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Research project


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Project overview

Marine biodiversity sustains global ecological equilibria (e.g., carbon sequestration and climate regulation), and drives several other key regulating, supporting, provisioning, and cultural Ecosystem Services (ES) profoundly linked to the health of human society. We now know that marine biodiversity and ecosystems, which evolve in a fluid and highly dynamic environment, are changing at a faster rate than terrestrial ecosystems, affected by the cumulative impacts of global (i.e., ocean warming, deoxygenation, acidification, freshening) and local (e.g., pollutants, exploitation of natural resources, ocean sprawl) anthropogenic stressors, leaving only 13% of the ocean devoid of human impacts. Paradoxically, we are still blind to the extraordinary richness of marine life and its functioning, simply due to the lack of methods to assess it as a whole until recently, and the difficulty of measuring underwater life across the extremely broad taxonomic and dynamic spatial scales of marine ecosystems. The technologies required to do this now exist, including eDNA/RNA sequencing, automated imaging, acoustics and remote sensing, massive computing power, Artificial Intelligence, and complex-system modelling. Together, these allow us to consistently measure and interpret marine biodiversity from viruses to whales, from molecules to species and their interactions, across spatio-temporal scales. Acquiring knowledge of the principles governing the structure, dynamics, resilience and evolution of marine life is essential to develop solid theories and predictive models of the relationships between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions (EF), which will lead to improved economic valuation and protection of marine life. The overarching goal of BIOcean5D is to generate the data, knowledge, theory, monitoring and modelling tools necessary to sustainably measure, understand, value, and predict marine biodiversity across the 5 dimensions (5D) of space, time, and human environmental pressures, enabling ecosystem-based management and long-term preservation.


Other researchers

Dr Ben Ward

Principal Research Fellow

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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