Plant and Animal Endemism in California by Susan Harrison

By Susan Harrison

California is globally popular for its organic variety, together with its wealth of distinct, or endemic, species. Many purposes were stated to provide an explanation for this abundance: the advanced geology and topography of its panorama, the specific powers of its Mediterranean-type weather, and the old and glossy boundaries to the broader dispersal of its wildlife. Plant and Animal Endemism in California compiles and synthesizes a wealth of information in this singular topic, offering new and up-to-date lists of local species, evaluating styles and reasons of either plant and animal endemism, and interrogating the vintage reasons proposed for the state’s precise importance in mild of recent molecular facts. Susan Harrison additionally deals a precis of the leading edge instruments which have been built and utilized in California to preserve and shield this attractive and imperiled range

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Plant and Animal Endemism in California

California is globally well known for its organic range, together with its wealth of certain, or endemic, species. Many purposes were pointed out to provide an explanation for this abundance: the complicated geology and topography of its panorama, the distinctive powers of its Mediterranean-type weather, and the ancient and glossy limitations to the broader dispersal of its natural world.

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Berberidifolia, were noted to have close relatives in the Mediterranean Basin; Raven and Axelrod termed these taxa “Madrean-Tethyan” after the ancient Tethys Sea that separated Laurasia from Gondwana. By the Miocene, the rich subtropical semiarid Madro-Tertiary (or Madrean) flora dominated interior Southern California. Besides the above taxa, it included Palmae, Lyonothamnus, Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos, Heteromeles, and Rhus. Continued drying in the Pliocene caused Madrean chaparral to expand farther into the Sierra foothills and coastal California and to lose some of its more tropical elements such as Acacia sensu lato.

The mediterranean regions of the world are unusual in being rich in plant endemism, yet not as obviously rich in animal endemism, whereas other global hotspots (nearly all of which are tropical) do not show this disparity. Endemics arise through the shrinkage of widespread geographic ranges (paleoendemism) and the evolution of new species (neoendemism). Pathways to neoendemism include allopatric divergence, ecological speciation, peripheral isolate formation, and hybridization, all of which are well known in the Californian flora.

The cycles of cool/ moist to warm/dry climates since the Pliocene triggered outbursts of speciation, mostly among the southerly Madro-Tertiary component of the flora, leading to especially high neoendemism within the fully mediterranean climates where the modern vegetation is chaparral. Raven and Axelrod’s (1978) account is remarkable for its attention to detail. Their sweeping historical analysis is complemented by attention to the numbers of species belonging to each geographic region, life form, and biogeographic origin.

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