Latitudinal and bathymetrical species richness patterns in the NW Pacific and adjacent Arctic Ocean

  • Global scale analyses have recently revealed that the latitudinal gradient in marine species richness is bimodal, peaking at low-mid latitudes but with a dip at the equator; and that marine species richness decreases with depth in many taxa. However, these overall and independently studied patterns may conceal regional differences that help support or qualify the causes in these gradients. Here, we analysed both latitudinal and depth gradients of species richness in the NW Pacific and its adjacent Arctic Ocean. We analysed 324,916 distribution records of 17,414 species from 0 to 10,900 m depth, latitude 0 to 90°N, and longitude 100 to 180°N. Species richness per c. 50 000 km2 hexagonal cells was calculated as alpha (local average), gamma (regional total) and ES50 (estimated species for 50 records) per latitudinal band and depth interval. We found that average ES50 and gamma species richness decreased per 5° latitudinal bands and 100 m depth intervals. However, average ES50 per hexagon showed that the highest species richness peaked around depth 2,000 m where the highest total number of species recorded. Most (83%) species occurred in shallow depths (0 to 500 m). The area around Bohol Island in the Philippines had the highest alpha species richness (more than 8,000 species per 50,000 km2). Both alpha and gamma diversity trends increased from the equator to latitude 10°N, then further decreased, but reached another peak at higher latitudes. The latitudes 60–70°N had the lowest gamma and alpha diversity where there is almost no ocean in our study area. Model selection on Generalized Additive Models (GAMs) showed that the combined effects of all environmental predictors produced the best model driving species richness in both shallow and deep sea. The results thus support recent hypotheses that biodiversity, while highest in the tropics and coastal depths, is decreasing at the equator and decreases with depth below ~2000 m. While we do find the declines of species richness with latitude and depth that reflect temperature gradients, local scale richness proved poorly correlated with many environmental variables. This demonstrates that while regional scale patterns in species richness may be related to temperature, that local scale richness depends on a greater variety of variables.
Author:Hanieh Saeedi, Mark J. Costello, Dan Warren, Angelika BrandtORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Scientific reports
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Place of publication:[London]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Date of first Publication:2019/06/26
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/09/19
Tag:Environmental sciences; Marine biology
Issue:1, Art. 9303
Page Number:10
First Page:1
Last Page:10
Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Institutes:Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft
Biowissenschaften / Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Fachübergreifende Einrichtungen / Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F)
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0