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Energy and Biodiversity

Publication Date Sep 20, 2013

Abstract

The biodiversity level (number of species) of the Earth declines from the tropics to the poles and is strongly correlated with temperature and water availability. ‘Energy theories’ provide a simple explanation: more energy=more organisms=more species, but the question is more complex, and the empirical evidence equivocal. Theoretical models try to show how energy/climate can influence species birth (speciation), species death (extinction) and species migration; but there is only limited understanding of what controls these parameters, which may further be influenced by planetary area (smaller towards the poles) and the intricate processes of adaptive evolution, which build highly structured communities. The distribution of life is further deeply influenced by long- and short-term climatic change. The three main explanations of the biodiversity gradient are therefore (1) energy theories, (2) area theories, (3) climate change theories and (4) community-building theories. Key Concepts: The latitudinal diversity gradient: Biodiversity (the number of species) declines from the tropics to the poles, and is strongly correlated with climatic temperature and rainfall. Energy theories attempt to explain how climate influences the rates of speciation, species extinction and species migration. The water–energy (interim general) model and the metabolic theory of ecology show how energy (and water) could affect biodiversity. Dante's principle (species are adapted to their local climate) and the fa...

Concepts

Energy Theories Neutral Theory Of Biodiversity Latitudinal Diversity Gradient Short-term Climatic Change Species Migration Number Of Species Niche Conservatism Quadrat Size Biodiversity Gradient Distribution Of Life

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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