GUEST EDITORIAL: Hello New Zealand

GUEST EDITORIAL: Hello New Zealand Islands of the Pacific Ocean have long fascinated evolutionists. Oceanic islands, generally the products of volcanic activity, provide natural experiments as biological populations are well delimited and the age of islands can be determined using radiometric dating. ‘Continental islands’, including New Caledonia and New Zealand, provide equally valuable opportunities for evolutionary study. For students of New Zealand biogeography, the peculiar composition of the biota coupled with a limited interpretation of geology has resulted in the widespread acceptance that the flora and fauna is primarily ancient and of vicariant Gondwanan origin. There is increasing evidence from molecular data that much of this biodiversity is the product of evolution following relatively recent colonization. Such data have prompted biologists to consider geological information on New Zealand in more detail. At the heart of the issue is the question of whether modern New Zealand has a terrestrial link through time with the continent Zealandia that split from Gondwanaland some 80 Ma. Zealandia, which includes New Caledonia, Lord Howe Island and several of the subantarctic islands, is now largely submerged, and New Zealand's present terrestrial existence is the product of tectonic activity initiated around 26 Ma. We argue that for the purposes of biogeographical interpretation, New Zealand can be treated as an oceanic island. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Biogeography Wiley

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0305-0270
eISSN
1365-2699
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01643.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Islands of the Pacific Ocean have long fascinated evolutionists. Oceanic islands, generally the products of volcanic activity, provide natural experiments as biological populations are well delimited and the age of islands can be determined using radiometric dating. ‘Continental islands’, including New Caledonia and New Zealand, provide equally valuable opportunities for evolutionary study. For students of New Zealand biogeography, the peculiar composition of the biota coupled with a limited interpretation of geology has resulted in the widespread acceptance that the flora and fauna is primarily ancient and of vicariant Gondwanan origin. There is increasing evidence from molecular data that much of this biodiversity is the product of evolution following relatively recent colonization. Such data have prompted biologists to consider geological information on New Zealand in more detail. At the heart of the issue is the question of whether modern New Zealand has a terrestrial link through time with the continent Zealandia that split from Gondwanaland some 80 Ma. Zealandia, which includes New Caledonia, Lord Howe Island and several of the subantarctic islands, is now largely submerged, and New Zealand's present terrestrial existence is the product of tectonic activity initiated around 26 Ma. We argue that for the purposes of biogeographical interpretation, New Zealand can be treated as an oceanic island.

Journal

Journal of BiogeographyWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2007

References

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