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Macroecology: new, or biogeography revisited?

Naturevolume 417page787 (2002) | Download Citation



According to his News and Views report1 of a recent symposium, Sean Nee and the British Ecological Society believe that macroecology is an infant discipline, a child of the conjunction of ecology and evolution. Yet the scope of macroecology is largely contained within the relatively old discipline of biogeography, which dates back at least to Alexander von Humboldt in the early nineteenth century. Some of the symposium's participants have written books about biogeography (see, for example, refs 2, 3). As Nee states, the difference between ecology and macroecology is largely a matter of scale, both in time and space. The bigger picture is, effectively, biogeography.


  1. 1

    Nee, S. Nature 417, 229–230 (2002).

  2. 2

    Brown, J. H. and Lomolino, M. V. Biogeography 2nd ed. (Sinauer, Sunderland, Massachusetts, 1998).

  3. 3

    Whittaker, R. J. Island Biogeography (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1998).

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  1. Department of Geography, Avondale College, Cooranbong, 2265, New South Wales, Australia

    • Howard J. Fisher


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