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© 2011 Museum of Southwestern Biology. All rights reserved.

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Including human beings, 82 mammal species, representing 63 genera, 28 families, and 8 orders occur or have recently occurred in Southeast Alaska. They comprise 116 subspecies and monotypic species. Twenty-seven of these taxa are essentially endemic to the region. Carnivores and rodents, with 22 and 21 extant species respectively, comprise the most speciose groups, followed closely by whales with 20 species.

 

Seventy-six species are native and extant. Four extant species are not native (exotic) to the region.

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Endemism means that an organism (e.g., species) is  restricted to a particular geographic location, such as a specific island, habitat type,  or other defined zone. To be endemic to an area means that it is found  nowhere else. For example, a unique form (subspecies) of spruce grouse is endemic to the Prince of Wales complex of islands in Southeast Alaska. Physical, climatic and biological factors can contribute to endemism.

 

Endemic organisms are not the same as indigenous organisms — a species that is indigenous to somewhere may be native to other locations as well. An introduced species, also known as a naturalized or exotic species, is an organism that is not indigenous to a given place or area.

 

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Island biogeography is essentially the study of the distribution and dynamics of insular species. It provides a theoretical and operational foundation for the design of research and management plans for wildlife in Southeast Alaska. Such plans in this highly insular region still have not tuned in to the special attributes of island life. To date, the vast Alexander Archipelago has played a limited role in the evolutionary, ecological, and conservation biology literature, although this system is one of the largest temperate archipelagos worldwide with 7 of the 15 largest US islands. The region could become a model system for testing fundamental hypotheses related to environmental change.

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Small Mammal Checklist...

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Who’s on What island? (PDF 408 KB) ...

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Mammals and Amphibians of Southeast Alaska (PDF 4.73 MB)...

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