This chapter discusses the major factors that have shaped Australia's unique biodiversity and how new technologies are revealing some surprises in the evolutionary story.
Since the break-up of Gondwana, Australia’s biodiversity has evolved mostly in isolation from the rest of the world. Today, it occupies a special place in the world’s natural heritage.
Overview of the chapter
From inland deserts to the rocky walls of marine canyons, Australia’s biomes each have a distinctive complement of fauna and flora. For species on land, fire has been a powerful evolutionary force. In the oceans, Australia boasts one of the most diverse arrays of organisms worldwide.
Many of our iconic species illustrate the power of isolation in evolution and modern DNA analysis is revealing ever more surprises about the evolution of Australian biodiversity.
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Leo Joseph, David K. Yeates, Joseph Miller, David Spratt, Daniel Gledhill and Alan Butler
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