PerspectiveEcology

How latitude affects biotic interactions

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Science  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6345, pp. 1328-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan6356

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Summary

Are biotic interactions, such as competition and predation, stronger in the tropics than at higher latitudes? Biologists have long speculated that more intense interactions tend to occur at lower rather than at higher latitudes as a result of year-round warm and wet conditions near the equator, particularly in lowland tropical rainforests (1). This idea is now well established in the ecological literature (1, 2), but recent debate has questioned whether such a latitudinal gradient in biotic interactions actually exists (3). On page 1389 of this issue, LaManna et al. provide evidence that the intensity of at least some types of biotic interactions are indeed stronger closer to the equator (4).