Marine Biodiversity  Halflogo2

Recent studies on the pelagic biodiversity of zooplankton copepods have shown their abundance and distribution is highly correlated with temperature.  An increase in warming over the last few decades has been followed by an increase in the overall biodiversity of copepod species.  It has also been found that there is a direct link between diversity and the size- structure of organisms. 

Warmer water communities show more diversity, smaller size fractions and a more complex food web structure than those communities living in cooler waters.  Cold water regions have simpler food webs and lower biodiversity , which historically has supported large populations of exploitable fish eg. Atlantic cod and resulted in a dependable economy.  Therefore an increase in biodiversity could be detrimental to these fish stocks.

A reduction in the overall size of the zooplankton organisms can potentially reduce the amount of carbon being processed to the deep ocean through the biological pump. 

These large scale changes are impacting on the structure and functioning of pelagic ecosystem.  This will affect our fisheries economy and other marine ecosystem services.

C Helgolandicus Female Calanus Finmarchicus Euchaeta Photo Oithona _photo Acartia _photo

Further information: Beaugrand G., Edwards M. and Legendre L. (2010) Marine Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and carbon cycles.  PNAS 107 (22) 10120-10124