04 May 2016
Unifying latitudinal gradients in range size and richness across marine and terrestrial systems
Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B by Kennedy, J.D., Rahbek, C. and co-authors.
Many marine and terrestrial clades show similar latitudinal gradients in species richness, but opposite gradients in range size—on land, ranges are the smallest in the tropics, whereas in the sea, ranges are the largest in the tropics. Therefore, richness gradients in marine and terrestrial systems do not arise from a shared latitudinal arrangement of species range sizes. Comparing terrestrial birds and marine bivalves, we find that gradients in range size are concordant at the level of genera. Here, both groups show a nested pattern in which narrow-ranging genera are confined to the tropics and broad-ranging genera extend across much of the gradient. We find that (i) genus range size and its variation with latitude is closely associated with per-genus species richness and (ii) broad-ranging genera contain more species both within and outside of the tropics when compared with tropical- or temperate-only genera. Within-genus species diversification thus promotes genus expansion to novel latitudes. Despite underlying differences in the species range-size gradients, species-rich genera are more likely to produce a descendant that extends its range relative to the ancestor's range. These results unify species richness gradients with those of genera, implying that birds and bivalves share similar latitudinal dynamics in net species diversification.
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