Chapter

Mediterranean Type Ecosystems

Volume 7 of the series Ecological Studies pp 225-277

History of the Mediterranean Ecosystem in California

  • Daniel I. Axelrod

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Abstract

Similar physical environments, acting on organisms of dissimilar origins in different parts of the world, have produced structurally and functionally similar ecosystems. The fossil record provides a reliable basis for understanding how this occurred because all modern ecosystems are the result of the interaction between evolving lineages and changing environments during long spans of geologic time. Since many woody plants similar to those still living have left a fossil record, it is possible to reconstruct the ecosystems they represent, and to discern the development of the modern descendant vegetation which has survived in modified form.