Marine Biodiversity

Biodiversity is now commonly defined as the variety of life in genes, species and habitats. According to the definition of the Convention on Biological Diversity, biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. The three domains of life, bacteria, archaea and eukarya are present in the marine environment. In addition there are viruses. About 230,000 species of marine plants and animals have been scientifically described and a few thousand bacteria and archaea. This known biodiversity only represents a small fraction of the number of species existing, except for the macrophytes and seagrasses which are living in coastal environments and, in general, for the pelagic environment. Species diversity in the oceanic pelagic environment is extremely low. Habitat diversity and the number of marine habitats are difficult to define. Studies of zonation have typically demonstrated the existence of very narrow zones in intertidal areas, where direct observation is possible, and broader and broader zones as one goes deeper. Marine ecosystems deliver a series of services that are essential to the proper functioning of the Earth. These include the production and mineralization of organic material, the storage of carbon, the storage of pollutants and waste products from land, the buffering of the climate and of climate change, coastal protection (mangroves, dune-beach systems, coral reefs). Most of these services are delivered by microscopic organisms. Marine Biodiversity research an important product of marine biodiversity research should be the necessary knowledge and tools for adequately managing and protecting marine biodiversity. This requires knowledge on genetic and ecological mechanisms that control biodiversity (gene flow, dispersal, adaptive value of genetic polymorphisms, determination of dispersal and recruitment, species interactions including invasions, sediment transport, natural and human-induced catastrophes, etc.). It also requires knowledge on the functional role of biodiversity.

 

  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Ecology & Evolution
  • Diversity of Fishes
  • Marine Environment
  • Marine Mineral Studies

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