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Seaweeds, latitudinal diversity patterns, and Rapoport's Rule

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We analysed the geographic distribution of 645 species of marine benthic algae along the Atlantic coast of Europe and Pacific coast of temperate South America to test for the existence of an association between geographic range size and latitude (Rapoport's Rule) and for three key components of the explanations offered for it. We found that species in high diversity areas are characterized by small geographic ranges and by low specific growth rates as compared to species with large geographic ranges, thus supporting the Rapoport-rescue hypothesis. However, the pattern is not related to species’ tolerances, to abiotic conditions or to climatic variability. Further, the inverse latitudinal diversity pattern shown by the marine algal flora of temperate Pacific South America, and the opposite patterns shown by tropical and subantarctic species within this flora, stressed that small geographic ranges are linked to high diversity areas in general, and not only in relation to the pole to tropic species diversity gradient.
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Keywords: Climatic variation; Rapoport's Rule; growth rates; latitudinal diversity patterns; seaweeds distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile. bsanteli@genes.bio.puc.cl and pmarquet@genes.bio.puc.cl

Publication date: 1998-03-01

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