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Ecosystem functioning and biodiversity
Heip, C.H.R.; Brandt, A.; Gattuso, J.P.; Antia, A.; Berger, W.H.; Boissonnas, J.; Burkill, P.H.; d'Ozouville, L.; Graf, G.; Herndl, G.J.; Patching, J.; Reise, K.; Riou, G.; Simó, R.; Smetacek, V.; Wassmann, P. (2003). Ecosystem functioning and biodiversity, in: Wefer, G. et al. (Ed.) Marine science frontiers for Europe. pp. 289-302
In: Wefer, G.; Lamy, F.; Mantoura, F. (Ed.) (2003). Marine science frontiers for Europe. Springer: Berlin. ISBN 3-540-40168-7. 302 pp., more

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Document type: Conference paper


Authors  Top 
  • Heip, C.H.R., more
  • Brandt, A., more
  • Gattuso, J.P., more
  • Antia, A.
  • Berger, W.H.
  • Boissonnas, J.
  • Burkill, P.H., more
  • d'Ozouville, L., more
  • Graf, G., more
  • Herndl, G.J., more
  • Patching, J.
  • Reise, K., more
  • Riou, G.
  • Simó, R.
  • Smetacek, V.
  • Wassmann, P.

    The task of working group 4 was to examine the relationship between ecosystem functioning and biodiversity in marine systems. The definition of biodiversity used by the working group is the biological variability in ecosystems as the genetic, species and habitat level. The inventory of marine life is much closer to completion in Europe than in many other areas but some geographic areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea, and specific taxa, mostly in the small size range (viruses, bacteria and protists), require more exploration. Also required is a European synthesis, including studies of both horizontal and vertical gradients of biodiversity, as well as the relationship between diversity and environmental data. The most efficient manner to investigate how species impact ecosystem functioning is to understand the role of the relatively few key organisms. These species should be identified and preferentially attract the attention of ecologists and biological oceanographers. Their study would provide a functional understanding that could be used to model and predict the response of marine ecosystems to global environmental change. In addition to global issues, working group 4 also examined a large range of regional and local issues that also require attention because it is at these scales that most burning societal questions occur. The working group identified a need for additional support to strengthen existing large-scale research infrastructures and establish new ones. In the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic coast. These are invaluable tools to investigate the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Finally, the loss of taxonomic expertise due to the declining number of marine systematists should be a matter of great concern to Europe, which must be dealt with urgently.

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