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The answers to these questions, inas far as they are known, are as diverse and varied as the questions themselves. To approach them it is necessary to understand global patterns of climate, as well as the physical barriers to dispersal presented by oceans, mountain chains and deserts. We need to know how species respond to the presence of competitors, predators and parasites, and how they react when their physical environment alters as climate changes and as continents break up and are set adrift. Most important, we need to appreciate the impact of our own species upon all others, placing new demands upon the adaptability of the living world.
The questions asked by biogeography themselves evolve over time, and this new edition of a long-established text raises new questions concerned with such topics as global biodiversity, the roles of species in ecosystems, and the degree to which traditional biogeographical concepts can be applied to the extensive, but neglected, realms of the world's oceans. Marine biogeography is becoming an increasingly important and well-understood discipline, and is included here for the first time.
The book is intended as the principal text for students taking courses in biogeography, as well as wider degree programmes in which the study of biogeography is important, such as geography, ecology, palaeobiology and evolution.
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