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THE GEOGRAPHIC RANGE: Size, Shape, Boundaries, And Internal Structure

James H Brown, and George C. Stevens, Dawn M. Kaufman
Published 1996 · Biology

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▪ Abstract Comparative, quantitative biogeographic studies are revealing empirical patterns of interspecific variation in the sizes, shapes, boundaries, and internal structures of geographic ranges; these patterns promise to contribute to understanding the historical and ecological processes that influence the distributions of species. This review focuses on characteristics of ranges that appear to reflect the influences of environmental limiting factors and dispersal. Among organisms as a whole, range size varies by more than 12 orders of magnitude. Within genera, families, orders, and classes of plants and animals, range size often varies by several orders of magnitude, and this variation is associated with variation in body size, population density, dispersal mode, latitude, elevation, and depth (in marine systems). The shapes of ranges and the dynamic changes in range boundaries reflect the interacting influences of limiting environmental conditions (niche variables) and dispersal/extinction dynamics....
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