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Causes of warm‐edge range limits: systematic review, proximate factors and implications for climate change

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The factors that set species range limits underlie many patterns in ecology, evolution, biogeography and conservation. These factors have been the subject of several reviews, but there has been no systematic review of the causes of warm‐edge limits (low elevations and latitudes). Understanding these causes is urgent, given that the factors that set these limits might also drive extinction at warm edges as global climate changes. Many authors have suggested that warm‐edge limits are set by biotic factors (particularly competition) whereas others have stressed abiotic factors (particularly temperature). We synthesize the known causes of species' warm‐edge range limits, with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms (proximate causes).
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Keywords: Biotic interactions; climate change; competition; physiological tolerances; range limits; temperature

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2014

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