Human activity is altering the world’s zoogeographical regions

Journal: Ecology Letters

Published: 2019-06-12

DOI: 10.1111/ele.13321

Affiliations: 10

Authors: 8

Go to article

Research Highlight

Humans are redrawing biodiversity map

© John Downer/Getty

© John Downer/Getty

Global wildlife maps are being redrawn due to people introducing species into areas outside their natural range.

Zooregions are geographical zones delineated by the animals that thrive there thanks to conditions created over millions of years of ecological and evolutionary processes.

These zones are now changing on a human time scale, a team led by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council has shown.

They used global data on species distributions to map zooregions, firstly with native species alone and then including invasive species.

The team found that these, sometimes accidental, additions are altering wildlife zones around the world. For example, black rats that stowed away on ships from Asia helped blur the lines between African and Eurasian mammal zooregions.

Understanding how human activity affects wildlife zones could help conservationists identify and protect unique pockets of biodiversity.

Supported content

  1. Ecology Letters 22, 1297–1305 (2019). doi: 10.1111/ele.13321
Institutions Share
Doñana Biological Station (EBD), CSIC, Spain 0.44
Umeå University (UMU), Sweden 0.19
University of Reading, United Kingdom (UK) 0.13
University of Gothenburg (GU), Sweden 0.08
Institute of Nature Conservation, PAS, Poland 0.06
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom (UK) 0.04
University of Alcalá (UAH), Spain 0.03
National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN), CSIC, Spain 0.03