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

Pontarp M, Bunnefeld L, Cabral JS, Etienne RS, Fritz SA, Gillespie R, Graham CH, Hagen O, Hartig F, Huang S, Jansson R, Maliet O, Munkemuller T, Pellissier L & Rangel TF (2019) The Latitudinal Diversity Gradient: Novel Understanding through Mechanistic Eco-evolutionary Models. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 34 (3), pp. P211-223.

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 for this 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.

diversity patterns; mechanistic modeling; ecology; evolution; biogeography; macroecology

Additional co-authors: David Storch, Thorsten Wiegand, Allen H Hurlbert

Trends in Ecology and Evolution: Volume 34, Issue 3

Author(s)Pontarp, Mikael; Bunnefeld, Lynsey; Cabral, Juliano Sarmento; Etienne, Rampal S; Fritz, Susanne A; Gillespie, Rosemary; Graham, Catherine H; Hagen, Oskar; Hartig, Florian; Huang, Shan; Jansson, Roland; Maliet, Odile; Munkemuller, Tamara; Pellissier, Loic; Rangel, Thiago F
FundersGerman Research Foundation
Publication date31/03/2019
Publication date online24/12/2018
Date accepted by journal24/12/2018
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