Chapter

Biogeography of the Central Pacific: Endemism, Vicariance, and Plate Tectonics

Michael Heads

in Molecular Panbiogeography of the Tropics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780520271968
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951808 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520271968.003.0006
Biogeography of the Central Pacific: Endemism, Vicariance, and Plate Tectonics

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New volcanic islands may be colonized from neighboring islands rather than from distant continents. The source islands may subsequently erode and subside, and eventually form atolls or submerged seamounts. Island taxa persist more or less in situ as dynamic metapopulations on individually ephemeral islands. These metapopulations may evolve by vicariance during rifting and basin formation, as in continental groups. In the Pacific, phases of Cretaceous volcanism associated with the South Pacific superswell have produced large igneous plateaus. Some of these include fossil wood in sedimentary strata intercalated with the volcanics. This chapter examines clades that are widely distributed in the central Pacific and endemic there, and relates these to the complex geological history.

Keywords: atoll; seamount; metapopulation; vicariance; Pacific; endemism; South Pacific superswell; large igneous plateau

Chapter.  14738 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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