Dynamics of marine ecosystems: ecological processes
GLOBEC studies focused on biological—physical interactions of target species in different study regions, emphasizing responses of organisms to varying physical forces. Population‐level processes were shown to be important, with ecological responses often being ecosystem‐specific. The timing of biological events (e.g. spring bloom, entry/exit from diapause, and fish spawning) is susceptible to environmental change. Many species can adapt their feeding modes and diets, but changes in mortality imposed by heavy fishing can disrupt biological systems, making them increasingly vulnerable to perturbations. Some organisms can move away from unfavourable conditions, changing the vertical and horizontal linkages between disparate ecosystems with unknown consequences. Trophic controls in food webs vary over time and space and food web structures also change, both over the short term and through shifts in regimes, sometimes irreversibly. There is an ongoing requirement to integrate ecological processes, from biogeochemistry to top predators, to understand potential consequences of global change.
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