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Latitude, elevation and body mass variation in Andean passerine birds

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  • Relationships between body mass and latitude, and body mass and elevation are examined in the assemblage of Andean passerine birds.

  • Across species, body mass is positively correlated with the mid-point of the species elevational distribution, but there is no significant relationship between body mass and latitudinal range mid-point.

  • When the assemblage is separated into Andean endemic and non-endemic species, the former group shows a significant positive relationship between body mass and elevation, and the latter a significant positive relationship between body mass and latitude (‘Bergmann’s rule’). Andean endemic species exhibit Bergmann’s rule once elevation is controlled for using multiple regression.

  • These relationships are not a consequence of the phylogenetic non-independence of species. All the effects shown are very weak, with latitude and elevation explaining only a few per cent of the variation in body mass. Relationships are strongest when phylogenetically controlled analyses are performed just within genera.

  • The implications of these results for the mechanistic understanding of Bergmann’s rule are discussed.
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    Keywords: Andean birds; Bergmann’s rule; body size; ecogeographic rule; elevation; latitude

    Document Type: Research Article

    Affiliations: Lab. Ecotono, Depto de Ecología, Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Quintral 1250 (8400) Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina

    Publication date: May 1, 2001

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