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The Latitudinal Diversity Gradient: Novel Understanding through Mechanistic Eco-evolutionary Models


Abstract

The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most widely studied patterns in ecology, yet no consensus has been reached about its underlying causes. We argue that the reasons are the verbal nature of existing hypotheses, the failure to mechanistically link interacting ecological and evolutionary processes to the LDG, and the fact that empirical patterns are often consistent with multiple explanations. To address this issue, we synthesize current LDG hypotheses, uncovering their eco-evolutionary mechanisms, hidden assumptions, and commonalities. Furthermore, we propose mechanistic eco-evolutionary modeling and an inferential approach that makes use of geographic, phylogenetic, and trait-based patterns to assess the relative importance of different processes for generating the LDG.

Abstract

The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most widely studied patterns in ecology, yet no consensus has been reached about its underlying causes. We argue that the reasons are the verbal nature of existing hypotheses, the failure to mechanistically link interacting ecological and evolutionary processes to the LDG, and the fact that empirical patterns are often consistent with multiple explanations. To address this issue, we synthesize current LDG hypotheses, uncovering their eco-evolutionary mechanisms, hidden assumptions, and commonalities. Furthermore, we propose mechanistic eco-evolutionary modeling and an inferential approach that makes use of geographic, phylogenetic, and trait-based patterns to assess the relative importance of different processes for generating the LDG.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 December 2018
Deposited On:07 Mar 2019 13:12
Last Modified:15 Apr 2020 23:21
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0169-5347
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2018.11.009
PubMed ID:30591209

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