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The role of sustained observations in tracking impacts of environmental change on marine biodiversity and ecosystems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Heather SugdenORCiD


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Marine biodiversity currently faces unprecedented threats from multiple pressures arising from human activities. Global drivers such as climate change and ocean acidification interact with regional eutro-phication, exploitation of commercial fish stocks and localized pressures including pollution, coastal development and the extraction of aggregates and fuel, causing alteration and degradation of habitats and communities. Segregating natural from anthropogenically induced change in marine ecosystems requires long-term, sustained observations of marine biota. In this review, we outline the history of biological recording in the coastal and shelf seas of the UK and Ireland and highlight where sustained observations have contributed new understanding of how anthropogenic activities have impacted on marine biodiversity. The contributions of sustained observations, from those collected at observatories, single station platforms and multiple-site programmes to the emergent field of multiple stressor impacts research, are discussed, along with implications for management and sustainable governance of marine resources in an era of unprecedented use of the marine environment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mieszkowska N, Sugden H, Firth LB, Hawkins SJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Year: 2014

Volume: 372

Print publication date: 28/09/2014

Online publication date: 25/08/2014

ISSN (print): 0962-8436

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2970

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2013.0339


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Funder referenceFunder name
Natural Resources Wales for MarClim related activities
SWAT network
Marine Biological Association Research Fellowship
Natural England
NE/J024082/1NERC Velocity of Climate Change Research