In hushed tones the narrator describes the intricate details of yet another highly specialized relationship between one species of indescribable beauty and a second species with intricate behaviour that is about to eat/infect/cooperate with/exploit it [delete as appropriate].
The camera view pulls back to reveal the green cathedral of a tropical rainforest:
“The tropics” continues the narrator “are special…….…”
Yes, the tropics are special. But how special? Or more to the point, how different are tropical communities to temperate communities? Over at the Dynamic Ecology blog, Jeremy Fox has invited Angela Moles and myself to contribute a guest blog on the subject of whether the idea that species interactions are always stronger and more specialized in the tropics is outmoded and not backed up by the evidence. In Jeremy’s parlance, is it a zombie idea?
The subject of latitudinal variation in species interactions is one that has interested me for a while and I’ve written a few papers on the topic, especially in relation to how plant-pollinator interactions vary with latitude. You’ll find references to some of them in the Dynamic Ecology piece, plus a fuller over view of our arguments.
So what are you doing reading this? Get over to Dynamic Ecology and read that!