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Trends Ecol Evol. 2015 Dec;30(12):780-792. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.09.011. Epub 2015 Oct 30.

Where and When do Species Interactions Set Range Limits?

Author information

1
Environmental Studies Program, 397 UCB University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0397, USA; Mpala Research Centre, PO Box 555, Nanyuki, Kenya. Electronic address: allisonmlouthan@gmail.com.
2
Environmental Studies Program, 397 UCB University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0397, USA; Mpala Research Centre, PO Box 555, Nanyuki, Kenya.
3
Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Abstract

A long-standing theory, originating with Darwin, suggests that abiotic forces set species range limits at high latitude, high elevation, and other abiotically 'stressful' areas, while species interactions set range limits in apparently more benign regions. This theory is of considerable importance for both basic and applied ecology, and while it is often assumed to be a ubiquitous pattern, it has not been clearly defined or broadly tested. We review tests of this idea and dissect how the strength of species interactions must vary across stress gradients to generate the predicted pattern. We conclude by suggesting approaches to better test this theory, which will deepen our understanding of the forces that determine species ranges and govern responses to climate change.

PMID:
26525430
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2015.09.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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