Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Year of Darwin 12/21/2014: First great fact of biogeography

 Charles Darwin

"neither the similarity nor the dissimilarity of the inhabitants of various regions can be accounted for by their climatal and other physical conditions" Charles Darwin, Origin of Species 1st edition (on Kindle)

That is, disjunct regions with the same temperature and precipitation regimes have unrelated organisms. Excellent examples are the cacti in the deserts of North America and the euphorbs of African deserts. Additionally, adjacent areas with different climates often have related organisms. Oaks are probably one of the best examples but the maples come to mind first (the White Mountains have been on my mind lately) - Striped and Moose Maples to the north, Sugar Maples in the middle, and Chalk Maple to the south. Oaks go even further into the Southern Hemisphere - hard to fathom - I always think oaks are a Northern Hemisphere thing. Speaking of cacti, there are cacti in the Amazon.  Spindly and odd looking but they're there on the crappy soils that are the Guianan shield. 

Listening to the great Joao Gilberto and almost in tears for missing the rainforest. Working on an old manuscript with data collected in the mid-90's. Major revision so major revising. Winter Solstice celebrations (=one cigar + 1 glass of scotch) must wait. Book chapter accepted and so was an article on food webs. So that's three for 2015. I can drink to that. And I have my wife to thank (or there would be many more drinks :) ) 

A drizzly day in Cape May. 

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