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Ecosystem function and services provided by the deep sea
Thurber, A.R.; Sweetman, A.K.; Narayanaswamy, B.E.; Jones, D.O.B.; Ingels, J.; Hansman, R.L. (2014). Ecosystem function and services provided by the deep sea. Biogeosciences 11(14): 3941–3963.
In: Gattuso, J.P.; Kesselmeier, J. (Ed.) Biogeosciences. Copernicus Publications: Göttingen. ISSN 1726-4170, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Thurber, A.R.
  • Sweetman, A.K.
  • Narayanaswamy, B.E., more
  • Jones, D.O.B.
  • Ingels, J., more
  • Hansman, R.L.

    The deep sea is often viewed as a vast, dark, remote, and inhospitable environment, yet the deep ocean and seafloor are crucial to our lives through the services and provisions that they provide. Our understanding of how the deep sea functions remains limited, but when treated synoptically, a diversity of provisioning, regulating and cultural services become apparent. The biological pump transports carbon from the atmosphere into deep-ocean water masses which are separated over prolonged periods, reducing the impact of anthropogenic carbon release. Microbial oxidation of methane keeps another potent greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere while trapping carbon in authigenic carbonates. Nutrient regeneration by all faunal size classes provides the elements necessary to fuel surface productivity and fisheries, and microbial processes detoxify a diversity of compounds. Each of these processes occur on a very small scale, yet considering the vast area over which they occur they become important for the global functioning of the ocean. The deep sea also provides a diversity of resources, including fish stocks, enormous bioprospecting potential, and elements and energy reserves that are currently being extracted and will be increasingly important in the near future. Society benefits from the intrigue and mystery, the strange life forms, and the great unknown which has acted as a muse for inspiration and imagination since near the beginning of civilization. While many functions occur on the scale of microns to meters and time scales up to years, the derived services that result are only useful after centuries of integrated activity. This vast dark habitat, that covers the majority of the globe, harbors processes that directly impact humans in a diversity of ways, however the same traits that differentiate it from terrestrial or shallow marine systems also result in a greater need for integrated spatial and temporal understanding as it experiences increased use by society.

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