Biome: evolution of a crucial ecological and biogeographical concept

Ladislav Mucina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

23 Citations (Scopus)


A biome is a key community ecological and biogeographical concept and, as such, has profited from the overall progress of community ecology, punctuated by two major innovations: shifting the focus from pure pattern description to understanding functionality, and changing the approach from observational to explanatory and, most importantly, from descriptive to predictive. The functional focus enabled development of mechanistic and function-focused predictive and retrodictive modelling; it also shaped the current understanding of the concept of a biome as a dynamic biological entity having many aspects, with deep roots in the evolutionary past, and which is undergoing change. The evolution of the biome concept was punctuated by three synthetic steps: the first synthesis formulated a solid body of theory explaining the ecological and biogeographical meaning of zonality and collated our knowledge on drivers of vegetation patterns at large spatial scales; the second translated this knowledge into effective mechanistic modelling tools, developing further the link between ecosystem functionality and biogeography; and the third (still in progress) is seeking common ground between large-scale ecological and biogeographic phenomena, using macroecology and macroevolutionary research tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-114
Number of pages18
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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