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Plate Tectonics and Shallow Marine Diversity and Endemism, an Actualistic Model

James W. Valentine
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 20, No. 3 (Sep., 1971), pp. 253-264
DOI: 10.2307/2412339
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2412339
Page Count: 12
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Plate Tectonics and Shallow Marine Diversity and Endemism, an Actualistic Model
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Abstract

The present shallow marme biogeographic pattern is geologically transitory and reflects in large part the present state of the geography of continents and of lithospheric plate margins. Provincial boundaries are formed by thermal barriers and by land and deep-sea barriers, all of which are related to or controlled by tectonic patterns. Continental patterns, which greatly affect climate, reflect the patterns of plate tectonic processes. Deep-sea barriers are formed by ocean ridges and transform fault zones, while major oceanic dispersal routes are formed by island arcs associated with subduction zones. Patterns of species diversity can be related to tectonic as well as climatic patterns, presumably because the stability of shallow marine environments varies with the influence of continentality, and this is under tectonic control. In particular it is the stability patterns of light and of nutrients (which directly affect the stability of trophic resource supplies) that correlate best with diversity patterns, and it is suggested that trophic resource stability is the fundamental regulator of species diversity within communities. Past changes in continental relations and sizes, in oceanic sizes, and in the patterns and extent of island-are chains have resulted from plate tectonic processes, and as these relations affect the trophic resource regime there have been corresponding alterations in patterns of both provinciality and diversity

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