The World's oceans play a crucial role for life on the planet. Healthy seas and the services they provide are key to the future development of mankind. Our seas are highly dynamic, structured and complex systems. The seafloor consists of vast shelves and plains with huge mountains, canyons and trenches which dwarf similar structures on land. Ocean currents transport water masses many times larger than all rivers on Earth combined.
In this report, the locations of the most productive fishing grounds in the World - from shallow, coastal waters to the deep and high seas - are compared to projected scenarios of climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, intensity of fisheries, land-based pollution, increase of invasive species infestations and growth in coastal development.Resource Type: Reports
Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation is the first truly circumpolar overview of Arctic biodiversity written for the nonspecialist. It provides the reader with a clear understanding of the importance of the Earth's largest ecoregion and its status in the face of a rapidly changing world.Resource Type: Reports
An international team of research scientists has created a peer-reviewed website, http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/, which tracks multiple changes in the Arctic environment (Fig. 1). While the 2007 loss of summertime sea ice is the most dramatic example, changes are also seen in the atmosphere, on land and in the ocean, and as shifts in location and abundance of Arctic species.Resource Type: Reports
Hotspot Ecosystem Research on the Margins of European Seas (HERMES) was one of the 40 most successful projects under the EU's 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Following completion of the project in March 2009, The HERMES Story is published jointly by HERMES and UNEP to inform policy and decision makers from around the world about the lessons learned and the amazing new insights into deep-sea biodiversity, structure, function and dynamics discovered under HERMES. The HERMES Story highlights the need for concerted action to protect the deep sea against the increasing pressures, threats and impacts from human activities and climate change, and provides inspiration for the development of similar deep-sea research projects in other regions.Resource Type: Reports
Arctic ecosystems are harsh and inhospitable, containing very low species diversity. However, although the habitats are relatively homogeneous throughout the circumpolar Arctic region, differences in species richness and areas of outstanding species richness can be recognised. Analysis of patterns in species diversity can be used to prioritise regions for conservation in the Arctic. Towards this goal, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) programme has been compiling information on the distribution and abundance of species and ecosystems in the Arctic. The work described in this report was designed to complement other ongoing projects and was included in the CAFF V work plan. It was carried out under an EU fellowship at UNEP-WCMC.Resource Type: Reports
An assessment of impacts on Arctic terrestrial ecosystems has emphasized geographical variability in responses of species and ecosystems to environmental change. This variability is usually associated with north-south gradients in climate, biodiversity, vegetation zones, and ecosystem structure and function. It is clear, however, that significant east-west variability in environment, ecosystem structure and function, environmental history, and recent climate variability is also important.Some areas have cooled while others have become warmer.
Overall, the subregional synthesis demonstrates the difficulty of generalizing projections of responses of ecosystem structure and function, species loss, and biospheric feedbacks to the climate system for the whole Arctic region and implies a need for a far greater understanding of the spatial variability in the responses of terrestrial arctic ecosystems to climate change.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The deep sea is the oldest and largest biome on Earth, yet we have little knowledge of the ecosystems and processes in these dark, hidden depths. Only in the last two decades have new technologies enabled scientists to start exploring this last frontier – and their discoveries are fascinating but alarming: the deep sea is teeming with life but is already showing clear signs of anthropogenic impacts despite its remoteness. Many vulnerable deep-sea habitats and communities are being destroyed by fishing and are under threat from increasing exploitation of their mineral and living resources.Resource Type: Reports
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