S11: Benthic and pelagic system responses in a changing ocean: From genes to ecosystem level functioning
Steve Widdicombe (Marine Ecology and Biodiversity, Plymouth Marine Lab, UK)
The rapid climate change we are experiencing today poses a major threat to Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Ongoing global change is expected to shift the average levels of pCO2, temperature, pH or oxygen by regionally-variable amounts and also to increase the occurrence and intensity of transient extreme events causing species extinction and range shifts with economic impacts. It has recently been suggested that increased variation, rather than changes in mean values, may represent the greater threat to species survival, stressing the need to experimentally study the effects of both environmental variations and extreme events on ecosystems and their functioning. Along with overfishing and deoxygenation at local scales, biological invasions form one of the principal components of global change. Disease occurrence (pathogens, parasites) among hosts including algae, corals and sponges can substantially increase with ocean warming. This session invites contributions from marine biologists and ecologists to bring diverse expertise and new perspectives to a subject of global significance. We encourage submissions from field, laboratory, and mesocosm studies that offer new insights into the functioning of benthic and pelagic ecosystems at the genetic, population, community and ecosystem scale under biotic and abiotic stressors.