NCEAS Project 2084

The latitudinal gradient of diversity: Synthesis of pattern and process

  • Dawn Kaufman

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow15th December 1998—14th December 2000Participant List  

Abstract
The latitudinal gradient of species diversity is a nearly universal pattern (Brown 1995) and latitude has been said to have the "boldest signature" with respect to the spatial distribution of biodiversity (Lewin 1989, Gaston 1996). In fact, the inverse relationship between species richness and latitude is known from a diverse set of taxa, including vertebrates (mammals--Simpson 1964, Kaufman and Willig in press; birds--Cook 1969, Blackburn and Gaston 1996; herptiles--Kiester 1971, Rosenzweig 1995; fish-- Macpherson and Duarte 1994, Oberdorff et al. 1995), non-vertebrate chordates (tunicates--Fischer 1960), invertebrates (ants--Brener and Ruggiero 1994, papilionid butterflies--Scriber 1973, termites-- Collins 1989, crayfish--France 1992, amphipods--France 1992, gastropods--Rex et al. 1993, coral--Fischer 1960), protozoans (fossil foraminiferans--Stehli et al. 1969) and plants (columnar cacti--Mourelle and Ezcurra 1997, fossil angiosperms--Crane and Lidgard 1989, trees--Currie and Paquin 1987, orchids--Dressler 1981). Although many studies appear each year on this topic, progress to ascertain a convincing general underlying mechanism has been stymied. The current ecological approach to research on the latitudinal gradient suffers from a lack of rigor and creativity in the examination of the pattern and in the quest for the process (detailed below). In addition, progress should be enhanced by capitalizing on new technologies to handle large datasets and perform comparative research across taxa to search for generalities.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Field, Richard; Hawkins, Bradford A.; Cornell, Howard V.; Currie, David J.; Diniz-Filho, Alexandre F.; Guegan, Jean-Francois; Kaufman, Dawn; Kerr, Jeremy T.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Oberdorff, Thierry; O'Brien, Eileen M.; Turner, John R.G. 2009. Spatial species-richness gradients across scales: A meta-analysis. Journal of Biogeography. Vol: 36. Pages 132-147.
Journal Article Fortin, Marie-Josée; Keitt, Timothy H.; Maurer, Brian A.; Taper, Mark L.; Kaufman, Dawn; Blackburn, Tim M. 2005. Species' geographic ranges and distributional limits: Pattern analysis and statistical issues. Oikos. Vol: 108. Pages 7-17.
Journal Article Hawkins, Bradford A.; Field, Richard; Cornell, Howard V.; Currie, David J.; Guegan, Jean-Francois; Kaufman, Dawn; Kerr, Jeremy T.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Oberdorff, Thierry; O'Brien, Eileen M.; Porter, Eric; Turner, John R.G. 2003. Energy, water, and broad-scale geographic patterns of species richness. Ecology. Vol: 84(12). Pages 3105-3117.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 1999. Comparison of boundary shapes along species' borders: An example-a test for latitudinal effects of abiotic and biotic limiting factors. Ecological Society of America.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 1999. Latitudinal gradients of diversity: The search for a unified theory. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2000. A mechanistic model for the latitudinal gradient of diversity? Toward a general synthesis. Evolution.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2000. Latitudinal gradients and biological diversity. EcoLunch Seminar. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Santa Barbara, California.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2000. Latitudinal patterns of diversity and underlying mechanisms: A universal theory?. Department of Animal Ecology, Iowa State University.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2000. Why are there so many species in the tropics? Toward a unified theory for the latitudinal gradient of diversity. American Society of Mammalogists.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2001. Mammals and nested subsets: Patterns across space, time, and scale. American Society of Mammalogists.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2001. Nested subsets of species composition: Patterns across taxa, space, time, and scale. Society for Conservation Biology.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2002. Keynote Address--Macroecological patterns of species, community, and faunal assembly. Central Plains Society of Mammalogists.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2002. Macroecological patterns of species, community, and faunal assembly. Central Plains Society of Mammalogists.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2002. Mammals on . American Society of Mammalogists.
Presentations Kaufman, Dawn. 2003. Spatial and temporal patterns of community assembly: Comparison of taxa and LTER sites. LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) all Scientists Meeting.
Journal Article Maurer, Brian A.; Brown, James H.; Dayan, Tamar; Enquist, Brian J.; Ernest, S. K. Morgan; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Haskell, John P.; Jablonski, David; Jones, Kate E.; Kaufman, Dawn; Lyons, Kathleen; Niklas, Karl J.; Porter, Warren P.; Roy, Kaustuv; Smith, Felisa A.; Tiffney, Bruce; Willig, Michael R. 2004. Similarities in body size distributions of small-bodied flying vertebrates. Evolutionary Ecology Research. Vol: 6. Pages 783-797.
Journal Article Willig, Michael R.; Kaufman, Dawn; Stevens, Richard D. 2003. Latitudinal gradients of biodiversity: Pattern, process, scale, and synthesis. Annual Review of Ecology Evolution and Systematics. Vol: 34. Pages 273-309. (Abstract)