Global patterns in the functional attributes of organisms are critical to understanding biodiversity trends and predicting biotic responses to environmental change. In the first global marine analysis, we find a strong decrease in functional richness, but a strong increase in functional evenness, with increasing latitude using intertidal-to-outer-shelf bivalves as a model system (N = 5571 species). These patterns appear to be driven by the interplay between variation in origination rates among functional groups, and latitudinal patterns in origination and range expansion, as documented by the rich fossil record of the group. The data suggest that (i) accumulation of taxa in spatial bins and functional categories has not impeded continued diversification in the tropics, and (ii) extinctions will influence ecosystem function differentially across latitudes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)