2010, pp 189-197
Date: 04 Nov 2009

Review Refugial Areas and Postglacial Colonizations in the Western Palearctic

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Introduction

Past climatic oscillations, such as the glacial-interglacial cycles of the Pleistocene (Williams et al. 1998) led to severe worldwide altitudinal and latitudinal range shifts of taxa and ecosystems (Hewitt 2004). For a reconstruction of the glacial and postglacial history of species, data obtained from methods ranging from evolutionary genetics to the analysis of distribution patterns and studies of pollen and subfossil remains of invertebrates and vertebrates are essential (de Lattin 1967; Coope 1970, 1978, 1994; Varga 1977; Huntley and Birks 1983; Taberlet et al. 1998; Willis et al. 1995; Hewitt 1999, 2000; Willis and van Andel 2004; Schmitt 2007; Varga and Schmitt 2008). The synthesis of all these analyses reveals the existence of different paradigm patterns in the Western Palearctic. In the following, we give a brief overview of these patterns.