Biogeography and large lakes:

more coming soon. In the meantime: an old presentation abstract and a few links...

Some Aspects of the Biogeography of Islands in Large Lakes.
Robert J. Liebermann, Department of Geography, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008.

read at
West Lakes/East Lakes Association of American Geographers Meeting, October 24, 1996, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana

The majority of island biogeography studies deal with oceanic islands. An interesting variety of islands that have been given less attention, however, are those in large inland lakes. Observations during my field research as well as previous studies show some excellent examples of the unique traits of large lake island biogeography. Particularly intriguing are the islands of large lakes of temperate areas, such as the Great Lakes of North America or Russia's Lake Baikal, where interactions of atmosphere over land and water are most influential on localized climate and, therefore, biology. Here changing air temperatures are moderated by the thermal lag and physical properties of water to produce a limnoclimate which is neither fully continental nor oceanic. The resulting climatic parameters on such islands frequently mimic those of other regions, such as those further north, south, or in different precipitation areas, and it is limnoclimatic conditions that are among the most deterministic elements of lake island biogeography. Other principles involved in large lake island biogeography are also discrete from those of oceanic islands, such as the biogeographical significance of having a mainland much closer-often connected by ice during winter-than those of oceans. In addition, lake islands share some "typical" characteristics with those of oceanic islands, such as fewer taxa per area, higher rates of endimism, and unique balances of ecology related to isolation and limited genetic diversity.

Island Biogeography


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Robert Liebermann
December 1999