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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 | 2018-06-14
Swedish school project shows how children saving salamanders grow a stronger connection to nature afterwards
Research news | 2018-06-13
Celebrated for their work on furthering research on sustainable water management and resilience thinking
Research news | 2018-06-12
Questions around the popular ecosystem services framework and nature’s contribution to people has hit a nerve
General news | 2018-06-08
Line Gordon appointed as centre director, Victor Galaz becomes deputy director and Carl Folke new chair of the centre’s governing board
Research news | 2018-06-07
Centre becomes scientific partner to new UN business platform on sustainable marine stewardship
Research news | 2018-06-06
Who owns ocean biodiversity? New study reveals how a single company has registered half of all existing patents associated with genes from marine species