Biogeography of Southeast Asia and the West Pacific
The biogeography of Southeast Asia and the West Pacific is complicated by the fact that these are regions on the border of two palaeocontinents that have been separated for a considerable period of time. Thus, apart from any patterns of vicariance, two general patterns relating to dispersal can be expected: a pattern of Southeast Asian elements, perhaps of Laurasian origin, expanding into Australian areas, and a reverse pattern for Australian elements, perhaps of Gondwanan origin. On top of this, both Australian and Southeast Asian elements occur in the Pacific. They dispersed there as the Pacific plate moved westward, bringing the different islands within reach of Southeast Asia and Australia. In order to reconstruct the biotic history of these areas, two large data sets consisting of both plants and animals were generated, one for each pattern, which were analysed using cladistic methods. The general patterns that emerged were weakly supported and do not allow general conclusions.