Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Global gradients in intertidal species richness and functional groups

New publication by Jakob Thyrring and Lloyd Peck

2021.03.30 | Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen


Whether global latitudinal diversity gradients exist in rocky intertidal a-diversity and across functional groups remains unknown. Using literature data from 433 intertidal sites, we investigated α-diversity patterns across 155° of latitude, and whether local-scale or global-scale structuring processes control α-diversity. We, furthermore, investigated how the relative composition of functional groups changes with latitude. α-diversity differed among hemispheres with a mid-latitudinal peak in the north, and a non-significant unimodal pattern in the south, but there was no support for a tropical-to-polar decrease in α-diversity. Although global-scale drivers had no discernible effect, the local-scale drivers significantly affected α-diversity, and our results reveal that latitudinal diversity gradients are outweighed by local-processes. In contrast to α-diversity patterns, three functional groups: predators, grazers and suspension-feeders diversity declined with latitude, coinciding with an inverse gradient in algae. Polar and tropical intertidal data were sparse, and more sampling is required to improve knowledge of marine biodiversity.


Arctic Research Centre