Scope for latitudinal extension of reef corals is species specific

Madin, Joshua S., Allen, Andrew P., Baird, Andrew H., Pandolfi, John M., and Sommer, Brigitte (2016) Scope for latitudinal extension of reef corals is species specific. Frontiers of Biogeography, 8 (1). e29328. pp. 1-4.

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In their recent paper, Muir et al. (Science, 2015, 348, 1135-1138) demonstrate that the maximum depths of staghorn coral assemblages are shallower at higher latitudes, a trend that correlates with winter light levels. Based on these findings, the authors hypothesize that light availability limits the current latitudinal extent of the group and will constrain future range expansion. Here we reanalyze their data and show that depth-latitude relationships vary substantially among species, and that most species show either no significant pattern or the opposite pattern. In so doing, our reanalysis highlights a common misinterpretation of mixed-effects models: the fallacy of the average. Our findings are also consistent with fossil and contemporary observations of coral range-shifts. The factors that limit the current range extent of corals remain elusive, but they are likely speciesspecific and will require much further research to elucidate.

Item ID: 49426
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1948-6596
Keywords: corals, fallacy of the average, light, range shifts, species
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© The Authors. Beginning with issue 1:1, all articles in this journal are covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2017 00:11
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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