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Status of marine biodiversity in the Anthropocene
Luypaert, T.; Hagan, J.G.; McCarthy, M.L.; Poti, M. (2020). Status of marine biodiversity in the Anthropocene, in: Jungblut, S. et al. YOUMARES 9 - The Oceans: Our Research, Our Future. pp. 57-82.
In: Jungblut, S.; Liebich, V.; Bode-Dalby, M. (Ed.) (2020). YOUMARES 9 - The Oceans: Our Research, Our Future. Springer International Publishing: [s.l.]. ISBN 978-3-030-20388-7. XIX, 370 pp., more

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Document type: Conference paper

Author keywords
    Extinction; Defaunation; Biotic homogenization; Conservation; Anthropogenic stressors; Ecosystem function;; Ecosystem service; Marine threats

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    Marine biodiversity plays an important role in providing the ecosystem functions and services which humans derive from the oceans. Understanding how this provisioning will change in the Anthropocene requires knowledge of marine biodiversity patterns. Here, we review the status of marine species diversity in space and time. Knowledge of marine species diversity is incomplete, with only 11% of species described. Nonetheless, marine biodiversity is clearly under threat, and habitat destruction and overexploitation represent the greatest stressors to threatened marine species. Claims that global marine extinction rates are within historical backgrounds and lower than on land may be inaccurate, as fewer marine species have been assessed for extinction risk. Moreover, extinctions and declines in species richness at any spatial scale may inadequately reflect marine diversity trends. Marine local-scale species richness is seemingly not decreasing through time. There are, however, directional changes in species composition at local scales. These changes are non-random, as resident species are replaced by invaders, which may reduce diversity in space and, thus, reduce regional species richness. However, this is infrequently quantified in the marine realm and the consequences for ecosystem processes are poorly known. While these changes in species richness are important, they do not fully reflect humanity’s impact on the marine realm. Marine population declines are ubiquitous, yet the consequences for the functioning of marine ecosystems are understudied. We call for increased emphasis on trends in abundance, population sizes and biomass of marine species to fully characterize the pervasiveness of anthropogenic impacts on the marine realm.

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