Global Patterns of Marine Biodiversity

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The dataset shows the global patterns of marine biodiversity (species richness) across 13 major species groups ranging from zooplankton to marine mammals (11,567 species in total). These groups include marine zooplankton (foraminifera and euphausiids), plants (mangroves and seagrasses), invertebrates (stony corals, squids and other cephalopods), fishes (coastal fishes, tunas and billfishes, oceanic and non-oceanic sharks), and mammals (cetaceans and pinnipeds). Two major patterns emerged from this work: coastal species showed maximum diversity in the Western Pacific, whereas oceanic groups consistently peaked across broad mid-latitudinal bands in all oceans. The findings indicate a fundamental role of temperature in structuring cross-taxon marine biodiversity, and indicate that changes in ocean temperature, in conjunction with other human impacts, may ultimately rearrange the global distribution of life in the ocean.

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