Biogeography of the Oceans

Claudia Halsband, Shane Ahyong, Angelika Brandt, Ksenia Kosobokova, Peter Ward, William Goodall-Copestake, Enrique Macpherson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter summarizes global patterns and mechanisms of both ecological and historical crustacean biogeography resulting in the contemporary species distributions described over the past decades. In the pelagic realm, hydrographic features such as ocean currents, physical depth profiles, and latitudinal temperature gradients are major structuring elements, as well as selection pressure exerted by the environment and species interactions, which have resulted in speciation over evolutionary time. Benthic crustacean distributions are additionally constrained longitudinally by continental barriers and submarine features such as ridges and seamounts. The main biogeographic patterns of both benthic and pelagic crustaceans are described for all ocean basins and the polar regions, of which the Indian Ocean is the least well studied. The Copepoda and Decapoda are generally represented with the highest number of described species, followed by Amphipoda and Isopoda. Life cycles with pelagic larvae (eg, decapods and stomatopods) increase dispersal and enable wide distributions, while a lack of dispersive larvae promotes endemism in benthic forms (eg, amphipods). Restricted regions with high species richness and endemism, such as the “coral triangle”(the Indo-Australian Archipelago), the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean, represent important biodiversity hotspots. Endemics are also suitable markers for past earth history events. Only a few studies cover the biogeography of crustacean taxa in all of the world’s oceans, but a few exceptions exist for decapods, amphipods, and isopods. Although the world’s oceans have been reasonably well studied for crustacean distribution and diversity, species complexes and cryptic species lacking morphological diagnostic features leave us with a large number of unconsolidated taxa. Emerging molecular tools may be able to assist with refinement of nomenclature and hence increase the resolution of crustacean biogeography in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Natural History of the Crustacea
Subtitle of host publicationEvolution and Biogeography of the Crustacea
EditorsMartin Thiel, Gary Poore
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)9780190637842
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Biogeography of the Oceans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this