Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
A new study quantifies for the first time future losses in deep-sea marine life, using advanced climate models. Results show that even the most remote deep-sea ecosystems are not safe from the impacts of climate change.
An international team of scientists predict seafloor dwelling marine life will decline by up to 38 per cent in the North Atlantic and over five per cent globally over the next century. These changes will be driven by a reduction in the plants and animals that live at the surface of the oceans that feed deep-sea communities. As a result, ecosystem services such as fishing will be threatened.
In the study, led by the National Oceanography Centre, the team used the latest suite of climate models to predict changes in food supply throughout the world oceans. They then applied a relationship between food supply and biomass calculated from a huge global database of marine life.
The results of the study are published this week in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.
These changes in seafloor communities are expected despite living on average four kilometres under the surface of the ocean. This is because their food source, the remains of surface ocean marine life that sink to the seafloor, will dwindle because of a decline in nutrient availability. Nutrient supplies will suffer because of climate impacts such as a slowing of the global ocean circulation, as well as increased separation between water masses - known as 'stratification' - as a result of warmer and rainier weather.
Lead author Dr Daniel Jones says: "There has been some speculation about climate change impacts on the seafloor, but we wanted to try and make numerical projections for these changes and estimate specifically where they would occur.
"We were expecting some negative changes around the world, but the extent of changes, particularly in the North Atlantic, were staggering. Globally we are talking about losses of marine life weighing more than every person on the planet put together."
The projected changes in marine life are not consistent across the world, but most areas will experience negative change. Over 80 per cent of all identified key habitats - such as cold-water coral reefs, seamounts and canyons - will suffer losses in total biomass. The analysis also predicts that animals will get smaller. Smaller animals tend to use energy less efficiently, thereby impacting seabed fisheries and exacerbating the effects of the overall declines in available food.
The study was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of the Marine Environmental Mapping Programme (MAREMAP), and involved researchers from the National Oceanography Centre, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, the University of Tasmania, and the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, France.
Jones, D.O.B., Yool, A., Wei, C-L., Henson, S.A., Ruhl, H.A., Watson, R.A., Gehlen, M. (2013) Global reductions in seafloor biomass in response to climate change, Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12480
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Biology / Biochemistry category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Centre, National Oceanography. "Major reductions in seafloor marine life from climate change by 2100." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 2 Jan. 2014. Web.
16 Apr. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/270730>
Centre, N. (2014, January 2). "Major reductions in seafloor marine life from climate change by 2100." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/270730.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.