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Title

Global reductions in seafloor biomass in response to climate change

Publication Year

2014

Author(s)
  • Jones, Daniel O. B.
  • Yool, Andrew
  • Wei, Chih-Lin
  • Henson, Stephanie A.
  • Ruhl, Henry A.
  • Watson, Reg A.
  • Gehlen, Marion
Source
GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY Volume: 20 Issue: 6 Pages: 1861-1872 Published: 2014
ISSN
1354-1013 eISSN: 1365-2486
Abstract

Seafloor organisms are vital for healthy marine ecosystems, contributing to elemental cycling, benthic remineralization, and ultimately sequestration of carbon. Deep-sea life is primarily reliant on the export flux of particulate organic carbon from the surface ocean for food, but most ocean biogeochemistry models predict global decreases in export flux resulting from 21st century anthropogenically induced warming. Here we show that decadal-to-century scale changes in carbon export associated with climate change lead to an estimated 5.2% decrease in future (2091-2100) global open ocean benthic biomass under RCP8.5 (reduction of 5.2 Mt C) compared with contemporary conditions (2006-2015). Our projections use multi-model mean export flux estimates from eight fully coupled earth system models, which contributed to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5, that have been forced by high and low representative concentration pathways (RCP8.5 and 4.5, respectively). These export flux estimates are used in conjunction with published empirical relationships to predict changes in benthic biomass. The polar oceans and some upwelling areas may experience increases in benthic biomass, but most other regions show decreases, with up to 38% reductions in parts of the northeast Atlantic. Our analysis projects a future ocean with smaller sized infaunal benthos, potentially reducing energy transfer rates though benthic multicellular food webs. More than 80% of potential deep-water biodiversity hotspots known around the world, including canyons, seamounts, and cold-water coral reefs, are projected to experience negative changes in biomass. These major reductions in biomass may lead to widespread change in benthic ecosystems and the functions and services they provide.

Author Keyword(s)
  • benthic
  • deep-sea
  • macroecology
  • macrofauna
  • megafauna
  • meiofaunal
  • size structure
  • standing stock
KeyWord(s) Plus
  • ABYSSAL NORTHEAST PACIFIC
  • GULF-OF-MEXICO
  • DEEP-SEA
  • BODY-SIZE
  • BACTERIAL ABUNDANCE
  • EXPORT PRODUCTION
  • ATMOSPHERIC CO2
  • OPEN-OCEAN
  • FISHERIES
  • MODEL
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Biodiversity Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences
Adress(es)

[Jones, Daniel O. B.; Yool, Andrew; Henson, Stephanie A.; Ruhl, Henry A.] Univ Southampton, Natl Oceanog Ctr, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England; [Wei, Chih-Lin] Mem Univ Newfoundland, Ctr Ocean Sci, St John, NF A1C 5S7, Canada; [Watson, Reg A.] Univ Tasmania, Inst Marine & Antarctic Studies Taroona, Hobart, Tas 7001, Australia; [Gehlen, Marion] UVSQ Orme Merisiers, CNRS, CEA Saclay, Lab Sci Climat & Environm,CEA,LSCE,IPSL, F-91198 Gif Sur Yvette, France

Reprint Adress

Jones, DOB (reprint author), Univ Southampton, Natl Oceanog Ctr, Waterfront Campus,European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, Hants, England.

Country(ies)
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • United Kingdom
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL), FR636
  • Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l'environnement (LSCE), UMR8212
Accession Number
WOS:000336482700014
uid:/5VDH4MXF
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