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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 | 2018-09-18
Why the concept of stewardship offers a platform for collaboration and dialogue between actors, even with differing perspectives
Research news | 2018-09-14
The world needs a much more ambitious work plan to halt species loss and restore biodiversity. Here are three steps to get there
Research news | 2018-09-13
Digital revolution and market forces poised to drive economic transformation away from fossil fuels, but not without the right policy mix and bold climate leadership
Research news | 2018-09-12
Centre launches new online platform for resilience assessments, representing a major innovation in resilience practice
Research news | 2018-09-06
Water and land governance need to consider effects of distant land-use change, because local land-use decisions are not as local as we have always assumed
General news | 2018-09-06
Ten of the world’s largest seafood companies announce they will increase their efforts to strengthen sustainable practices in the seafood industry