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Loss of Deep Sea Species Could Lead to 'Ocean Collapse'
By Wendy Heller, January 2, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Iar.org.uk

In a study published in the journal Current Biology, a global team of scientists revealed the health of ecosystems in the deep sea is directly linked to the diversity of their animal populations.

As a result, the study claims that a loss of species may adversely affect the sustainability of ecosystems such as the production and transport of organic matter higher up the food chain.

"For the first time, we have demonstrated that deep-sea ecosystem functioning is closely dependent upon the number of species inhabiting the ocean floor," said Roberto Danovaro of the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy.

"We need to preserve biodiversity, and especially deep-sea biodiversity, because otherwise the negative consequences could be unprecedented," he added.

Deep sea covers 65 per cent of the earth's surface, with the researchers claiming it supports the planet's largest biomass of living things, including a number of undiscovered species.

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