Data from: Explaining global variation in the latitudinal diversity gradient: meta-analysis confirms known patterns and uncovers new ones
Kinlock, Nicole L. et al. (2018), Data from: Explaining global variation in the latitudinal diversity gradient: meta-analysis confirms known patterns and uncovers new ones, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rg5rd
Aim: The pattern of increasing biological diversity from high latitudes to the equator [latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG)] has been recognized for > 200 years. Empirical studies have documented this pattern across many different organisms and locations. Our goal was to quantify the evidence for the global LDG and the associated spatial, taxonomic and environmental factors. We performed a meta-analysis on a large number of individual LDGs that have been published in the 14 years since Hillebrand's ground-breaking meta-analysis of the LDG, using meta-analysis and meta-regression approaches largely new to the fields of ecology and biogeography.
Time period: January 2003–September 2015.
Major taxa studied: Bacteria, protists, plants, fungi and animals.
Methods: We synthesized the outcomes of 389 individual cases of LDGs from 199 papers published since 2003, using hierarchical mixed-effects meta-analysis and multiple meta-regression. Additionally, we re-analysed Hillebrand's original dataset using modern methods.
Results: We confirmed the generality of the LDG, but found the pattern to be weaker than was found in Hillebrand's study. We identified previously unreported variation in LDG strength and slope across longitude, with evidence that the LDG is strongest in the Western Hemisphere. Locational characteristics, such as habitat and latitude range, contributed significantly to LDG strength, whereas organismal characteristics, including taxonomic group and trophic level, did not. Modern meta-analytical models that incorporate hierarchical structure led to more conservative and sometimes contrasting effect size estimates relative to Hillebrand's initial analysis, whereas meta-regression revealed underlying patterns in Hillebrand's dataset that were not apparent with a traditional analysis.
Main conclusions: We present evidence of global latitudinal, longitudinal and habitat-based patterns in the LDG, which are apparent across both marine and terrestrial realms and over a broad taxonomic range of organisms, from bacteria to plants and vertebrates.
National Science Foundation,