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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 13, 1994; 91(19): 8871–8874.

Eastern Pacific molluscan provinces and latitudinal diversity gradient: no evidence for "Rapoport's rule".


"Rapoport's rule," which has gained wide acceptance as a potential explanation for latitudinal and other diversity gradients, holds that mean latitudinal range of species decreases toward the equator. We analyzed latitudinal ranges of 2838 eastern Pacific marine molluscan species, a subset of which figured in the original formulation of Rapoport's rule, and failed to find the predicted trends. Instead, species diversity gradients and range magnitudes appear to vary independently, with the spatial distribution of major oceanographic barriers exerting a strong influence on latitudinal ranges. Biogeographic structure should, therefore, be an important element in the assessment of diversity patterns.

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  • Lewin R. Biologists Disagree Over Bold Signature of Nature: Adaptation to the different annual climatic fluctuations at low and high latitudes is suggested as an explanation for a famous, unexplained pattern of nature. Science. 1989 May 5;244(4904):527–528. [PubMed]

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