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Plant Evolution in the Mediterranean$
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John D. Thompson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198515340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515340.001.0001

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The historical context of differentiation and diversity

The historical context of differentiation and diversity

Chapter:
(p.10) Chapter 1 The historical context of differentiation and diversity
Source:
Plant Evolution in the Mediterranean
Author(s):

John D. Thompson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515340.003.0002

This chapter provides a detailed account of the three main features of Mediterranean history that have modulated ecological and evolutionary processes acting on plant biodiversity in the region: geology, climate, and human activities. A complex geological history, which has shaped land connections across the Mediterranean region, and the development of the characteristic summer-dry climate have greatly impacted on species distributions, isolating populations and bringing into reproductive contact previously isolated taxa. The long history of human activities has modified selection pressures and fragmented habitats, and thus the potential for dispersal across the landscape. These three factors have greatly influenced the diversity and unity of the Mediterranean flora. This chapter describes important regions of plant diversification, and underlines why it is important to consider regional history for the understanding of plant evolution.

Keywords:   regional history, human activities, Mediterranean climate, geological history, endemism, landscape change

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