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Abundance and local-scale processes contribute to multi-phyla gradients in global marine diversity


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Edgar, GJ ORCID: 0000-0003-0833-9001, Alexander, TJ, Lefcheck, JS, Bates, AE, Kininmonth, SJ, Thomson, RJ, Duffy, JE, Costello, MJ and Stuart-Smith, RD ORCID: 0000-0002-8874-0083 2017 , 'Abundance and local-scale processes contribute to multi-phyla gradients in global marine diversity' , Science Advances, vol. 3, no. 10 , pp. 1-13 , doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700419.

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Among the most enduring ecological challenges is an integrated theory explaining the latitudinal biodiversity gradient, including discrepancies observed at different spatial scales. Analysis of Reef Life Survey data for 4127 marine species at 2406 coral and rocky sites worldwide confirms that the total ecoregion richness peaks in low latitudes, near +15°N and −15°S. However, although richness at survey sites is maximal near the equator for vertebrates, it peaks at high latitudes for large mobile invertebrates. Site richness for different groups is dependent on abundance, which is in turn correlated with temperature for fishes and nutrients for macroinvertebrates. We suggest that temperature-mediated fish predation and herbivory have constrained mobile macroinvertebrate diversity at the site scale across the tropics. Conversely, at the ecoregion scale, richness responds positively to coral reef area, highlighting potentially huge global biodiversity losses with coral decline. Improved conservation outcomes require management frameworks, informed by hierarchical monitoring, that cover differing site- and regional-scale processes across diverse taxa, including attention to invertebrate species, which appear disproportionately threatened by warming seas.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Edgar, GJ and Alexander, TJ and Lefcheck, JS and Bates, AE and Kininmonth, SJ and Thomson, RJ and Duffy, JE and Costello, MJ and Stuart-Smith, RD
Keywords: Reef Life Survey, marine biodiversity, citizen science
Journal or Publication Title: Science Advances
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (A A A S)
ISSN: 2375-2548
DOI / ID Number: 10.1126/sciadv.1700419
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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