The extraordinary species richness and endemism of the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA) exists in one of the most geologically dynamic regions of the planet. The provenance of its biota has been debated, particularly in the area known as Wallacea. Application of molecular genetic approaches and a better understanding of the region's complex geology have stimulated much recent biogeographic work in the IAA. We review molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies in light of current geological evidence. Present distribution patterns of species have been shaped largely by pre-Pleistocene dispersal and vicariance events, whereas more recent changes in the connectivity of islands within the Archipelago have influenced the partitioning of intraspecific variation. Many genetic studies have uncovered cryptic species with restricted distributions. We discuss the conservation significance of the region and highlight the need for cross-taxon comparative studies using newly developed analytical approaches well suited to the challenges of historical inference in this region.
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics – Annual Reviews
Published: Dec 1, 2011
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