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Keywords:

  • Altitude gradients;
  • body size;
  • latitude gradients;
  • randomization test

Testing for a relationship between the body size of animals and a gradient such as latitude is complicated by the fact that typically there is a single average size for each species, and each species occurs at several sample stations over the gradient. This results in standard tests for statistical significance being invalid. This problem can be overcome by using a randomization test. A more difficult problem, however, is determining whether the relationship between size and latitude is the same for two subfamilies of species. In this paper a general method for relating body size to latitude and subfamily differences is proposed, with the significance of effects determined by randomization. A simulation study suggests that this procedure has good properties. This approach to data analysis has promise both for the particular situation considered and for other related problems in biogeography.