An update of Wallace's zoogeographic map – University of Copenhagen

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07 January 2013

An update of Wallace's zoogeographic map

Published in Science in January 2013, “An Update of Wallace’s Zoogeographic Regions of the World” by Ben Holt, Jean-Philippe Lessard, Carsten Rahbek and 12 other CMEC researchers, provides a long overdue update to one of the most fundamental maps of global biodiversity.

It is the first study to combine phylogenetic and geographical information for all known mammals, birds and amphibians, a total of over 20,000 species. It is of major significance for future biodiversity research.

The first attempt to describe the natural world in an evolutionary context was made in 1876 by Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection, along with Charles Darwin.  The new version, produced by CMEC, analyses data collected over the last 20 years on the distribution and evolutionary relationships for every individual species within these three major vertebrate groups, to produce a “next generation” map of life on Earth.  The new map can be split into finer geographical details for each class of animals. It is made freely available to contribute to a wide range of biological sciences, as well as conservation planning and management of biodiversity.

Ben G. Holt,  Jean-Philippe Lessard,  Michael K. Borregaard,  Susanne A. Fritz,  Miguel B. Araújo, Dimitar Dimitrov,  Pierre-Henri Fabre,  Catherine H. Graham,  Gary R. Graves, Knud A. Jønsson, David Nogués-Bravo,  Zhiheng Wang,  Robert J. Whittaker,  Jon Fjeldså, and Carsten Rahbek (2013), An Update of Wallace’s Zoogeographic Regions of the World. Science 339 (6115), p74-78, published online 20 December 2012 (10.1126/science.1228282).