Biodiversity

Healthy, productive and resilient marine ecosystems are essential to us as they provide economic, scientific, environmental, cultural and ecological benefits to the global human population. Each species has a vital role to play and altering this balance can have serious and sometimes unforeseen implications for the functioning, productivity and ability to withstand stress of the entire ecosystem.

Intensifying pressures from resource exploitation, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change are driving widespread declines in marine biodiversity. We are using our expertise to measure and investigate biodiversity across a range of biological scales, and explore the ecological processes and interactions that support biologically diverse and productive marine ecosystems. This will enable us to understand how and why marine ecosystems change through space and time and what drives their resilience or sensitivity to environmental stress.

Our research is also expanding understanding of the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the huge range of services and benefits that we derive from marine ecosystems, ranging from food provision to climate regulation and recreational opportunities.

Making a difference

Before we can identify the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems we first need to appreciate the extent to which marine biodiversity, community structure and ecosystem processes vary naturally through space and time. PML scientists are expanding this knowledge-base which will increase our ability to predict and ameliorate the consequences of human impacts on the marine environment and potentially help to incorporate the economic value of biodiversity into mainstream decision-making.

Projects

Benthic acidification
Completed

Benthic acidification: UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme

Contact: Professor Steve Widdicombe

The aim of this consortium project, as part of the UK Ocean Acidfication Research Programme was to quantify, predict and communicate the impact of...

Developing a model based understanding of ecosystem service regulation

Developing a model based understanding of ecosystem service regulation

Contact: Dr Jorn Bruggeman

The world's oceans and seas are home to highly diverse ecosystems and are characterised by the richness and abundance of species. Marine...

National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) - Carbon Cycles
Completed

National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) - Carbon Cycles

Contact: Professor Icarus Allen

The goal of the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) project is to understand physical and biological processes involving the carbon cycle,...

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News

Is valuing biodiversity a useful way to manage and conserve marine resources

Intensifying pressures from resource exploitation, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change are driving widespread declines in marine biodiversity. Concurrently, valuing ‘ecosystem services’, the benefits that people gain from ecosystems, is gaining popularity as a c...

News

Developing innovative tools to understand marine biodiversity and good environmental status

PML scientists are involved in a new EU funded project DEVOTES which aims to improve our knowledge about how human activities and global change impact marine biodiversity.

News

Southern Ocean Atlas

A new biogeographic atlas was released yesterday, providing a comprehensive audit of marine life in the Southern Ocean.

Selected key publications

Clarke KR, Gorley RN, Somerfield PJ, Warwick, RM. 2014. Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 3rd edn. PRIMER-E, Plymouth. 256 pp.

Somerfield PJ, Warwick RM. 2013. Meiofauna Techniques. Chapter 6 in: Eleftheriou A (ed) Methods for the study of Marine Benthos, 4th Edn. Wiley-Blackwell Ltd, Oxford. pp 253-284.

Gilbert JA, Steele JA, Caporaso JG, Steinbrück L, Reeder J, Temperton B, Huse S, McHardy A, Knight R, Joint IR, Somerfield P, Fuhrman JA, Field D. 2012. Defining seasonal marine microbial community dynamics. ISME Journal 6: 298-308.

Magurran AE, Baillie SR, Buckland ST, Dick JMcP, Elston DA, Scott EMS, Smith RI, Somerfield PJ, Watt A. 2010. Long-term datasets in biodiversity research and monitoring: assessing change in ecological communities through time. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 574-582.

Clarke KR, Somerfield PJ, Gorley RN. 2008. Testing of null hypotheses in exploratory community analyses: similarity profiles and biota-environment linkage. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 366:56-69.

Claudet J, Osenberg CW, Benedetti-Cecchi L, Domenici P, García-Charton JA, Pérez-Ruzafa A, Badalamenti F, Bayle-Sempere J, Bulleri F, Culioli J-M, Dimech M, Falcón JM, Guala I, Milazzo M, Sánchez-Meca J, Somerfield PJ, Stobart B, Vandeperre F, Planes S. 2008. Marine reserves: size does matter. Ecology Letters 11: 481-489.

Nagelkerken I, Blaber S, Bouillon S, Green P, Haywood M, Kirton LG, Meynecke J-O, Pawlik J, Penrose HM, Sasekumar A, Sivasothi N, Somerfield PJ. 2008. The habitat function of mangroves for terrestrial and marine fauna: a review. Aquatic Botany 89: 155-185.

Clarke KR, Somerfield PJ, Chapman MG. 2006. On resemblance measures for ecological studies, including taxonomic dissimilarities and a zero-adjusted Bray-Curtis measure for denuded assemblages. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 330: 55-80.

Warwick RM, Platt HM, Somerfield PJ. 1998. Freeliving marine nematodes. Part III. Monhysterids. Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 53. Field Studies Council, Shrewsbury, UK. 296pp.

Related recent publications

  1. Calder-Potts, R; Spicer, JI; Calosi, P; Findlay, HS; Widdicombe, S. 2015 A mesocosm study investigating the effects of hypoxia and population density on respiration and reproductive biology in the brittlestar Amphiura filiformis. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 534. 135-147. 10.3354/meps11379
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  2. Turley, CM. 2016 The Risk of Ocean Acidification to Ocean Ecosystems. In: The Open Ocean: Status and Trends. United Nations Environment Programme, 193-205.
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  3. Birchenough, SNR; Williamson, P; Turley, CM. 2017 Review of ocean acidification. Foresight Future of the Sea Project, Government Office Science.. Review of ocean acidification. Foresight Future of the Sea Project, Government Office Science..
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  4. Werner, K; Fritz, M; Morata, N; Keil, K; Pavlov, A; Peeken, I; Nikolopoulos, A; Findlay, HS; Kedra, M; Majaneva, S; Renner, A; Hendricks, S; Jacquot, M; Nicolaus, M; O'Regan, M; Sampei, M; Wegner, S. 2016 Arctic in Rapid Transition: Priorities for the future of marine and coastal research in the Arctic.. Polar Science, 10 (3). 364-373. 10.1016/j.polar.2016.04.005
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  5. Rastelli, E; Corinaldesi, C; Dell’Anno, A; Amaro, T; Queiros, AM ; Widdicombe, S; Danovaro, R. 2015 Impact of CO2 leakage from sub-seabed carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) reservoirs on benthic virus–prokaryote interactions and functions. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6. 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00935
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