Scope for latitudinal extension of reef corals is species specific

Joshua S. Madin*, Andrew P. Allen, Andrew H. Baird, John M. Pandolfi, Brigitte Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)
    25 Downloads (Pure)


    In their recent paper, Muir et al. (Science, 2015, 348, 1135-1138) demonstrate that the maximum depths of staghorn coral assemblages are shallower at higher latitudes, a trend that correlates with winter light levels. Based on these findings, the authors hypothesize that light availability limits the current latitudinal extent of the group and will constrain future range expansion. Here we reanalyze their data and show that depth-latitude relationships vary substantially among species, and that most species show either no significant pattern or the opposite pattern. In so doing, our reanalysis highlights a common misinterpretation of mixed-effects models: the fallacy of the average. Our findings are also consistent with fossil and contemporary observations of coral range-shifts. The factors that limit the current range extent of corals remain elusive, but they are likely speciesspecific and will require much further research to elucidate.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere29328
    Pages (from-to)1-4
    Number of pages4
    JournalFrontiers of Biogeography
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2016. 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.


    • Corals
    • Fallacy of the average
    • Light
    • Range shifts
    • Species


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