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The concept of microrefugia is widely accepted to explain the post-glacial colonization of continents, which led to the present-day biotic configuration of the Earth. However, so far, microrefugia are no more than a ‘theoretical necessity’ without an appropriate biogeographical and ecological characterization. Here, a tentative definition and a classification of microrefugia, based on the existing literature, are proposed for discussion. A deeper biogeographical analysis of the concept is suggested using novel ecological models and methods, in order to develop new hypotheses to be tested with palaeoecological and molecular phylogenetic tools.
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Keywords: Climate change; Pleistocene; colonization; glacial; interglacial; microhabitat; persistence; refugia

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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