Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A new association in biogeography

SEBA - Systematic and Evolutionary Biogeographical Association has just been announced. It will be the home of the forthcoming International Code of Area Nomenclature, which my wicked fingers already think of as the International Area Code...

The aim of this association is to standardise, so that research can be directly cross-compared, the terminology of biogeographic areas, areas of endemism, biotas, and the like, and to relate systematics and evolution with biogeography, which has suffered a decline in funding and interest over the years.

Recently it has become important in the arena of conservation biology, due to an increasing interest in "ecological hotspots", areas of high biodiversity and potential vulnerability. Part of the difficulty lies in being able to identify the natural boundaries for areas, and as biodiversity relies heavily on the evolutionary history of the species in a region, knowing what is endemic and what is not is essential. Being able to be sure that when one study identifies an area, it is the same area as another study, is vital.