Navigation Links
Scientists uncover global distribution of marine biodiversity
Date:7/28/2010

In an unprecedented effort that will be published online on the 28th of July by the international journal Nature, a team of scientists mapped and analyzed global biodiversity patterns for over 11,000 marine species ranging from tiny zooplankton to sharks and whales. The researchers found striking similarities among the distribution patterns, with temperature strongly linked to biodiversity for all thirteen groups studied. These results imply that future changes in ocean temperature, such as those due to climate change, may greatly affect the distribution of life in the sea. The scientists also found a high overlap between areas of high human impact and hotspots of marine diversity.

Much research has been conducted on diversity patterns on land, but our knowledge of the distribution of marine life has been more limited. This has changed through the decade-long efforts of the Census of Marine Life, upon which the current paper builds. The authors synthesized global diversity patterns for major species groups including corals, fishes, whales, seals, sharks, mangroves, seagrasses, and zooplankton. In the process, the global diversity of all coastal fish species has been mapped for the first time.

The researchers were interested in whether there are consistent "biodiversity hotspots" - areas of especially high numbers of species for many different types of marine organisms simultaneously. They found that the distribution of marine life showed two fundamental patterns: coastal species such as corals and coastal fishes tended to peak in diversity around Southeast Asia, whereas open-ocean creatures such as tunas and whales showed much broader hotspots across the mid-latitude oceans.

The scientists also tested whether these global patterns could be consistently explained by one or more environmental factors. Temperature was the only factor found to be linked with the distribution of all species groups, with the availability of habitat also playing a role.

Says lead author Derek Tittensor of Dalhousie University, "it was striking how consistently temperature was linked with marine diversity. This relationship suggests that ocean warming, such as that due to climate change, may rearrange the distribution of oceanic life." Co-author Walter Jetz of Yale University notes "while we are increasingly aware of global gradients in diversity and their associated environmental factors, our knowledge of patterns in the ocean has lagged behind that of patterns on land. Our study attempts to help overcome this disparity."

The study also assessed the overlap between hotspots of marine diversity and human impacts, i.e. the combined effects of fishing, habitat alteration, climate change and pollution. Human impacts were found to be particularly concentrated in areas of high diversity, suggesting the potential for severe species losses in these regions. Says co-author Camilo Mora of Dalhousie University, "the combined effects of exploitation, habitat alteration, pollution and climate change are threatening the diversity of life in the global ocean. Our research provides further evidence that limiting ocean warming and other human impacts will be particularly important in securing these hotspots of marine biodiversity into the future."

Co-author Boris Worm of Dalhousie University also highlights the need to maintain biodiversity in the face of these impacts: "biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems are often tightly coupled, with highly diverse ecosystems providing more goods and services that benefit human beings, as well as being more resilient in the face of disturbance, than less diverse ecosystems. The observed concentration of human impacts in our richest marine areas is a worrying indication of our growing footprint in the oceans."

Many of the data used for this study come from the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS, http://www.iobis.org), a public database created by the Census of Marine Life. Says Edward Vanden Berghe of Rutgers University, co-author of the paper and executive director of OBIS: "with OBIS we've created a framework for sharing and re-using data, which makes this type of global, all-encompassing science possible."


'/>"/>

Contact: Charles Crosby
charles.crosby@dal.ca
902-494-1269
Dalhousie University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
2. Scientists identify novel inhibitor of human microRNA
3. Argonne scientists peer into heart of compound that may detect chemical, biological weapons
4. MU scientists go green with gold, distribute environmentally friendly nanoparticles
5. Scientists identify gene that may contribute to improved rice yield
6. Scientists discover why a mothers high-fat diet contributes to obesity in her children
7. MU scientists see how HIV matures into an infection
8. Earth scientists keep an eye on Texas
9. Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
10. Scientists identify a molecule that coordinates the movement of cells
11. Scientists Find new migratory patterns for Mediterranean and Western Atlantic bluefin tuna
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017  IBM ... Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, Home ... that will apply the power of IBM cognitive computing ... health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors in ... physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings into ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... 21, 2017 Der weltweite Biobanking-Sektor ... Nach einem Gespräch mit mehr als 50 Vertretern aus verschiedenen ... überwinden gilt, um diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... Zu ... der finanziellen Mittel für die Biobank, die Implementierung Zeit ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Genos, a community for personal ... has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College of ... to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around quality, ... processes. "Genos is committed to maintaining ... We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," said ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... NDA Partners Chairman ... former Acting Deputy Director in the FDA CDRH Division of Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and ... the company as an Expert Consultant. , In Dr. Spyker’s accomplished career, he ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Pharma and biotech ... as European director. Operating from Pennside’s Zurich headquarters, Pennside Partners, GmbH, Mr. Perkins ... Pennside after more than a decade with leading market research firm, GfK. He ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... SAN DIEGO , Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... today expansion of its translational research program using ... establishment of laboratory facilities in San Diego.  The ... Diego BioLabs facility, a biotechnology incubator sponsored by ... In November 2016, the Company obtained ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... SILVER SPRING, Md. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., ... UTHR ) today announced its financial results ... 2016. "Our annual 2016 financial results ... billion and earnings exceeded $700 million," said Martine ... Officer. "These financial results strengthen our ability to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: