Islands pp 87-102 | Cite as

Prehistoric Extinctions and Ecological Changes on Oceanic Islands

  • H. F. James
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 115)


The body of ecological theory that relates specifically to islands was developed mainly through inference from modern patterns of diversity. Observations of process are limited, because they are usually restricted to the relatively short and recent periods of time covered by most field studies and experiments. Whether the processes that are important in these contexts can be extrapolated to explain biogeographic patterns that have been thousands to millions of years in genesis, is an essential question for which there are few relevant data. In this chapter, I argue that greater reliance on paleontological data would strengthen our understanding of island ecosystems, by linking modern patterns to processes that occur on evolutionary timescales.


Oceanic Island Ecological Change Hawaiian Island Species Turnover Fossil Assemblage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. F. James
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Vertebrate ZoologyNational Museum of Natural HistoryUSA

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