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


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, Abundance and local-scale processes contribute to multi-phyla gradients in global marine diversity, Science Advances, 3, (10) Article e1700419. ISSN 2375-2548 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

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

DOI: doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700419


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 +15N and −15S. 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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Reef Life Survey, marine biodiversity, citizen science
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
UTAS Author:Stuart-Smith, RD (Dr Rick Stuart-Smith)
ID Code:122078
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:46
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-10-30
Last Modified:2018-05-30
Downloads:122 View Download Statistics

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