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Summary of Features

This large reference volume (Reduced A4: 275 x 210 mm, 942 pp.) provides a comprehensive overview of the knowledge of vertebrate diversity within Australasia, together with discussion of the factors that influenced the evolution and distributions of the faunas we see today. By considering the major forces shaping the extant vertebrate assemblages, using new techniques and strategies, we can formulate ideas about how to best conserve and manage these dynamic vertebrate groups as well as the ecosystem complexes on which they depend.

The 38 chapters are divided into 7 major sections. The first group of chapters covers the general topics of classification and evolution, together with geologic and climatic processes influencing environments and biogeography of parts of Australasia. Then follow 5 sections that each concentrate on a major vertebrate grouping, from primitive jawless fishes to specialized marine mammals and humans. The final section focuses on the future, describing some of the latest techniques and systems used for assessing biodiversity and assisting in conservation management.

Each chapter is fully sourced and illustrated with line diagrams, as well as other figures next to the relevant text. Attempts have been made to maintain a clear, informal style for readers without specialized knowledge and a humorous or irreverent essence when appropriate. The 136 colour plates are distributed throughout the book as close to the related chapters as possible. A general combined Index is at the back.
Over 50 leading researchers, from all parts of Australasia and elsewhere, have combined as authors and coauthors to make this a ground-breaking volume of international significance. This resource book follows in the tradition of Vertebrate Zoogeography & Evolution in Australasia (edited by Archer and Clayton) released in 1984.

This new title is a natural development providing a balanced updated coverage of the field. It is hoped this book will: increase awareness of the unique Australasian vertebrate faunas; emphasize the importance of Australasian environments and the associated biodiversity; provide background for decisions that limit biodiversity loss in the region—against the trend in the current world-wide extinction crisis.

ISBN: 0 9757790 1 X (HB) and 0 9757790 0 1 (PB)

Casebound $AUD 230.00 (incl. GST) plus postage
Paperback $AUD 170.00 (incl. GST) plus postage

Abbreviated Table of Contents

Perspectives (Merrick, J., Archer, M., Hickey, G. and Lee, M.)

1. Systematics and the Australasian vertebrate fauna (Lee, M.)
2. Environments of the geological past (White, M.)
3. Evolution of arid Australia and consequences for vertebrates (Dawson, T. & Dawson, L.)
4. The Torresian connections: zoogeography of New Guinea (Heinsohn, T. & Hope, G.)
5. Drawing the Wallace Line (van Oosterzee, P.)
6. Evolution of New Zealand and its vertebrates (Holdaway, R. & Worthy, T.)

Primitive Vertebrates: Fish

7. Eons of fishy fossils (Basden, A., Trinajstic, K. & Merrick, J.)
8. The great devonian fish kill at Canowindra (Ritchie, A.)
9. Marine fishes of Australia: zoogeography and conservation (Paxton, J., Allen, G. & Hoese, D.)
10. Australasian freshwater fish faunas: diversity, interrelationships, radiations & conservation (Merrick, J.)

Primitive Tetrapods: Amphibians
11. Origins and early radiations of the amphibians (Warren, A.)
12. The origins of Australian frogs (Tyler, M. & Lee, M.)
13. The great frog decline in Australasia: causes, developments and conservation (Richards, S., Alford, R.
& Bradfield, K.)
14. Keys to families and genera of frogs in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and neighbouring islands (White, A.)

Primitive Amniotes: Reptiles
15. Dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles of Australasia (Scanlon, J.)
16. Evolution and zoogeography of Australasian freshwater turtles (Georges, A. & Thomson, S.)
17. Origins and radiations of snakes in Australasia (Scanlon, J.)
18. Evolution and zoogeography of Australasian crocodilians (Willis, P.)
19. Australian lizards – relationships and origins (Hutchinson, M. & Smith, S.)
20.The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification (Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A.)

21. The avian fossil record of Australia; an overview (Boles, W.)
22. Australasia’s bird fauna today – origins and evolutionary development (Schodde, R.)
23. Island Biogeography: as illustrated by birds in the Australasian region (Ford, H.)
24. Keys to the families of Australasian birds (Boles, W.)

25. Origins of mammals: morphology, molecules and a petrosal or two (Johanson, Z.)
26. Furry egg-layers: monotreme relationships and radiations (Musser, A.)
27. Origins and early radiations of marsupials (Wroe, S. & Archer, M.)
28. The Australian marsupial radiation (Archer, M. & Hand, S.)
29. Kangaroos (Cooke, B.)
30. Bat beginnings and biogeography: the Australasian record (Hand, S.)
31. Ten million years of rodent evolution in Australasia: phylogenetic evidence and a speculative historical biogeography (Aplin, K.)
32. The Australian dingo (Corbett, L.)
33. A southern perspective on cetacean evolution and zoogeography (Fordyce, E.)
34. Humans among primates (Groves, C.)
35. Combined keys to extant Australian Australasian mammals (McKay, G.)

Accelerated Change – the regional future
36. Molecular systematics: implications for phylogeny, biogeography and conservation (Colgan, D. & O’Meally, D.)
37. The role of GIS in systematic conservation planning (Flemons, P. & Cassis, G.)
38. Determining marine movements of Australasian pinnipeds (Bradshaw, C., Hindell, M., Littnan, C. & Harcourt, R.)