Pelagic ecosystems play a fundamental role in modulating the global environment via their regulatory effects on the Earth’s climate and their role in biogeochemical cycling. Recent global climate change has refocused concerns about the potential effect of environmental change on pelagic communities such as changes in biodiversity or community composition that can alter ecosystem properties and the goods and services they provide. Therefore, biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research in marine systems is urgently needed at a time when the pelagic realm is known to be responding to climate change, especially for key trophic groups. The aims of this project are 1) to investigate geographic co-variations in copepod species diversity and the mean community body size structure at a global scale and their effects on carbon export, 2) to integrate these global diversity patterns across different trophic levels (from phytoplankton to fish), 3) to evaluate the influence of climate and environment on global marine biodiversity and the carbon cycle, and 4) to forecast potential shifts in distribution of pelagic biodiversity under different climate change scenarios to predict future changes in ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services. For the data analysis, cutting edge statistical modelling techniques will be used to evaluate the spatial distribution of a species, together with changes in biodiversity and ecosystem function under different climate change scenarios. The results of this study will enable, for the first time, to assess the relationships between pelagic biodiversity, mean community size structure and the functioning of the ecosystems at a global scale and as a consequence yield a key insight to how climate-induced effects in the plankton may affect global carbon cycling providing important data for models of global climate change.
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