The origin of echinoderms from Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean is analysed through a novel application of multivariate statistics. Ordinations are produced from a combination of species distribution, bathymetric, habitat and life history data in order to assess patterns of migration. The analyses distinguish groups of species derived from the Kerguelen Plateau, New Zealand and eastern Antarctica. These groups correlate with attributes expected for epiplanktonic dispersal and range expansion along the North and South Macquarie Ridges respectively. There is no convincing evidence for long-distance pelagic dispersal, migration from the abyssal plain or for human translocation of species. The results indicate that taxonomic groups differ in their ability to disperse, and emphasize the importance of depth in biogeographical analyses. Dispersal by range expansion appears to have been more significant than epiplanktonic dispersal and vicariant rather than long-distance dispersal mechanisms are the preferred explanation for some disjunct distribution patterns.
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