Get access

Phylogeography: retrospect and prospect


*John C. Avise, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA. E-mail:


Phylogeography has grown explosively in the two decades since the word was coined and the discipline was outlined in 1987. Here I summarize the many achievements and novel perspectives that phylogeography has brought to population genetics, phylogenetic biology and biogeography. I also address future directions for the field. From the introduction of mitochondrial DNA assays in the late 1970s, to the key distinction between gene trees and species phylogenies, to the ongoing era of multi-locus coalescent theory, phylogeographic perspectives have consistently challenged conventional genetic and evolutionary paradigms, and they have forged empirical and conceptual bridges between the formerly separate disciplines of population genetics (microevolutionary analysis) and phylogenetic biology (in macroevolution).