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An horizon scan of biogeography

  • Author(s): Dawson, Michael N
  • Algar, Adam C
  • Antonelli, Alexandre
  • Dávalos, Liliana M
  • Davis, Edward
  • Early, Regan
  • Guisan, Antoine
  • Jansson, Roland
  • Lessard, Jean-Philippe
  • Katharine, Marske A.
  • McGuire, Jenny
  • Stigall, Alycia L
  • Swenson, Nathan G
  • Zimmermann, Niklaus
  • Gavin, Daniel G
  • et al.
Abstract

The opportunity to reflect broadly on the accomplishments, prospects, and reach of a field may present itself relatively infrequently. Each biennial meeting of the International Biogeography Society showcases ideas solicited and developed largely during the preceding year, by individuals or teams from across the breadth of the discipline. Here, we highlight challenges, developments, and opportunities in biogeography from that biennial synthesis. We note the realized and potential impact of rapid data accumulation in several fields, a renaissance for inter-disciplinary research, the importance of recognizing the evolution-ecology continuum across spatial and temporal scales and at different taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional levels, and re-exploration of classical assumptions and hypotheses using new tools. However, advances are taxonomically and geographically biased, key theoretical frameworks await tools to handle, or strategies to simplify, the biological complexity seen in empirical systems. Current threats to biodiversity require unprecedented integration of knowledge and development of predictive capacity that may enable biogeography to unite its descriptive and hypothetico-deductive branches and establish a greater role within and outside academia.

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