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Oceanic Islands, Endemism, and Marine Paleotemperatures

John C. Briggs
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 15, No. 2 (Jun., 1966), pp. 153-163
DOI: 10.2307/2411634
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411634
Page Count: 11
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Oceanic Islands, Endemism, and Marine Paleotemperatures
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Abstract

Available data on the marine shore faunas of the old (apparently Pliocene or earlier) and well isolated oceanic islands (300 miles or more from nearest land) reveal a very interesting pattern of endemism. The endemic rate is very low in the north and middle Atlantic, markedly greater in the south Atlantic and Pacific, and exceedingly high in the Sub-Antarctic waters. It is suggested that this peculiar pattern of endemism may be correlated with the extent of the drop in sea surface temperature that occurred during the Pleistocene glaciations. Contrary to most of the literature on the subject, it seems that the effect of the ice ages on ocean temperature may have been quite different in various parts of the world. The islands that demonstrate the least amount of endemism were probably exposed to the greatest decline in surface temperature.

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