Global biodiversity patterns of benthic marine algae

Kerswell, Ailsa P. (2006) Global biodiversity patterns of benthic marine algae. Ecology, 87 (10). pp. 2479-2488.

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Species richness patterns are remarkably similar across many marine taxa, yet explanations of how such patterns are generated and maintained are conflicting. I use published occurrence data to identify previously masked latitudinal and longitudinal diversity gradients for all genera of benthic marine macroalgae and for species in the Order Bryopsidales. I also quantify the size, location, and overlap of macroalgal geographic ranges to determine how the observed richness patterns are generated. Algal genera exhibit an inverse latitudinal gradient, with biodiversity hotspots in temperate regions, while bryopsidalean species reach peak diversity in the tropics. The geographic distribution of range locations results in distinct clusters of range mid-points. In particular, widespread taxa are centered within tight latitudinal and longitudinal bands in the middle of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans while small-ranged taxa are clustered in peripheral locations, suggesting that variation in speciation and extinction are important drivers of algal diversity patterns. Hypotheses about factors that regulate diversity contain underlying assumptions about the size and location of geographic ranges, in addition to predictions as to why species numbers will differ among regions. Yet these assumptions are rarely considered in assessing the validity of the prevailing hypotheses. I assess a suite of hypotheses, suggested to explain patterns of marine diversity, by comparing algal-richness patterns in combination with the size and location of algal geographic ranges, to the richness and range locations predicted by these hypotheses. In particular, the results implicate habitat areas and ocean currents as the most plausible drivers of observed diversity patterns.

Item ID: 3867
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1939-9170
Keywords: Bryopsidales; geographic range; hot spot; marine algae; ocean currents; richness gradients; species-area hypothesis
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Reproduced with permission from Ecological Society of America (ESA).

Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2009 23:50
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 49%
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