Bartlein, 1992; Valentine and Jablonski, 1993). The use of such existing samples or data sets will allow examination of temporal and spatial scales precluded by short-lived grants, and may also prove to be less expensive than new field studies.

In summary, the historical approaches outlined here offer a perspective on marine biological diversity at longer time scales. They place taxonomic, ecological, and biogeographical studies in a larger framework in which the appearance and disappearance of species can be linked to known mechanisms and events of environmental change.

Linking Biotic Surveys with Ecological and Oceanographic Experiments

Within a regional system, taxonomic surveys of those taxa fundamental to pattern-level and process-level questions should be done as an integral part of the research program. In this sense, biotic surveys are vitally linked to the ecological and oceanographic regional-scale approach identified here.

Many biotic surveys currently exist through fisheries or agency-based activities. Fishery research vessel cruises, for example, sample the ocean widely but typically target a relatively narrow range of species; with additional effort these surveys could be expanded to include more comprehensive biological sampling. Similarly, sampling from fishing vessels, many of which have scientific observers on board, would be an additional source of information.

Marine fisheries also represent one of the greatest manipulations of marine ecosystems by the human race. Management approaches take into account not only biological, but also social, economic, and international considerations. Although not widely applied, the approach of adaptive fisheries management, where fish populations are manipulated to learn about the processes regulating their population sizes (Walters and Hilborn, 1978; Collie, 1991), would provide excellent opportunities for studying attendant biodiversity-related issues within the context of this initiative. In a similar manner, some research under this initiative should take advantage of fishery management regimes to examine ecosystem response carefully and to monitor, and ultimately predict, the consequences in terms of biodiversity.


Studying the effects of environmental change and anthropogenic activities on regional-scale marine biodiversity and the consequences to ecosystem function presents unique conceptual and methodological challenges. Much previous ecological work has focused on relatively circumscribed spatial/temporal scales that do not adequately account for the vast geographic ranges of many species. Conversely, relevant spatial scales for smaller organisms and microorganisms have often been inadequately described and undersampled. In addition, although

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