Oceanic islands as evolutionary laboratories
Crawford, Daniel J. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
- Getting there
- Arrival and getting started
- Laboratory paradigm
- Adaptive radiation and speciation
- Future studies
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Oceanic islands comprise only about 5% of the Earth's land surface area, yet they have long captivated the human imagination for their splendid isolation and their unusual, sometimes bizarre, plants and animals. Well-known examples include the finches and huge tortoises of the Galápagos and the magnificent silversword plants of Hawaii. Oceanic archipelagos were of keen interest to the two formulators of the theory of organic evolution, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, both of whom recognized the significance of oceanic islands for understanding organic evolution. Interest in islands as ideal settings for studying evolution has remained strong from the time of Darwin to the present.
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