's "Systematics and Phytogeography" section include phylogeography, distribution of genetic variation and, historical biogeography, and general plant species distribution patterns. Biodiversity patterns are not heavily covered.

History

Alexander von Humboldt-selfportrait
An 1814 self-portrait in Paris of Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt is often referred to as the "father of phytogeography".

Phytogeography has a long history. One of the subjects earliest proponents was Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who is often referred to as the "father of phytogeography". Von Humboldt advocated a quantitative approach to phytogeography that has characterized modern plant geography.

Gross patterns of the distribution of plants became apparent early on in the study of plant geography. For example, Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discoverer of the principle of natural selection, discussed the Latitudinal gradients in species diversity, a pattern observed in other organisms as well. Much research effort in plant geography has since then been devoted to understanding this pattern and describing it in more detail.

In 1890, the United States Congress passed an act that appropriated funds to send expeditions to discover the geographic distributions of plants (and animals) in the United States. The first of these was The Death Valley Expedition, including Frederick Vernon Coville, Frederick Funston, Clinton Hart Merriam, and others.[5]

Research in plant geography has also been directed to understanding the patterns of adaptation of species to the environment. This is done chiefly by describing geographical patterns of trait/environment relationships. These patterns termed ecogeographical rules when applied to plants represent another area of phytogeography. Recently, a new field termed macroecology has developed, which focuses on broad-scale (in both time and space) patterns and phenomena in ecology. Macroecology focuses as much on other organisms as plants.

Floristic regions

Florenreiche
Good (1947) floristic kingdoms

Floristics is a study of the flora of some territory or area. Traditional phytogeography concerns itself largely with floristics and floristic classification, see floristic province.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rizzini, Carlos Toledo (1997). Tratado de fitogeografia do Brasil: aspectos ecológicos, sociológicos e florísticos (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Rio de Janeiro: Âmbito Cultural Edições. pp. 7–11.
  2. ^ Mueller-Dombois, Dieter; Ellenberg, Heinz (August 1974). Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. New York: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 1-930665-73-3. See Mueller-Dombois (2001), p. 567, [1].
  3. ^ Pott, Richard (2005). Allgemeine Geobotanik: Biogeosysteme und Biodiversität (in German). Berlin: Springer Spektrum. p. 13. ISBN 978-3540230588.
  4. ^ Vulf, E. V. (1943). An Introduction to Historical Plant Geography. Translated by Brissenden, Elizabeth. Waltham, Massachusetts: Chronica Botanica Company.
  5. ^ "Death Valley Expedition (1891)". Historical Expeditions. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017.

Bibliography

External links

Adolf Engler

Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler (25 March 1844 – 10 October 1930) was a German botanist. He is notable for his work on plant taxonomy and phytogeography, such as Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien (The Natural Plant Families), edited with Karl A. E. von Prantl.

Even now, his system of plant classification, the Engler system, is still used by many herbaria and is followed by writers of many manuals and floras. It is still the only system that treats all 'plants' (in the wider sense, algae to flowering plants) in such depth.Engler published a prodigious number of taxonomic works. He used various artists to illustrate his books, notably Joseph Pohl (1864–1939), an illustrator who had served an apprenticeship as a wood-engraver. Pohl's skill drew Engler's attention, starting a collaboration of some 40 years. Pohl produced more than 33 000 drawings in 6 000 plates for Die naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien. He also illustrated Das Pflanzenreich (1900–1953), Die Pflanzenwelt Afrikas (1908–1910), Monographien afrikanischer Pflanzenfamilien (1898–1904) and the journals Engler's botanische Jahrbücher.

Afrotropical realm

The Afrotropical realm is one of the Earth's eight biogeographic realms. It includes Africa south of the Sahara Desert, the southern and eastern fringes of the Arabian Peninsula, the island of Madagascar, southern Iran and extreme southwestern Pakistan, and the islands of the western Indian Ocean. It was formerly known as the Ethiopian Zone or Ethiopian Region.

Antarctic Floristic Kingdom

The Antarctic Floristic Kingdom, also the Holantarctic Kingdom, is a floristic kingdom. It includes most areas of the world south of 40°S latitude. It was first identified by botanist Ronald Good, and later by Armen Takhtajan. The Antarctic Floristic Kingdom is a classification in phytogeography, different from the Antarctic ecozone classification in biogeography, and from Antarctic flora genera/species classifications in botany.

Antarctic realm

The Antarctical realm is one of eight terrestrial biogeographic realms. The ecosystem includes Antarctica and several island groups in the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The continent of Antarctica is so cold and dry that it has supported only 2 vascular plants for millions of years, and its flora presently consists of around 250 lichens, 100 mosses, 25-30 liverworts, and around 700 terrestrial and aquatic algal species, which live on the areas of exposed rock and soil around the shore of the continent. Antarctica's two flowering plant species, the Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis), are found on the northern and western parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica is also home to a diversity of animal life, including penguins, seals, and whales.

Several Antarctic island groups are considered part of the Antarctica realm, including South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands, Bouvet Island, the Crozet Islands, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island, the Kerguelen Islands, and the McDonald Islands. These islands have a somewhat milder climate than Antarctica proper, and support a greater diversity of tundra plants, although they are all too windy and cold to support trees.

Antarctic krill is the keystone species of the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, and is an important food organism for whales, seals, leopard seals, fur seals, crabeater seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other birds. The ocean there is so full of phytoplankton because around the ice continent water rises from the depths to the light flooded surface, bringing nutrients from all oceans back to the photic zone.

On August 20, 2014, scientists confirmed the existence of microorganisms living 800 metres (2,600 feet) below the ice of Antarctica.

Central Mackay Coast

Central Mackay Coast, an interim Australian bioregion, is located in Queensland, and comprises 1,464,208 hectares (3,618,140 acres).The bioregion has the code CMC. There are six subregions.

Eastern Agricultural Complex

The Eastern Agricultural Complex was one of about 10 independent centers of plant domestication in the pre-historic world. By about 1,800 BCE the Native Americans of North America were cultivating several species of plants, thus transitioning from a hunter-gatherer economy to agriculture. After 200 BCE when maize from Mexico was introduced to what is now the eastern United States, the Native Americans of the present-day United States and Canada slowly changed from growing local indigenous plants to a maize-based agricultural economy. The cultivation of local indigenous plants other than squash declined and was eventually abandoned. The formerly domesticated plants, except for squash, returned to their wild forms.The initial four plants known to have been domesticated were goosefoot (Chenopodium berlandieri), sunflower (Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus), marsh elder (Iva annua var. macrocarpa), and squash (Cucurbita pepo ssp. ovifera). Several other species of plants were later domesticated.

Ecological land classification

Ecological land classification is a cartographical delineation or regionalisation of distinct ecological areas, identified by their geology, topography, soils, vegetation, climate conditions, living species, habitats, water resources, and sometimes also anthropic factors. These factors control and influence biotic composition and ecological processes.

Geobotanical prospecting

Geobotanical prospecting refers to prospecting based on indicator plants like metallophytes and the analysis of vegetation. For example, the Viscaria Mine in Sweden was named after the plant Silene suecica (syn. Viscaria alpina) that was used by prospecters to discover the ore deposits.A "most faithful" indicator plant is Ocimum centraliafricanum, the "copper plant" or "copper flower" formerly known as Becium homblei, found only on copper (and nickel) containing soils in central to southern Africa.In 2015, Stephen E. Haggerty identified Pandanus candelabrum as a botanical indicator for kimberlite pipes, a source of mined diamonds.The technique has been used in China since in the 5th century BC. People in the region noticed a connection between vegetation and the minerals located underground. There were particular plants that throve on and indicated areas rich in copper, nickel, zinc, and allegedly gold though the latter has not been confirmed. The connection arose out of an agricultural interest concerning soil compositions. While the process had been known to the Chinese region since antiquity, it was not written about and studied in the west until the 18th century in Italy.

Glacial relict

A glacial relict is a population cold-adapted species that has been left behind as the range of the species changed after an ice age ended. Glacial relicts are usually found in enclaves "under relatively benign conditions".Examples:

The biogeography of various aquatic species deemed glacial relicts that are found in Lake Sommen is likely related to a different geography during the early history of the lake. One theory claims that aquatic species were transferred from the Baltic Ice Lake through a natural lock system in connection with a temporary advance of the ice-front during the Younger Dryas. On land, the unusual occurrence of dwarf birch near Sund is also judged to be a leftover from a cold geological past.

Indomalayan realm

The Indomalayan realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms. It extends across most of South and Southeast Asia and into the southern parts of East Asia.

Also called the Oriental realm by biogeographers, Indomalaya extends from Afghanistan through the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia to lowland southern China, and through Indonesia as far as Java, Bali, and Borneo, east of which lies the Wallace line, the realm boundary named after Alfred Russel Wallace which separates Indomalayan from Australasia. Indomalaya also includes the Philippines, lowland Taiwan, and Japan's Ryukyu Islands.

Most of Indomalaya was originally covered by forest, mostly tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, with tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests predominant in much of India and parts of Southeast Asia. The tropical moist forests of Indomalaya are mostly dominated by trees of the dipterocarp family (Dipterocarpaceae).

List of ecoregions in Morocco

The following is a list of ecoregions in Morocco, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). This list does not include the ecoregions of Western Sahara (see List of ecoregions in Western Sahara).

Macaronesia

Macaronesia is a collection of four archipelagos in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the continents of Europe and Africa. Each archipelago is made up of a number of Atlantic oceanic islands formed by seamounts on the ocean floor with peaks above the ocean's surface. The Macaronesian islands belong to three countries: Portugal, Spain, and Cape Verde. Politically, the islands belonging to Portugal and Spain are part of the European Union. Geologically, Macaronesia is part of the African Plate, including the Azores, which mark its edge at the meeting point with the Eurasian and American Plates.

Neotropical realm

The Neotropical realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting the Earth's land surface. Physically, it includes the tropical terrestrial ecoregions of the Americas and the entire South American temperate zone.

Oceanian realm

The Oceanian realm is one of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) biogeographic realms, and is unique in not including any continental land mass. It is the smallest in land of an area of the WWF realms.

This realm includes the islands of the Pacific Ocean in: Micronesia, the Fijian Islands, the Hawaiian islands, and Polynesia (with the exception of New Zealand).

New Zealand, Australia, and most of Melanesia including New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia are included within the Australasian realm.

Palearctic realm

The Palearctic or Palaearctic is one of the eight biogeographic realms on the Earth's surface, first identified in the 19th century, and still in use today as the basis for zoogeographic classification. The Palearctic is the largest of the eight realms. It stretches across all of Europe, Asia north of the foothills of the Himalayas, North Africa, and the northern and central parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

The realm consists of several ecoregions: the Euro-Siberian region; the Mediterranean Basin; the Sahara and Arabian Deserts; and Western, Central and East Asia. The Palaearctic realm also has numerous rivers and lakes, forming several freshwater ecoregions. Some of the rivers were the source of water for the earliest recorded civilizations that used irrigation methods.

Phytochorion

A phytochorion, in phytogeography, is a geographic area with a relatively uniform composition of plant species. Adjacent phytochoria do not usually have a sharp boundary, but rather a soft one, a transitional area in which many species from both regions overlap. The region of overlap is called a vegetation tension zone.

In traditional schemes, areas in phytogeography are classified hierarchically, according to the presence of endemic families, genera or species, e.g., in floral (or floristic, phytogeographic) zones and regions, or also in kingdoms, regions and provinces, sometimes including the categories empire and domain. However, some authors prefer not to rank areas, referring to them simply as "areas", "regions" (in a non hierarchical sense) or "phytochoria".Systems used to classify vegetation can be divided in two major groups: those that use physiognomic-environmental parameters and characteristics and those that are based on floristic (i.e. shared genera and species) relationships. Phytochoria are defined by their plant taxonomic composition, while other schemes of regionalization (e.g., vegetation type, physiognomy, plant formations, biomes) may variably take in account, depending on the author, the apparent characteristics of a community (the dominant life-form), environment characteristics, the fauna associated, anthropic factors or political-conservationist issues.

Vagrancy (biology)

Vagrancy is a phenomenon in biology whereby individual animals appear well outside their normal range; individual animals which exhibit vagrancy are known as vagrants. The term accidental is sometimes also used. There are a number of factors which might cause an individual to become a vagrant—genetic factors and weather conditions are two—but the causes are overall poorly understood. Vagrancy can be a precursor to colonisation if individuals survive.

Vagrancy is known to occur in a wide range of animals such as birds, insects, mammals and sea turtles.

Western Palaearctic

The Western Palaearctic or Western Palearctic is part of the Palaearctic ecozone, one of the eight ecozones dividing the Earth's surface. Because of its size, the Palaearctic is often divided for convenience into two, with Europe, North Africa, northern and central parts of the Arabian Peninsula, and part of temperate Asia, roughly to the Ural Mountains forming the western zone, and the rest of temperate Asia becoming the Eastern Palaearctic. Its exact boundaries differ depending on the authority in question, but the Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic) (BWP) definition is widely used, and is followed by the most popular Western Palearctic checklist, that of the Association of European Rarities Committees (AERC). The Western Palearctic ecozone includes mostly boreal and temperate climate ecoregions.The Palaearctic region has been recognised as a natural zoogeographic region since Sclater proposed it in 1858. The oceans to the north and west, and the Sahara to the south are obvious natural boundaries with other ecozones, but the eastern boundary is more arbitrary, since it merges into another part of the same ecozone, and the mountain ranges used as markers are less effective biogeographic separators. The climate differences across the Western Palearctic region can cause behavioral differences within the same species across geographical distance, such as in the sociality of behavior for bees of the species Lasioglossum malachurum.

World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions

The World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions (WGSRPD) is a biogeographical system developed by the international Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) organization, formerly the International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases. The WGSRPD standards, like other standards for data fields in botanical databases, were developed to promote "the wider and more effective dissemination of information about the world's heritage of biological organisms for the benefit of the world at large". The system provides clear definitions and codes for recording plant distributions at four scales or levels, from "botanical continents" down to parts of large countries. Current users of the system include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), and the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP).

Physiognomy
Latitude
Climatic
regime
Altitude
Leaves
Substrate
See also
Subdisciplines
Plant groups
Plant morphology
(glossary)
Plant growth and habit
Reproduction
Plant taxonomy
Practice
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