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Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services


Worm, B and Barbier, EB and Beaumont, N and Duffy, JE and Folke, C and Halpern, BS and Jackson, JBC and Lotze, HK and Micheli, F and Palumbi, SR and Sala, E and Selkoe, KA and Stachowicz, JJ and Watson, RA, Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services, Science, 314, (5800) pp. 787-790. ISSN 0036-8075 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1126/science.1132294


Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences. We analyzed local experiments, long-term regional time series, and global fisheries data to test how biodiversity loss affects marine ecosystem services across temporal and spatial scales. Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity. Restoration of biodiversity, in contrast, increased productivity fourfold and decreased variability by 21%, on average. We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. Yet available data suggest that at this point, these trends are still reversible.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Ecosystems; Fisheries; Oceanography; Water quality; Marine ecosystems; Recovery potential; Biodiversity; biodiversity; data set; ecosystem service; experimental study; fishery; human activity; marine ecosystem; ocean; population decline; time series
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Watson, RA (Professor Reginald Watson)
ID Code:84051
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:2770
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2013-04-16
Last Modified:2013-04-22

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