• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Weaving marine food webs from end to end under global change

Journal of Marine Systems (2011)
Moloney C, St John M, Denman K, Karl D, Köster F, Sundby S and Wilson R
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2010.06.012
Vol 84, Issues 3-4: pp. 106-116

Marine food web dynamics are determined by interactions within and between species and between species and their environment. Global change directly affects abiotic conditions and living organisms, impinging on all trophic levels in food webs. Different groups of marine researchers traditionally study different aspects of these changes. However, over medium to long time scales perturbations affecting food webs need to be considered across the full range from nutrients to top predators. Studies of end-to-end marine food webs not only span organism sizes and trophic levels, but should also help align multidisciplinary research to common goals and perspectives. Topics are described that bridge disciplinary gaps and are needed to develop new understanding of the reciprocal impacts of global change on marine food webs and ocean biogeochemistry. These include (1) the effects of nutrients on biomass and production, (2) the effects of varying element ratios on food web structure and food quality, (3) bulk flows of energy and material in food webs and their efficiencies of transfer, (4) the ecological effects of species richness and the roles of microbial organisms, (5) the role of feeding behaviour in food web dynamics and trophic controls, (6) the spatial dynamics of communities and links between different food webs, (7) the combined effects of body size and behaviour in determining dynamics of food webs, and (8) the extent to which the ability of marine organisms (and communities) to adapt will influence food web dynamics. An overriding issue that influences all topics concerns the time and space scales of ecosystem variability. Threads link different nodes of information among various topics, emphasizing the importance of tackling food web studies with a variety of modelling approaches and through a combination of field and experimental studies with a strong comparative approach.

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