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Global analysis of thermal tolerance and latitude in ectotherms


Sunday, JM and Bates, AE and Dulvy, NK, Global analysis of thermal tolerance and latitude in ectotherms, Proceedings of The Royal Society B, 278, (1713) pp. 1823-1830. ISSN 1471-2954 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 The Royal Society

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.1295


A tenet of macroecology is that physiological processes of organisms are linked to large-scale geographical patterns in environmental conditions. Species at higher latitudes experience greater seasonal temperature variation and are consequently predicted to withstand greater temperature extremes. We tested for relationships between breadths of thermal tolerance in ectothermic animals and the latitude of specimen location using all available data, while accounting for habitat, hemisphere, methodological differences and taxonomic affinity. We found that thermal tolerance breadths generally increase with latitude, but at a greater rate in the Northern Hemisphere. In terrestrial ectotherms, upper thermal limits vary little while lower thermal limits decrease with latitude. By contrast, marine species display a coherent poleward decrease in both upper and lower thermal limits. Our findings provide comprehensive global support for hypotheses generated from studies at smaller taxonomic subsets and geographical scales. Our results further indicate differences between terrestrial and marine ectotherms in how thermal physiology varies with latitude that may relate to the degree of temperature variability experienced on land and in the ocean.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:macroecology; macrophysiology; thermal tolerance breadth; latitude; thermal niche; climate variability hypothesis
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Bates, AE (Dr Amanda Bates)
ID Code:76439
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:765
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2012-03-06
Last Modified:2012-07-03

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