Meaning of Biogeography

Biogeography is known as the branch of biology focused on the study of the distribution of living beings in a geographic space. It can also be considered as a specialization of geography that is oriented to the places that living organisms occupy on Earth.

According to DigoPaul, biogeography combines concepts, tools and techniques from zoology, botany and ecology, among other areas of knowledge. Its object of study is the distribution of species on the planet, dedicating itself to analyzing its origin and the changes that are registered in it.

The biological evolution, the climate change and changes in the structure of the oceans and continents by continental drift and orogénesis are factors affecting the geographical distribution of living beings and, therefore, part of the biogeography interests.

The concept of continental drift, mentioned in the previous paragraph, refers to the movement of the continental masses in relation to the others. This is a hypothesis that a German-born geophysicist and meteorologist developed in 1912 based on various observations. It is worth mentioning that it took about fifty years before this phenomenon could be adequately explained, thanks to the advances made in the field of plate tectonics, the theory that defines the structure of the most rigid and coldest part of our planet.

The orogénesis, meanwhile, is the process through which the earth ‘s crust and loses extension is bent at a portion elongated arising as a result of a thrust. In general, this phenomenon is accompanied by bending and thrust, that is, deformations and failures. In this context, people speak of orogens to give their name to the mountain ranges, whose creation takes place when a tectonic plate is subjected to a pressure that pushes it towards the surface.

Because the terrestrial conditions are very different according to the place, the biogeography must study each system in particular, since two evolutions never occur in the same way. Nor are there general precepts that allow, through deduction, to generate knowledge about the various modes of distribution of living organisms on the earth’s surface.

In this context, it is common to distinguish between historical biogeography and ecological biogeography. The historical biogeography studies the changes in the distribution of species in time, while the ecological biogeography emphasizes both temporary and space changes.

It is known by the name of biogeographic or distribution area to the geographic space in which the distribution of species and subspecies takes place. Within biogeography there is an auxiliary science, a specialty, called chorology, which focuses on the study of the distribution area of ​​living beings.

As can be deduced, this field is of great importance for the development of human knowledge, since we are characterized by the thirst for knowledge about everything that surrounds us. Among the issues that are related to the biogeographic area we can highlight demography, the science in charge of studying human populations and their different properties, as well as the possibilities that different taxa have to survive.

On the other hand, there is conservation biology, the science that, since the 1980’s, has studied the causes of the marked decline in biodiversity in all its layers, ranging from genetics to ecosystems. One of the main objectives of this scientific discipline is to find a way to reduce this loss to a minimum.