A Scientific Basis for Conservation of Marine Biodiversity
Marine biodiversity has emerged as a hot topic in ecology over the last five years, in part because of concern over biodiversity loss and deterioration of ocean function. Nonetheless, there is currently little scientific basis for marine conservation in cold ocean environments and decisions regarding prioritization are typically made based on static measures rather than on processes. Thus, there is often greater concern for charismatic or economically valuable species and habitats rather than establishing an understanding of processes that underlie persistence of populations, communities, and habitats while developing objective predictive tools that can assist scientists and managers in protecting and managing marine biodiversity. I propose to utilize new technologies - specifically ocean observatories and manipulative laboratory and field experiments - to improve our understanding of key sources of new recruits, the role of habitats needed for some species to flourish, and to establish approaches that will allow us to extrapolate from individual measurements to broader understanding of factors that contribute to the health of seafloor environments. Experimental work in field and laboratory settings will examine larval transport and settlement processes and how these variables contribute to population structure and patterns of biodiversity, why some environments are hotspots of biodiversity where others are not, and how living organisms interact with their environment to maintain ocean health and production. Oceans are directly relevant to the economic and social well-being of Canadians on all three of Canada's coasts and are indirectly critical to all Canadians (e.g., climate regulation, food supply). Improved understanding of marine ecosystems in this region will lead to better management and predictive ability, and provide a more comprehensive perspective on the critical biodiversity resource that resides on the marine seafloor.
01 Jan 2007
31 Dec 2011
Fishing, hunting and trapping
Strategic Research Theme
Oceans, Fisheries and Aquaculture