Species richness is unevenly distributed on the Earth, with biodiversity gradients of various spatial scales supposedly being affected by abiotic as well as biotic factors including community traits such as body size spectra and relative abundance patterns. To explore large-scale spatial variation in species diversity and their processes, tidepool fish communities were investigated through an intensive field work conducted on 55 shore sites in south-western Japan. Multiple ecological measures were taken into account to assess changes in local community structures with changes in the number of species. Biomass (total fish wet weight) per unit area showed no systematic change with latitude, while taxa richness and number of individuals tended to increase toward lower latitudes. In addition, median fish body weight scaled positively with latitude, which was more conspicuous in Blenniidae than in Gobiidae. The latitudinal gradient of diversity in tidepool fish assemblages appears to be characterized by partitioning of total biomass that tends to stay constant across latitudes, suggesting the phenomenon of “biomass compensation” whereby body size and abundance/diversity change in opposite directions with latitude. Our study highlights that biomass compensation can be part of processes involved in generating gradients of species richness even without an apparent energy/resource gradient.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics