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Defenders of Wildlife

Deep-sea Species' Loss Could Lead To Oceans' Collapse

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The loss of deep-sea species poses a severe threat to the future of the oceans, suggests a new report publishing early online on December 27th and in the January 8th issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. In a global-scale study, the researchers found some of the first evidence that the health of the deep sea, as measured by the rate of critical ecosystem processes, increases exponentially with the diversity of species living there.

 

For the first time, we have demonstrated that deep-sea ecosystem functioning is closely dependent upon the number of species inhabiting the ocean floor. This shows that we need to preserve biodiversity, and especially deep-sea biodiversity, because otherwise the negative consequences could be unprecedented. We must care about species that are far from us and essentially invisible. Ecosystem functioning involves several processes, which can be summarized as the production, consumption, and transfer of organic matter to higher levels of the food chain, the decomposition of organic matter, and the regeneration of nutrients.- Roberto Danovaro of the Polytechnic University of Marche, in Italy

 

An extensive climate anomaly, which occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean, caused a significant deep-sea biodiversity change. These results indicate that temperature shifts of 0.05-0.1 °C in the deep sea are sufficient to induce significant changes in species richness and functional diversity.

 

Deep-sea fauna are highly vulnerable to environmental alteration, and that very minor temperature shifts in deep-water masses can rapidly and significantly alter both structural and functional deep-sea biodiversity. .

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