Coral Reef biogeography

Hotspots of high species diversity are a prominent feature of modern global biodiversity patterns. Coral reefs in particular exhibit highly congruent patterns of biodiversity, with a prominent hotspot in the Indo-Australian Archipelago. However, over the past 50 million years there have been at least three global marine biodiversity hotspots, which have moved across almost half the globe. During this time tectonic events have shaped the modern world leading to the formation of modern day biogeographic realms. By combining data from fossils, molecular studies and modern day species distributions it allows our lab to examine the origins and change in coral reef organisms through time.  

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Featured articles

Bellwood, D. R., Hughes, T. P. (2001). Regional-scale assembly rules and biodiversity of coral reefs. Science, 292(5521), 1532-1535.


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Cowman, P. F., Bellwood, D. R. (2013). The historical biogeography of coral reef fishes: global patterns of origination and dispersal. Journal of Biogeography40(2), 209-224.


Bellwood, D. R., Meyer, C. P., (2009). Searching for heat in a marine biodiversity hotspot. Journal of Biogeography, 36(4), 569-576.