Marine Ecosystems

Marine ecosystems are fundamental to the large role the oceans play in regulating the climate system. For example, the oceans contain many times more carbon than the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems combined, and are thus critical in regulating the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change will have broad effects on marine ecosystems, their capacity to take up CO2 from the atmosphere, and the diverse ecosystem services they provide to society. These ecosystem effects will be driven by projected changes in ocean temperature, circulation (Bryden et al., 2005), storms, and chemistry (Doney et al., 2009). Unlike on land, the majority of food that humans derive from the sea is still harvested from wild populations (FAO, 2008). Therefore, the oceans' capacity to provide seafood, a major protein source for more than a billion people, will be directly affected by climate impacts on marine ecosystems (see Chapter 10).

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