Indo-Pacific biodiversity of coral Rreefs: deviations from a mid-domain model

Connolly, Sean R., Bellwood, David R., and Hughes, Terence P. (2003) Indo-Pacific biodiversity of coral Rreefs: deviations from a mid-domain model. Ecology, 84 (8). pp. 2178-2190.

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Abstract

Understanding the nature and causes of global gradients in species richness is a perennial ecological problem, and recent work has highlighted the need to assess these gradients relative to an appropriate statistical expectation. This paper examines latitudinal and longitudinal gradients in species richnesses of corals and reef fishes in the Indo-Pacific domain and compares them with gradients predicted by a mid-domain model in which geographic domains are located at random between the latitudinal and longitudinal boundaries of this region. We test for significant differences between observed and predicted species-richness patterns, and we identify regions that are enriched or depauperate in species, relative to expectation. In addition, we move beyond previous mid-domain analyses by directly comparing observed spatial distributions of geographic ranges with those predicted by a mid-domain model. This comparison indicates precisely how species-richness anomalies are produced by nonrandomness in the distribution of species ranges. For both corals and fishes, large and statistically significant differences exist between observed latitudinal and longitudinal species-richness gradients and those predicted by mid-domain models. Longitudinally, species richness is markedly higher than predicted along the African coast and, to a lesser extent, within the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA), and it is markedly lower than expected in the eastern Pacific. Latitudinally, species richness becomes increasingly higher than predicted as one moves from the equator to the tropical margins; then it becomes sharply lower than predicted beyond the tropics. Unexpectedly, differences between observed and predicted spatial distributions of range endpoints and midpoints reveal a pattern of nonrandomness that is highly congruent with the hypothesis that gyres in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with the IAA forming a porous boundary between them, have a major influence on Indo-Pacific species-richness patterns. Our analyses indicate that the perspective offered by a focus on explaining nonrandomness in the location of geographic ranges (rather than explaining why species numbers vary in space) is likely to dramatically alter our assessments of alternative explanations for global species-richness gradients.

Item ID: 6237
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coral reefs; geographic range; Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA); latitudinal gradient; longitudinal gradient; macroecology; mid-domain effect
Additional Information:

Reproduced with permission from Ecological Society of America (ESA).

ISSN: 1939-9170
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2010 01:59
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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