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Patterns of abundance across geographical ranges as a predictor for responses to climate change: Evidence from UK rocky shores

Vye, Siobhan R.; Dickens, Stephanie; Adams, Leoni; Bohn, Katrin; Chenery, Jade; Dobson, Nicola; Dunn, Ruth E.; Earp, Hannah S.; Evans, Megan; Foster, Charlotte; Grist, Hannah; Holt, Ben; Hull, Sue; Jenkins, Stuart R.; Lamont, Peter; Long, Sarah; Mieszkowska, Nova; Millard, Justine; Morrall, Zoe; Pack, Kathryn; Parry?Wilson, Hannah; Pocklington, Jacqueline; Pottas, Jane; Richardson, Leonie; Scott, Abigail; Sugden, Heather; Watson, Gordon; West, Victoria; Winton, Debbie; Delany, Jane; Burrows, Michael T.


Siobhan R. Vye

Stephanie Dickens

Leoni Adams

Katrin Bohn

Jade Chenery

Ruth E. Dunn

Hannah S. Earp

Megan Evans

Charlotte Foster

Hannah Grist

Ben Holt

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Dr Sue Hull
Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology and Ecology/ Programme Director, Marine Biology

Stuart R. Jenkins

Peter Lamont

Sarah Long

Nova Mieszkowska

Justine Millard

Zoe Morrall

Kathryn Pack

Hannah Parry?Wilson

Jacqueline Pocklington

Jane Pottas

Leonie Richardson

Abigail Scott

Heather Sugden

Gordon Watson

Victoria West

Debbie Winton

Jane Delany

Michael T. Burrows


April Blakeslee


Understanding patterns in the abundance of species across thermal ranges can give useful insights into the potential impacts of climate change. The abundant‐centre hypothesis suggests that species will reach peak abundance at the centre of their thermal range where conditions are optimal, but evidence in support of this hypothesis is mixed and limited in geographical and taxonomic scope. We tested the applicability of the abundant‐centre hypothesis across a range of intertidal organisms using a large, citizen science‐generated data set.


Species' abundance records were matched with their location within their thermal range. Patterns in abundance distribution for individual species, and across aggregated species abundances, were analysed using Kruskal–Wallis tests and quantile general additive models.

Individually, invertebrate species showed increasing abundances in the cooler half of the thermal range and decreasing abundances in the warmer half of the thermal range. The overall shape for aggregated invertebrate species abundances reflected a broad peak, with a cool‐skewed maximum abundance. Algal species showed little evidence for an abundant‐centre distribution individually, but overall the aggregated species abundances suggested a hump‐backed abundance distribution.

Main Conclusions
Our study follows others in showing mixed support for the abundant‐centre hypothesis at an individual species level, but demonstrates an increased predictability in species responses when an aggregated overall response is considered.


Vye, S. R., Dickens, S., Adams, L., Bohn, K., Chenery, J., Dobson, N., …Burrows, M. T. (2020). Patterns of abundance across geographical ranges as a predictor for responses to climate change: Evidence from UK rocky shores. Diversity and Distributions, 26(10), 1357-1365.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 24, 2020
Publication Date 2020-10
Deposit Date Jun 29, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 29, 2020
Journal Diversity and Distributions
Print ISSN 1366-9516
Electronic ISSN 1472-4642
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 10
Pages 1357-1365
Keywords Abundant‐centre hypothesis; Algae; Citizen science; Intertidal; Invertebrates; Thermal niche
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 2019-11-04; Accepted: 2020-05-29; Published: 2020-06-24


Published article (749 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 The Authors. Diversity and Distributions published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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