Biogeography and Evolution in New Zealand provides the first in-depth treatment of the biogeography of New Zealand, a region that has been a place of long-enduring interest to ecologists, evolutionary scientists, geographers, geologists, and scientists in related disciplines. It serves as a key addition to the contemporary discussion on regionalization—how is New Zealand different from the rest of the world? With what other areas does it share its geology, history, and biota? Do new molecular phylogenies show that New Zealand may be seen as a biological ‘parallel universe’ within global evolution?
Table of Contents
Analyzing the Spatial Component of Evolution. Analyzing the Timeline of Evolution. New Zealand Geology. An introduction to the New Zealand Biota and its Geography. Biogeography of the Northern New Zealand Offshore Islands. Biogeography of the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands and the Chatham Islands. Biogeography of Mainland New Zealand and Neogene Geology: the Alpine Fault, the Kaikoura Orogeny, and the Pleistocene Glaciation. Case Studies of New Zealand Plants. Some More Case Studies of New Zealand Plants. Case Studies of New Zealand Animals. Structural Evolution and Ecology. Biogeography and Evolution in New Zealand Birds. Biogeography and Evolution in New Zealand Bats. Conclusions.
I believe this to be a significant, and comprehensive, account of the plants and animals of New Zealand. It is replete with distribution maps done in an original style. Heads’s approach to biogeography is notable for its originality, and this manuscript is an especially good example. There is nothing like it. Forty years ago I wrote (and am quoted by Heads): ‘With regard to general problems of biogeography, the biota of New Zealand has been, perhaps, the most important of any in the world. …all notable authorities have felt obliged to explain its history: explain New Zealand and the world falls into place around it.’And so it is with Heads’ manuscript!
—Gareth Nelson, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
The author has made a significant contribution by drawing together information on the New Zealand biota and its relationships from around 2000 primary sources. As a compendium, it has no equal. Although its theoretical content will be challenged, Heads has provided an accessible entrée to the diversity of the New Zealand biota.
-- Richard N. Holdaway, Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, in The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol 93, 2018