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College of Sciences

Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Biodiversity, Climate Change and Human Exploitation in the Deep Ocean

Dr. Lisa A. Levin
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

   Over the past 50 years our view of the deep sea has changed dramatically. Once considered homogenous and monotonous, we now recognize that the deep sea holds tremendous habitat heterogeneity from a wealth of topographic, hydrographic, geochemical and biological sources. This heterogeneity represents a major source of biodiversity, which is key to effective functioning of deep-sea ecosystems. The discovery of novel assemblages and ecosystems in recent decades has been accompanied by an expanded human presence in the form of fisheries, energy extraction, bioprospecting and minerals mining. In many cases the destructive consequences of these activities may outpace our rate of exploration and knowledge acquisition. Simultaneously, climate-change induced warming, acidification and deoxygenation are also likely to alter the ability of deep-sea ecosystems to provide key services and recover from disturbance. This talk will discuss the challenges and choices needed to maintain the integrity of deep-sea biodiversity and its functions.

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