The height, breadth and depth of physiological diversity: variation across latitudinal, altitudinal and depth gradients

Organised by: Simon Morley (British Antarctic Survey, UK), John Spicer (Plymouth University, UK) and Francisco Bozinovic (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Chile)

The search for an evolutionary understanding of global patterns of Biodiversity has fascinated and occupied biologists for centuries. The importance of these pattern, and their underpinning mechanisms has gained renewed vigour and importance, perhaps becoming pre-eminant, as we attempt to predict the biological impacts of the Anthropocene and describe species capacities to cope with a rapidly changing environment. One key framework has been Rapoport’s rule which attempts to explain the latitudinal and altitudinal variation in species diversity through differences in range size and how these are constrained by evolutionary responses to environmental variability. These possible macrophysiological ‘rules’ have inspired and informed research into large scale geographical physiological comparisons, with an aim to investigate the mechanisms underlying where species can and cannot live. This volume will synthesise current thinking, and modern techniques, on how, and to what extent, variability in multiple physiological and biological factors over latitudinal, altitudinal and depth gradients, determine species distributions, now and into the future. Concerns aimed at preventing biodiversity loss, and the associated loss of food security, make this a key current research area for all nations.

This meeting will be of interest to a wide range of scientists who study global patterns of diversity and the physiology underpinning these patterns. These scientists will range from the mechanistic physiologists and ecologists through to predictive modellers. By specifically targeting latitudinal, altitudinal and depth related gradients, we expect to attract a broad range of experts and expect the synergies between fields to stimulate cross-field thinking.