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The importance of benthic-pelagic coupling for marine ecosystem functioning in a changing world
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
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Number of Authors: 20
2017 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 23, no 6, 2179-2196 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Benthic-pelagic coupling is manifested as the exchange of energy, mass, or nutrients between benthic and pelagic habitats. It plays a prominent role in aquatic ecosystems, and it is crucial to functions from nutrient cycling to energy transfer in food webs. Coastal and estuarine ecosystem structure and function are strongly affected by anthropogenic pressures; however, there are large gaps in our understanding of the responses of inorganic nutrient and organic matter fluxes between benthic habitats and the water column. We illustrate the varied nature of physical and biological benthic-pelagic coupling processes and their potential sensitivity to three anthropogenic pressures - climate change, nutrient loading, and fishing - using the Baltic Sea as a case study and summarize current knowledge on the exchange of inorganic nutrients and organic material between habitats. Traditionally measured benthic-pelagic coupling processes (e.g., nutrient exchange and sedimentation of organic material) are to some extent quantifiable, but the magnitude and variability of biological processes are rarely assessed, preventing quantitative comparisons. Changing oxygen conditions will continue to have widespread effects on the processes that govern inorganic and organic matter exchange among habitats while climate change and nutrient load reductions may have large effects on organic matter sedimentation. Many biological processes (predation, bioturbation) are expected to be sensitive to anthropogenic drivers, but the outcomes for ecosystem function are largely unknown. We emphasize how improved empirical and experimental understanding of benthic-pelagic coupling processes and their variability are necessary to inform models that can quantify the feedbacks among processes and ecosystem responses to a changing world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 23, no 6, 2179-2196 p.
Keyword [en]
benthic, climate change, ecosystem dynamics, ecosystem function, fishing, nutrient loading, pelagic
National Category
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143433DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13642ISI: 000400445900005PubMedID: 28132408OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143433DiVA: diva2:1107294
Available from: 2017-06-09 Created: 2017-06-09 Last updated: 2017-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Griffiths, Jennifer R.Kadin, MartinaNascimento, Francisco J. A.Bonaglia, StefanoBrüchert, VolkerBlenckner, ThorstenNiiranen, SusaWinder, Monika
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Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant SciencesStockholm Resilience CentreDepartment of Geological SciencesStockholm University Baltic Sea Centre
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