Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (8): 1134-1145.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020476

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Research progress on the geographical isolation of terrestrial mammals

Lu Liu1, Yao Chi1, Zhaoning Wu1, Tianlu Qian1, Jiechen Wang1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Key Laboratory for Land Satellite Remote Sensing Applications of Ministry of Natural Resources, School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023
    2 Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023
  • Received:2020-12-24 Accepted:2021-06-21 Online:2021-08-20 Published:2021-08-06
  • Contact: Jiechen Wang


Background & Aim: Geographical isolation is one of the main factors that drives the formation of species distribution patterns. This paper reviews the research done in recent decades on the effects of geographical isolation on the spatial distribution of terrestrial mammals, and explores the influence of different factors on the species distribution. Progresses: Both natural factors (e.g., mountain ranges, bodies of water, deserts, extreme environments, and climate change) and human factors (e.g., landscape structure changes, transportation facilities, and construction) can affect the distribution of terrestrial mammals. Natural factors usually play a role in the long-term evolution of terrestrial mammals. However, in recent centuries or even decades, species distribution characteristics have significantly changed due to human impacts. The effect of geographical isolation on terrestrial mammals is common in nature, and is a dynamic change where the scale effects vary for different kinds of geographical isolation. Regardless, mammals have responded to these forms of geographical isolation at individual and population levels. While human activities have greater impacts on the spatial distribution pattern of terrestrial mammals, efforts have been made to improve the living conditions of wildlife.Prospects: We propose the following suggestions for future research: (1) a deeper study on the contribution of geographical isolation to zoogeographical boundary formation; (2) a deeper study on the effects of geographical isolation on the genetic and adaptive mechanisms of species at the micro scale through the use molecular biology and various omics techniques; (3) learning from research done on other animal groups in an effort to strengthen the tracking and monitoring of terrestrial mammals in China; (4) a better analysis on the evolutionary history of animal distribution by combining zoogeography with data science.

Key words: terrestrial mammals, geographical isolation, spatial distribution, human activities