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Phylogeography - Why are we here and how did we get here?

Kitt Vollmer

Where do you live? Perhaps your home is near an ocean, or between two mountains. Maybe you live somewhere exotic, such as the Australian Outback! Depending on your geographical location, a rich history of events lead to the landscape you see around you.

Did you ever stop to think about why penguins are typically found in the Antarctic and surrounding South Polar regions? Or why Polar Bears aren't!? How about those brightly coloured leaves you see falling around October and November, ever wonder why some people never get that experience on a yearly basis?  As you may be starting to guess, some pretty fascinating things have occurred all around you (some are still going on!); you might not be aware of it, but phylogeography has been going on since the begining of time.

Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window

Emperor penguins live almost exclusively in the Antarctic, image © 2005 Bryn Jones. The temperate deciduous forests of North America, Asia, and Europe are characterized by brightly colored foliage in the fall, image © 2007 vtveen

Phylogeography is the study and understanding of the relationships found among living things and their location on Earth. It is also used to help investigate geological events and their resulting effect on and distribution of living things.

There should be enough information within this WebQuest for you to meet the goals outlined in the following section under 'Task'. Some of the topics you will be exploring have been listed below. You may find it useful to locate extra educational material that includes these keywords. There will be interactive modules for you to work through and read as you follow along the Process steps of the WebQuest. Links will be provided when necessary.

GEOLOGICAL EVENTS

SPECIFIC ORGANISMS

BIODIVERSITY

PHYLOGEOGRAPHY

Information on the Internet

About This Page

Created as partial course credit for Origins 2FF3: Origins and Evolution of Organisms at McMaster University under Prof. Jon Stone, Associate Director Origins Institute.


McMaster University

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Kitt Vollmer at

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