INTRODUCTIONUnderstanding large‐scale spatial patterns and determinants of biodiversity are central to macroecology, biogeography and conservation (Richardson & Whittaker, ; Whittaker et al., ). Many mechanisms have been hypothesized to explain large‐scale diversity gradients in taxonomic richness (Field et al., ; Ricklefs, ; Whittaker, Willis, & Field, ). In recent years, three of these hypotheses have been often advocated as general mechanisms determining diversity patterns. First, the energy hypothesis, a climatically based hypothesis, claims that species richness within a particular area is limited by available energy (Clarke & Gaston, ). In general, species richness tends to be higher in areas where the energy supply is higher. Indeed, energy can influence biodiversity by rather different mechanisms, which relate to the form of energy, including radiation energy, thermal energy or chemical energy (Clarke & Gaston, ). Second, the area/environmental heterogeneity hypothesis states that species richness is higher in larger and more heterogeneous areas through increasing habitat availability and diversity (Whittaker et al., ). Third, the dispersal/historical hypothesis, which includes many variants of the general idea, proposes that diversity patterns are related to differential speciation or extinction rates, coupled with dispersal limitation that is related to historical contingency (Ricklefs, , ). The three above hypotheses have
Diversity and Distributions – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ;
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