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  1. Scott J Henderson,
  2. Robert J Whittaker

Published Online: 26 MAR 2003

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0003234



How to Cite

Henderson, S. J. and Whittaker, R. J. 2003. Islands. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2003


Islands are simplified ecosystems that provide natural scientists with multiple, discrete units to study and upon which to base more general biogeographical, ecological and evolutionary theory. Island biogeographical theory has provided a framework for estimating species losses and to guide conservation management as continental landscapes become increasingly fragmented into ‘habitat islands’.


  • adaptive radiation;
  • biogeography;
  • ecological assembly;
  • equilibrium theory;
  • taxon cycle