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Trends Ecol Evol. 2000 Feb;15(2):70-76.

The mid-domain effect: geometric constraints on the geography of species richness.


Geographic patterns of species richness are influenced by many factors, but the role of shared physiographical and physiological boundaries in relation to range-size distributions has been surprisingly neglected, in spite of the fact that such geometric constraints lead to mid-domain richness peaks even without environmental gradients (the mid-domain effect). Relying on null models, several recent studies have begun to quantify this problem using simulated and empirical data. This approach promises to transform how we perceive geographic variation in diversity, including the long unresolved latitudinal gradient in species richness. The question is not whether geometry affects such patterns, but by how much.


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