The Use of Biogeographic Concepts in Science Fiction


Biogeography, the study of the distribution of living organisms and how these distributions are shaped by factors such as geography, climate, and evolution, is an important concept in science fiction. It allows writers to create believable and immersive worlds and explore the consequences of human actions on the natural environment.

In science fiction, biogeography is often used to create alien landscapes and creatures. By understanding the principles of biogeography, writers can imagine new worlds with unique ecosystems and organisms that are adapted to survive in those environments. This not only adds depth and complexity to the story, but also makes the fictional world more realistic.

One famous example of this is in the popular book and film series, “Jurassic Park.” The story centers around a theme park filled with resurrected dinosaurs. Biogeography is used to explain how these long-extinct creatures could live in a modern world. The park is located on an isolated island off the coast of Costa Rica, similar to the isolated islands where many real-life species have evolved in isolation. The dinosaurs are also depicted with adaptations that would allow them to survive in this environment, such as camouflage for the horned dinosaur, and the ability to spit poison for the Dilophosaurus.

Biogeography is also a crucial concept in dystopian science fiction. In these types of stories, the world has been drastically altered by human actions, often resulting in a destroyed ecosystem and a struggle for survival. The use of biogeography allows writers to explore the consequences of these actions and how they impact the natural world.

One example of this is in the book and film “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where resources are scarce and the environment is harsh and unforgiving. The barren desert landscape and the reliance on vehicles for survival are a result of human actions such as overconsumption and pollution, leading to a shift in the Earth’s climate and the collapse of society.

In science fiction, biogeographic concepts can also be used to address real-world environmental issues and potential future scenarios. One prime example of this is in the book and film “Interstellar.” The story takes place in a not-too-distant future where the Earth’s environment has been devastated by overfarming and a blight that has killed off most of the crops. The characters must embark on a journey through space, searching for a new habitable planet for humanity to survive. This concept not only highlights the importance of preserving our planet’s resources, but also explores the possibility of interplanetary colonization as a solution to environmental problems.

Another example is the book and film “Avatar,” where biogeography is used to emphasize the importance of biodiversity and the consequences of destroying natural habitats. The fictional world of Pandora is rich in biodiversity, with unique flora and fauna that are interconnected and dependent on each other for survival. The main conflict in the story arises when humans attempt to mine a rare mineral from beneath the sacred forest of the Na’vi, ultimately destroying their home and way of life.

In conclusion, the use of biogeographic concepts in science fiction allows writers to create rich and immersive worlds, explore the consequences of human actions on the environment, and even address real-world environmental issues. By incorporating these concepts into their stories, writers can engage readers and inspire them to think about the impact of their actions on our planet.