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      Global Biogeography of Reef Fishes: A Hierarchical Quantitative Delineation of Regions

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          Delineating regions is an important first step in understanding the evolution and biogeography of faunas. However, quantitative approaches are often limited at a global scale, particularly in the marine realm. Reef fishes are the most diversified group of marine fishes, and compared to most other phyla, their taxonomy and geographical distributions are relatively well known. Based on 169 checklists spread across all tropical oceans, the present work aims to quantitatively delineate biogeographical entities for reef fishes at a global scale. Four different classifications were used to account for uncertainty related to species identification and the quality of checklists. The four classifications delivered converging results, with biogeographical entities that can be hierarchically delineated into realms, regions and provinces. All classifications indicated that the Indo-Pacific has a weak internal structure, with a high similarity from east to west. In contrast, the Atlantic and the Eastern Tropical Pacific were more strongly structured, which may be related to the higher levels of endemism in these two realms. The “Coral Triangle”, an area of the Indo-Pacific which contains the highest species diversity for reef fishes, was not clearly delineated by its species composition. Our results show a global concordance with recent works based upon endemism, environmental factors, expert knowledge, or their combination. Our quantitative delineation of biogeographical entities, however, tests the robustness of the results and yields easily replicated patterns. The similarity between our results and those from other phyla, such as corals, suggests that our approach may be of broad utility in describing and understanding global marine biodiversity patterns.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Regional-scale assembly rules and biodiversity of coral reefs.

          Tropical reef fishes and corals exhibit highly predictable patterns of taxonomic composition across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Despite steep longitudinal and latitudinal gradients in total species richness, the composition of these key taxa is constrained within a remarkably narrow range of values. Regional-scale variation in reef biodiversity is best explained by large-scale patterns in the availability of shallow-water habitat. Once habitat area is accounted for, there is surprisingly little residual effect of latitude or longitude. Low-diversity regions are most vulnerable to human impacts such as global warming, underscoring the urgent need for integrated management at multinational scales.
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            Hopping hotspots: global shifts in marine biodiversity.

            Hotspots of high species diversity are a prominent feature of modern global biodiversity patterns. Fossil and molecular evidence is starting to reveal the history of these hotspots. There have been at least three marine biodiversity hotspots during the past 50 million years. They have moved across almost half the globe, with their timing and locations coinciding with major tectonic events. The birth and death of successive hotspots highlights the link between environmental change and biodiversity patterns. The antiquity of the taxa in the modern Indo-Australian Archipelago hotspot emphasizes the role of pre-Pleistocene events in shaping modern diversity patterns.
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              Patterns and processes in reef fish diversity.

              A central aim of ecology is to explain the heterogeneous distribution of biodiversity on earth. As expectations of diversity loss grow, this understanding is also critical for effective management and conservation. Although explanations for biodiversity patterns are still a matter for intense debate, they have often been considered to be scale-dependent. At large geographical scales, biogeographers have suggested that variation in species richness results from factors such as area, temperature, environmental stability, and geological processes, among many others. From the species pools generated by these large-scale processes, community ecologists have suggested that local-scale assembly of communities is achieved through processes such as competition, predation, recruitment, disturbances and immigration. Here we analyse hypotheses on speciation and dispersal for reef fish from the Indian and Pacific oceans and show how dispersal from a major centre of origination can simultaneously account for both large-scale gradients in species richness and the structure of local communities.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                30 December 2013
                : 8
                : 12
                [1 ]Institut de Recherche pour le développement (IRD), UR 227- Labex CORAIL, Laboratoire Arago, Banyuls/mer, France
                [2 ]Centre de Synthèse et d'Analyse sur la Biodiversité (Fondation pour la Recherche en Biodiversité), Immeuble Henri Poincaré, Domaine du Petit Arbois, Aix-en-Provence, France
                [3 ]Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
                [4 ]Laboratorio de Ecología de Ecosistemas de Arrecifes Coralinos, Departamento de Recursos del Mar, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Unidad Mérida, Cordemex, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
                [5 ]Institut de Recherche pour le développement (IRD) UR 227 “CoReUs” - Labex CORAIL, Ste Clotilde, La Réunion, France
                [6 ]Marine Macroecology and Biogeography Lab, Depto. Ecologia e Zoologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
                [7 ]Department of Biology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America
                [8 ]Centre of Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
                [9 ]Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
                [10 ]Seaclicks/Coral Graphics, Wellington, Florida, United States of America
                [11 ]Institut de Recherche pour le développement (IRD) UR 227 “CoReUs” - Labex CORAIL, Noumea, New Caledonia
                [12 ]Ecologie des Systèmes Marins Côtiers, ECOSYM UMR 5119, Université Montpellier 2, Montpellier, France
                Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: MK VP DRB DM JM AF SRF LV. Performed the experiments: MK REM VP DM. Analyzed the data: VP DM MK. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: MK REM VP SRF AF EAG PC DRB. Wrote the paper: MK VP DRB EAG PC SRF AF JM REM LV DM.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                This work was funded by FRB (Fondation de la Recherche pour la Biodiversité) for the data analysis and preparation of the manuscript. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Ecological Environments
                Marine Environments
                Marine Ecology
                Coral Reefs
                Ecological Metrics
                Marine Biology
                Marine Ecology
                Earth Sciences
                Marine and Aquatic Sciences
                Marine Ecology



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