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The Latitudinal Diversity Gradient : Novel Understanding through Mechanistic Eco-evolutionary Models

  • Mikael Pontarp
  • Lynsey Bunnefeld
  • Juliano Sarmento Cabral
  • Rampal S. Etienne
  • Susanne A. Fritz
  • Rosemary Gillespie
  • Catherine H. Graham
  • Oskar Hagen
  • Florian Hartig
  • Shan Huang
  • Roland Jansson
  • Odile Maliet
  • Tamara Münkemüller
  • Loïc Pellissier
  • Thiago F. Rangel
  • David Storch
  • Thorsten Wiegand
  • Allen H. Hurlbert
Publishing year: 2019-03-01
Language: English
Pages: 211-223
Publication/Series: Trends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume: 34
Issue: 3
Document type: Journal article review
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

The latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is one of the most widely studied patterns in ecology, yet no consensus has been reached about its underlying causes. We argue that the reasons for this are the verbal nature of existing hypotheses, the failure to mechanistically link interacting ecological and evolutionary processes to the LDG, and the fact that empirical patterns are often consistent with multiple explanations. To address this issue, we synthesize current LDG hypotheses, uncovering their eco-evolutionary mechanisms, hidden assumptions, and commonalities. Furthermore, we propose mechanistic eco-evolutionary modeling and an inferential approach that makes use of geographic, phylogenetic, and trait-based patterns to assess the relative importance of different processes for generating the LDG.


  • biogeography
  • diversity patterns
  • ecology
  • evolution
  • macroecology
  • mechanistic modeling


  • ISSN: 0169-5347
Mikael Pontarp
E-mail: mikael [dot] pontarp [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Evolutionary ecology

Sölvegatn 37, Lund