Understanding MARINE BIODIVERSITY

A Research Agenda for the Nation

Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems
Ocean Studies Board
Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources
Board on Biology
Commission on Life Sciences
National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C. 1995




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--> Understanding MARINE BIODIVERSITY A Research Agenda for the Nation Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems Ocean Studies Board Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources Board on Biology Commission on Life Sciences National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1995

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--> NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competence and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The work was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG02-94ER61738, National Science Foundation's Grant No. OCE-9304519 with a contribution from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research's Grant No. N00014-94-1-0526, Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey's Grant No. 14-45-0009-94-1200. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Understanding marine biodiversity : a research agenda for the nation / Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems. p. cm. "The workshop, entitled Biological Diversity in Marine Systems, was held May 24–26, 1994, at the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in Irvine, California"—Pref. "Ocean Studies Board, Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources; Board on Biology, Commission of Life Sciences, National Research Council." Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. 1. Marine biology—Research—Congresses. 2. Biological diversity—Research—Congresses. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Ocean Studies Board. III. National Research Council (U.S.). Board on Biology. QH91.A1U485 1995 574.92'072—dc20 94-44420 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05225-4 Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COVER ART: "Marine Mardi Gras"© 1994 Barbara Wallace. While growing up on a cattle ranch in rural Trout Lake, Washington, Barbara Wallace developed her love of animals and nature, which has become the subject of her work. Recently she and her family relocated to a small farm in Trout Lake, where they are happily breeding horses and collecting animals of all kinds. Printed in the United States of America

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--> COMMITTEE ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY IN MARINE SYSTEMS CHERYL ANN BUTMAN, Co-Chair, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts JAMES T. CARLTON, Co-Chair, Williams College - Mystic Seaport, Connecticut GEORGE W. BOEHLERT, National Marine Fisheries Service, Monterey, California SUSAN H. BRAWLEY, University of Maine, Orono EDWARD F. DELONG, University of California, Santa Barbara J. FREDERICK GRASSLE, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey JEREMY B.C. JACKSON, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama SIMON A. LEVIN, Princeton University, New Jersey ARTHUR R. M. NOWELL, University of Washington, Seattle ROBERT T. PAINE, University of Washington, Seattle STEPHEN R. PALUMBI, University of Hawaii, Honolulu GEERAT J. VERMEIJ, University of California, Davis LES WATLING, University of Maine, Orono Staff MORGAN GOPNIK, Ocean Studies Board, Study Director as of 5/94 DAVID WILMOT, Ocean Studies Board, Study Director until 5/94 MARY HOPE KATSOUROS, Ocean Studies Board, Director ERIC FISCHER, Board on Biology, Director LAVONCYÉ MALLORY, Ocean Studies Board, Project Assistant

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--> OCEAN STUDIES BOARD WILLIAM MERRELL, Chair, Texas A&M University, Galveston ROBERT A. BERNER, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut DONALD F. BOESCH, University of Maryland, College Park KENNETH BRINK, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts GERALD CANN, Independent Consultant, Rockville, Maryland ROBERT CANNON, Stanford University, California BILIANA CICIN-SAIN, University of Delaware, Newark WILLIAM CURRY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts RANA FINE, University of Miami, Florida JOHN E. FLIPSE, Texas A&M University, Galveston MICHAEL FREILICH, Oregon State University, Corvallis GORDON GREVE, Amoco Production Company, Houston, Texas ROBERT KNOX, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California ARTHUR R. M. NOWELL, University of Washington, Seattle PETER RHINES, University of Washington, Seattle FRANK RICHTER, University of Chicago, Illinois BRIAN ROTHSCHILD, University of Maryland, Solomons THOMAS ROYER, University of Alaska, Fairbanks LYNDA SHAPIRO, University of Oregon, Charleston SHARON SMITH, University of Miami, Florida PAUL STOFFA, University of Texas, Austin Staff MARY HOPE KATSOUROS, Director EDWARD R. URBAN, JR., Staff Officer ROBIN PEUSER, Research Associate MARY PECHACEK, Administrative Associate LAVONCYÉ MALLORY, Senior Secretary CURTIS TAYLOR, Office Assistant ROBIN ALLEN, Senior Project Assistant

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--> COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. GORDON WOLMAN, Chair, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland PATRICK R. ATKINS, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania EDITH BROWN WEISS, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C. JAMES P. BRUCE, Canadian Climate Program Board, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada WILLIAM L. FISHER, University of Texas, Austin EDWARD A. FRIEMAN, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, University of Virginia, Charlottesville W. BARCLAY KAMB, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena PERRY L. MCCARTY, Stanford University, California S. GEORGE PHILANDER, Princeton University, New Jersey RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada THOMAS A. SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park ELLEN SILBERGELD, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, D.C. STEVEN M. STANLEY, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland VICTORIA J. TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director MORGAN GOPNIK, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate

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--> The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is the president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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--> Foreword In 1992, the Ocean Studies Board (OSB) of the National Research Council identified seven issues important to society that ocean scientists can and should address. One of these issues is marine biological diversity, as stated in the OSB report Oceanography in the Next Decade: Building New Partnerships: The ocean comprises a large portion of Earth's biosphere. It hosts a vast diversity of flora and fauna that are critical to Earth's biogeochemical cycles and that serve as an important source of food and pharmaceuticals. In addition to the exciting discoveries of previously unknown biota near hydrothermal vents, many deep-ocean organisms have evolved under relatively stable conditions. Their unique physiologies and biochemistries have not yet been explored adequately, and methods for sampling the more fragile of these species have been developed only in the past decade. Human influence on marine biota has increased dramatically, threatening the stability of coastal ecosystems. Some species have been overharvested; others have been transported inadvertently to areas where they are not indigenous, sometimes resulting in deleterious effects on native species. Still other species are being cultivated commercially, and aquaculture facilities along coastlines are becoming commonplace in some countries. A better understanding of the ecology of marine organisms is urgently needed to prevent irreversible damage to this living resource.1 The White House National Science and Technology Council, through its Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR), also identified biodiversity as a critical issue. The CENR appointed a Subcommittee on Biodiver- 1   National Research Council 1992. Oceanography in the Next Decade: Building New Partnerships. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 3.

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--> sity and Ecosystem Dynamics as a mechanism for federal agencies to coordinate biodiversity research. Because of the importance of marine biological diversity, the OSB and the Board on Biology established a study committee to develop a research strategy to advance our knowledge of factors that affect biological diversity in the ocean. Such a systematic plan is needed to guide research activities toward the common goal of preserving existing diversity in the face of changes brought about by humankind. This report presents the committee's findings and recommendations and includes information and ideas gathered from a broad spectrum of marine scientists. The research agenda described in this report provides a useful blueprint for U.S. government agencies, the CENR Committee on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, the international community, and all those who support and conduct research on biological diversity in marine systems. WILLIAM J. MERRELL CHAIRMAN, OCEAN STUDIES BOARD

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--> Preface Recent widespread changes in the biological diversity of life in the sea are largely due to effects of human activities. Serious concern for the conservation of marine life in the face of rapid population expansion, particularly in coastal regions, and the desire for long-term sustained use of the seas for food, mineral resources, biomedical products, recreation, and other societal needs have motivated marine ecologists and oceanographers to recognize their responsibility to document biodiversity changes and to understand their causes and consequences. The ultimate goal is to improve predictions regarding the magnitude and extent of subsequent alterations to marine biodiversity by human activities. To do this requires a substantially improved understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that create, maintain, and regulate marine biological diversity. Such knowledge is needed to develop conservation and management plans for sustained use by humans of marine habitats and resources that minimize impacts on nature. Over the last half-decade, the awareness of scientists, society, and state and federal governments regarding crucial issues in biodiversity has been elevated through various grass-roots appeals, such as the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (Lubchenco et al., 1991), The Diversity of Life (E.O. Wilson 1992), The Diversity of Oceanic Life: An Evaluative Overview (M.N.A. Peterson, 1992), and the Systematics Agenda 2000 (SA2000, 1994), and through multiagency efforts, such as the Ecosystem Function of Biological Diversity Programme (Diversitas) (di Castri and Younès, 1990; Solbrig, 1991), which has a separately identified marine component (J.F. Grassle et al., 1991), and the Global Marine Biological Diversity Strategy (Norse, 1993). Most recently, two small, independently organized workshops held in 1993—one sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Butman and Carlton, 1993) and one sponsored by the National Research Council's (NRC) Ocean Studies Board (OSB)—spoke in a strong and unified

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--> voice of the urgent need for a national marine biological diversity research program. Responding to cogent arguments and critical needs identified in these and other documents, in November 1993, the OSB and the Board on Biology of the NRC established the Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems to develop the foundation for a national research agenda on this topic based on a workshop of scientists and federal agency representatives. At a meeting held in March 1994, the committee further delineated the purpose of the workshop: to develop a well-defined set of research questions designed to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of changes in marine biological diversity due to effects of human activities, and to provide the knowledge and criteria for assessing and predicting subsequent effects of human stresses on the marine environment. The workshop, entitled Biological Diversity in Marine Systems, was held May 24–26, 1994, at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences in Irvine, California (Appendix A). Fifty-four individuals participated in the workshop (Appendix B), representing a wide spectrum of expertise in the fields of oceanography, marine ecology, molecular biology, systematics, and population biology. Dynamic discussions among workshop participants resulted in gratifying unanimity on some issues, particularly regarding the perceived most important anthropogenic threats to the marine environment. There was also spirited debate, with invaluable input from the participants, and ultimately a sense of accord and direction was established that crystallized the focus, mission, and substance of this proposed research agenda. The overall goals, specific objectives, and recommendations for the next steps in developing a marine biodiversity research initiative are discussed herein. The workshop was the primary vehicle by which information was gathered and consensus was built for this report, and the committee deeply appreciates the creative energy and investment of time by the workshop participants. Although the report was written by the committee, many workshop participants contributed both conceptually and in writing, for which the committee is most grateful. We also thank John Ogden, Rita Colwell, Marjorie Reaka, and John Chapman for their useful input. The committee furthermore acknowledges the valuable support of the NRC staff, particularly Mary Hope Katsouros and David Wilmot of the OSB, Eric Fischer of the BB, and Morgan Gopnik of the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources. Financial support for the project was provided by the NSF, the Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Biological Service. Representatives from these agencies, particularly Phil Taylor, Randall Alberte, and Michael Sissenwine, contributed to the workshop and provided valuable guidance and insight. CHERYL ANN BUTMAN JAMES T. CARLTON CO-CHAIRS

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--> Contents     Executive summary   1 1   Introduction   5     Marine Biodiversity is Changing and it Matters   5     The Depth and Breadth of Underdescribed Marine Biodiversity   8     Significant Opportunities for Forging New Horizons   11 2   Linking Pattern to Process:A Regional-Scale Approach   14     The Spatial Continuum   16     Temporal Considerations   19     Defining the Most Meaningful Scales of Study   20     A Rationale for Studying Several Types of Regional Model Systems   21     Objectives of this Initiative   22 3   Biodiversity Changes due to Anthropogenic Effects: Critical Environmental Issues   24     Fisheries Operations   28     Chemical Pollution and Eutrophication   30     Alterations in Physical Habitat   31     Invasions of Exotic Species   32     Global Climate Change   32

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--> 4   Regionally Defined Model systems: Examples of Habitats   35     Estuaries and Bays   37     Coral Reefs   38     Temperate Zone Rocky Shores   40     Continental Shelves and Slopes   41     Pelagic Open Ocean   42     Deep Sea   44 5   The Critical Role of Taxonomy   46 6   Biodiversity Research Program   49     Conceptual Framework   49     Basic Research Questions   52     Contingent and Reasonable Prediction   54     Approaches   54     Methods   59     Implementation   66     Relationship to Other Programs   69 7   Summary   74     References   76     Appendixes         A Workshop Agenda   97     B Workshop Participants   99     C Acronyms   102     D Glossary   104     Index   107

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Understanding MARINE BIODIVERSITY

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