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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.
Research news | 2018-01-18
New book on the evolution of social innovation and how to make them more transformative
Research news | 2018-01-16
Official aid for oceans and fisheries in developing world drops by 30%
General news | 2018-01-15
Executive director Johan Röckstrom will discuss the "carbon law" and researcher Maja Schlüter will discuss “amplifying feedbacks” that make it more difficult for people to change their behaviour
Research news | 2017-12-29
Why university campuses play a pivotal role in promoting sustainable development
Research news | 2017-12-21
New study looks at whether marine plastic pollution should be considered as a component of chemical pollutants in planetary boundaries framework
Research news | 2017-12-19
Will lead new new Advisory Committee together with Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor of TERI School of Advanced Studies, India