Marine biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and carbon cycles

Beaugrand, G, Edwards, M and Legendre, L 2010 Marine biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and carbon cycles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107 (22). 10120-10124.

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Although recent studies suggest that climate change may substantially accelerate the rate of species loss in the biosphere, only a few studies have focused on the potential consequences of a spatial reorganization of biodiversity with global warming. Here, we show a pronounced latitudinal increase in phytoplanktonic and zooplanktonic biodiversity in the extratropical North Atlantic Ocean in recent decades. We also show that this rise in biodiversity paralleled a decrease in the mean size of zooplanktonic copepods and that the reorganization of the planktonic ecosystem toward dominance by smaller organisms may influence the networks in which carbon flows, with negative effects on the downward biological carbon pump and demersal Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Our study suggests that, contrary to the usual interpretation of increasing biodiversity being a positive emergent property promoting the stability/resilience of ecosystems, the parallel decrease in sizes of planktonic organisms could be viewed in the North Atlantic as reducing some of the services provided by marine ecosystems to humans.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 17:56

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