Equatorial decline of reef corals during the last Pleistocene interglacial

Kiessling, Wolfgang, Simpson, Carl, Beck, Brian, Mewis, Heike and Pandolfi, John M. (2012) Equatorial decline of reef corals during the last Pleistocene interglacial. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 52: 21378-21383. doi:10.1073/pnas.1214037110


Author Kiessling, Wolfgang
Simpson, Carl
Beck, Brian
Mewis, Heike
Pandolfi, John M.
Title Equatorial decline of reef corals during the last Pleistocene interglacial
Journal name Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
1091-6490
Publication date 2012-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1214037110
Volume 109
Issue 52
Start page 21378
End page 21383
Total pages 6
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract The Last Interglacial (LIG; ca. 125,000 y ago) resulted from rapid global warming and reached global mean temperatures exceeding those of today. The LIG thus offers the opportunity to study how life may respond to future global warming. Using global occurrence databases and applying sampling- standardization, we compared reef coral diversity and distributions between the LIG and modern. Latitudinal diversity patterns are characterized by a tropical plateau today but were characterized by a pronounced equatorial trough during the LIG. This trough is governed by substantial range shifts away from the equator. Range shifts affected both leading and trailing edges of species range limits and were much more pronounced in the Northern Hemisphere than south of the equator. We argue that interglacial warming was responsible for the loss of equatorial diversity. Hemispheric differences in insolation during the LIG may explain the asymmetrical response. The equatorial retractions are surprisingly strong given that only small temperature changes have been reported in the LIG tropics. Our results suggest that the poleward range expansions of reef corals occurring with intensified global warming today may soon be followed by equatorial range retractions.
Keyword Biodiversity
Climate change
Paleobiology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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