Biogeography is a geographic discipline that deals with geographical study of the biosphere, respectively distribution, description and explanation of vegetable and animal organisms on Earth’s surface and, in particular, ecological communities and habitats (ie ecosystems). It includes basic branches: phytogeographiy (plant geography) and zoogeography (animal geography), plus: ecology, which studies the relationships of living beings with the environment, and chorology, delineating areas of distribution of plant and animal taxonomy units or the biosphere.
Biogeography is also a branch of biology that deals with the analysis of the spatial distribution of biodiversity, both the present and the past.
Biogeography is a comparative and deductive science, being closely linked by geography, ecology, botany and zoology. In biogeography experiments can not be performed, as temporal and spatial scales are too large for experiences.
In biogeography are three fundamental processes:
Evolution – ie permanent genetic change in a population;
Extinction – ie disappearance of populations of given territory;
Dispersion – movement of a group of organisms that is the starting place.
Since ancient times, scholars like Aristotle and Theophrastus were observed and recorded in their books the influence of climatic, soil and geomorphological elements on the distribution of vegetation.
The locations of plant taxa
First data about and plant taxa locations dating from the fourteenth century. Thus Otto Brunfels, 1530; Hieronymus Bock-Tragus, 1539; Leonardus Fuchs, 1542; Peter Andreas Matthiolus 1544; Rembertus Dodonaeus, 1583, included this problem in their work.
Knowledge of geobotany nature
Start of expeditions in the Alps allowed the observation of vegetation zonality with increasing altitude (Conrad Gesner (1516 1565)].
Term of plant geography
The first that used this term was C. Mentzel (1622 1701).
Comparative studies of flora
The first conducting such studies for various geographic regions and stockings floors of vegetation was J. P. de Tournefort (1656 – 1708). He compared the Alps and Pyrenees vegetation and other regions of France with those of Asia Minor.
Branches of biogeography