Museum, University of Nebraska State


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Published in Island bats: Evolution, ecology, and conservation (Theodore H. Fleming and Paul A. Racey, eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010; pp. 216-264. Copyright 2010 University of Chicago Press. Used by permission.


Understanding the geographic and environmental characteristics of islands that affect aspects of biodiversity is a major theme in ecology (Begon et al. 2006; Krebs 2001) and biogeography (Cox and Moore 2000; Drakare et al. 2006; Lomolino et al. 2006). Such understanding has become particularly relevant over the past century because human activities on continents have fragmented natural landscapes, often creating islands of isolated habitat dispersed within a sea of land uses that include agriculture, forestry, and various degrees of urban and suburban development. The increasingly fragmented or islandlike structure of mainland habitats has critical ramifications to conservation biology, as it provides insights regarding the mechanisms leading to species persistence and loss. Consequently, the study of patterns and mechanisms associated with island biodiversity is of interest in its own right (Whittaker 1998; Williamson 1981), and may provide critical insights into mainland phenomena that otherwise could not be studied because of ethical, financial, or logistical considerations involved with the execution of large-scale manipulative experiments.

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