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Latitude, temperature, and habitat complexity predict predation pressure in eelgrass beds across the Northern Hemisphere / Pamela L. Reynolds, John J. Stachowicz, Kevin Hovel, Christoffer Boström, Katharyn Boyer, Mathieu Cusson, Johan S. Eklöf, Friederike G. Engel, Aschwin H. Engelen, Britas Klemens Eriksson, F. Joel Fodrie, John N. Griffin, Clara M. Hereu, Masakazu Hori, Torrance C. Hanley, Mikhail Ivanov, Pablo Jorgensen, Claudia Kruschel, Kun-Seop Lee, Karen McGlathery, Per-Olav Moksnes, Masahiro Nakaoka, Mary I. O'Connor, Nessa E. O'Connor, Robert J. Orth, Francesca Rossi, Jennifer Ruesink, Erik E. Sotka, Jonas Thormar, Fiona Tomas, Richard Unsworth, Matthew A. Whalen, J. Emmett Duffy
Ecology, Volume: 99, Issue: 1, Pages: 29 - 35
Swansea University Author: Richard Unsworth
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Latitudinal gradients in species interactions are widely cited as potential causes or consequences of global patterns of biodiversity. However, mechanistic studies documenting changes in interactions across broad geographic ranges are limited. We surveyed predation intensity on common prey (live amp...
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Latitudinal gradients in species interactions are widely cited as potential causes or consequences of global patterns of biodiversity. However, mechanistic studies documenting changes in interactions across broad geographic ranges are limited. We surveyed predation intensity on common prey (live amphipods and gastropods) in communities of eelgrass (Zostera marina) at 48 sites across its Northern Hemisphere range, encompassing over 370 of latitude and four continental coastlines. Predation on amphipods declined with latitude on all coasts but declined more strongly along western ocean margins where temperature gradients are steeper. Whereas in situ water temperature at the time of the experiments was uncorrelated with predation, mean annual temperature strongly positively predicted predation, suggesting a more complex mechanism than simple increased metabolic activity at the time of predation. This large-scale biogeographic pattern was modified by local habitat characteristics; predation declined with higher shoot density both among and within sites. Predation rates on gastropods, by contrast, were uniformly low and varied little among sites. The high replication and geographic extent of our study not only provides additional evidence to support biogeographic variation in intensity, but also insight into the mechanisms that relate temperature and biogeographic gradients in species interactions.
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