The Birds of Northern Melanesia: Speciation, Ecology, and Biogeography

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $41.23
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 45%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $41.23   
  • New (1) from $62.00   
  • Used (4) from $41.23   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Hardcover New 0195141709.

Ships from: Cambridge, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Speciation is the process by which co-existing daughter species evolve from one ancestral species - e.g., humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas arising from a common ancestor around 5,000,000 years ago. However, many questions about speciation remain controversial. The Birds of Northern Melanesia provides by far the most comprehensive study yet available of a rich fauna, composed of the 195 breeding land and fresh-water bird species of the Bismarck and Solomon Archipelagoes east of New Guinea. This avifauna offers decisive advantages for understanding speciation, and includes famous examples of geographic variation discussed in textbooks of evolutionary biology.
The book results from 30 years of collaboration between the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr and the ecologist Jared Diamond. It shows how Northern Melanesian bird distributions provide snapshots of all stages in speciation, from the earliest (widely distributed species without geographic variation) to the last (closely related, reproductively isolated species occurring sympatrically and segregating ecologically). The presentation emphasizes the wide diversity of speciation outcomes, steering a middle course between one-model-fits-all simplification and ungeneralizable species accounts. Questions illuminated include why some species are much more prone to speciate than others, why some water barriers are much more effective at promoting speciation than others, and whether hypothesized taxon cycles, faunal dominance, and legacies of Pleistocene land bridges are real.
These years of study have resulted in a huge database, complete with distributions of all 195 species on 76 islands, together with their taxonomy, colonization routes, ecological attributes, abundance, and overwater dispersal. Color plates depict 88 species and allospecies, many of which have never been seen before. For students of speciation, Northern Melanesian birds now constitute a model system against which other biotas can be compared. For population biologists interested in other problems besides speciation, this rich database can now be mined for insights.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Clearly, The Birds of Northern Melanesia represents a labor of love by the authors, who sink their teeth into a rich subject. In doing so, they follow the analytic approach that they have previously shown to be so productive." — Bruce M. Beehler, Science

"Summarizing data from hundreds of biologists working in Northern Melanesia for more than a century, the authors completely revise the taxonomy of the region's birds, and include no fewer than 128 pages of tables, maps and appendices. Their book constitutes a compendium and analysis of data on the degree of taxonomic distinction of every species and every island population, their ecological and biogeographic attributes, and the sources of the colonists."—Nature

"In this landmark book, two of the world's most distinguished biologists shine a spotlight on one of the most fascinating aspects of evolution. ... no one is better qualified than the two authors to address this subject area. ... Their detailed data set makes this book of huge importance to ecologists, biogeographers and population biologists, as well as those studying speculation."—New Scientist

"This book may come to be regarded as the single most important publication on evolutionary biology since Darwin's (1859) momentous treatise On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Two of the most powerful intellects in zoology today, Mayr and Diamond, have collaborated to produce an exceptional book of far-reaching importance. This work greatly extends our understanding of the processes of avian biogeography and evolution. Here at last we have a holistic study of an entire avian community that provides a template for hall future studies. Furthermore, it underscores the value of faunistic studies, which unfortunately have become increasingly unfashionable. ... Both Mayr and Diamond have an unrivalled experience of Melanesian birds, both in the field and museum. Consequently, this is not just a theoretical book written from the safety of the laboratory or armchair. These guys really know their subject."—K.David Bishop, Standford University and Kincumber, NSW

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195141702
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Pages: 548
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Harvard University

UCLA Medical Center

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Origins and Acknowledgements
Part 1. Northern Melanesia's Physical and Biological Environment
1. Geology and geological history
2. Climate
3. Habitats and vegetation
4. Terrestrial vertebrates other than birds
Part 2. Human History and Impacts
5. Human history
6. Ornithological exploration of Northern Melanesia
7. Exterminations of bird populations
Part 3. The Northern Melanesia Avifauna
8. Family composition
9. Determinants of island species number
10. Level of endemism, habitat preference, and abundance of each species
11. Overwater dispersal ability of each species
12. Distributional ecology
Part 4. Colonization Routes
13. Proximate origins of Northern Melanesian populations
14. Upstream colonization and faunal dominance
15. Ultimate origins of Northern Melanesian populations
Part 5. Taxonomic Analysis: Differences among Species
16. The problem of speciation
17. Stages of geographic speciation among the birds of Northern Melanesia
18. Absence of geographic variation
19. Geographic variation: subspecies
20. Geographic variation: megasubspecies
21. Geographic variation: allospecies
22. Complete speciation
23. Hybridization
24. Endemic species and genera
Part 6. Geographical Analysis: Differences among Islands
25. Endemism index
26. Pair-wise differentiation index
27. Pair-wise non-sharing indices: differences in island species compositions
28. The establishment of geographic isolates
29. Inter-archipelagal barriers
30. Barriers within the Bismarcks
31. Barriers within the Solomons
32. Speciation on fragmented Solomon islands
33. Differential extinction and species occurrences on fragmented Pleistocene islands
Part 7. Synthesis, Conclusions, and Prospects
34. Conclusions about speciation
35. Species differences: taxon cycles, and the evolution of dispersal
36. Promising directions for future research

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)