Hotspots of cenozoic tropical marine biodiversity

Moriaki Yasuhara*, Huai Hsuan May Huang*, Markus Reuter, Skye Yunshu Tian, Jonathan D. Cybulski, Aaron O'Dea, Briony L. Mamo, Laura J. Cotton, Emanuela Di Martino, Ran Feng, Clay R. Tabor, Gabriel Reygondeau, Qianshuo Zhao, Mark T. Warne, Kyawt K. T. Aye, Jingwen Zhang, Anne Chao, Chih-Lin Wei, Fabien L. Condamine, Adam T. KocsisWolfgang Kiessling, Mark J. Costello, Derek P. Tittensor, Chhaya Chaudhary, Marina C. Rillo, Hide Yukidoi, Yun-Wei Dong, Thomas M. Cronin, Erin E. Saupe, Heike K. Lotze, Kenneth G. Johnson, Willem Renema, John M. Pandolfi, Mathias Harzhauser, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Yuanyuan Hong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


Hotspots of tropical marine biodiversity are areas that harbour disproportionately large numbers of species compared to surrounding regions. The richness and location of these hotspots have changed throughout the Cenozoic. Here, we review the global dynamics of Cenozoic tropical marine biodiversity hotspots, including the four major hotspots of the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA), western Tethys (present Mediterranean), Arabian Sea and Caribbean Sea. Our review supports the 'Hopping Hotspots' model, which proposes that the locations of peak biodiversity are related to Tethyan faunai elements and track broad-scale shallow-marine habitats and high coastal complexity created by the collision of tectonic plates. A null hypothesis is the 'Whack-A-Mole' model, which proposes that hotspots occur in habitats suitable for high diversity regardless of taxonomie identity or faunai elements. Earlier 'Centre-of theories (e.g. centres of origin with diversity decreasing with distance from supposed areas of exceptionally high rates of speciation, for which easy connection to adjacent regions to the east and west is important) were based on the analysis of recent biotas with no palaeontological foundation, and may better explain diversity dynamics within a hotspot rather than those between hotspots. More recently, however, human disturbance is massively disrupting these natural patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOceanography and Marine Biology
Subtitle of host publicationAn Annual Review, Volume 60
EditorsS. J. Hawkins, A. L. Allcock, A. E. Bates, M. Byrne, A. J. Evans, L. B. Firth, A. J. Lemasson, C. Lucas, E. M. Marzinelli, P. J. Mumby, B. D. Russell, J. Sharples, I. P. Smith, S. E. Swearer, P. A. Todd
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, Fl
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages58
ISBN (Electronic)9781000781113
ISBN (Print)9781032265056
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameOceanography and Marine Biology
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group
ISSN (Electronic)0078-3218

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Fossil records
  • Global patterns
  • Neogene
  • Paleobiology
  • Paleogene
  • Species diversity gradients
  • Tropics


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