IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research


Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Print this page

Growth of marine ectotherms is regionally constrained and asymmetric with latitude
Reed, A.J.; Godbold, J.A.; Grange, L.J.; Solan, M. (2021). Growth of marine ectotherms is regionally constrained and asymmetric with latitude. Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 30(3): 578-589.
In: Global Ecology and Biogeography. Blackwell Science: Oxford. ISSN 1466-822X; e-ISSN 1466-8238, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    biogeography, climate change, growth, macroecology, macrophysiology, physiology, regionally constrained, resource management

Authors  Top 
  • Reed, A.J.
  • Godbold, J.A.
  • Grange, L.J.
  • Solan, M., more


    Growth rates of organisms are routinely used to summarize physiological performance, but the consequences of local evolutionary history and ecology are largely missed by analyses on wide biogeographical scales. This broad approach has been commonly applied to other physiological parameters across terrestrial and aquatic environments. Here, we examine growth rates of marine bivalves across all biogeographical realms, latitude, and temperature, with analyses to determine regional effects on growth on global scales.


    Global: marine ecosystems.

    Time period


    Major taxa



    We use a comprehensive data set of bivalve growth parameters (n = 966, 243 species) representing all biogeographical realms to calculate overall growth performances. We use these data with environmental temperature to analyse global patterns in growth, accounting for regional primary productivity and phylogeny using general additive mixed and linear models. The Arrhenius relationship and corresponding activation energies are used to quantify the sensitivity to temperature in each biogeographical realm and province.


    Our analyses show that bivalve growth demonstrates latitudinal asymmetry and exhibits nonlinear relationships with latitude. We find that overall growth performance is affected by temperature and particulate organic carbon, but the form of these relationships differs with phylogeny. Growth is slower and more sensitive to increasing temperature in the Antarctic than it is in the Arctic, and decreases with increasing temperature in some tropical realms, a previously unidentified and fundamental difference in growth and physiological sensitivity.

    Main conclusions

    Our findings provide compelling evidence that the widely used curvilinear relationship between temperature and growth rates in marine ectotherms is an inappropriate descriptor of thermal sensitivity, because it normalizes regional variations in physiological performance. Without a more detailed assessment of global physiological patterns, the responses of species to local variations associated with climate change will be under-appreciated in global assessments of climate risk, minimizing the effectiveness of management and conservation.

All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors