Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services

Science, Vol. 314, No. 5800, pp. 787-790, November 2006

Posted: 7 Feb 2007

See all articles by Boris Worm

Boris Worm

Dalhousie University - Department of Biology

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics

Nicola Beaumont

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

J. Emmett Duffy

College of William and Mary - Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Carl Folke

Stockholm University

Benjamin S. Halpern

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Jeremy B. C. Jackson

Scripps Institution of Oceanography - Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Heike K. Lotze

Dalhousie University - Department of Biology

Fiorenza Micheli

Stanford University

Stephen R. Palumbi

Stanford University - Department of Biology

Enric Sala

Scripps Institution of Oceanography - Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Kimberley A. Selkoe

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

John J. Stachowicz

University of California, Davis

Reg Watson

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Abstract

Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences. We analyzed local experiments, long-term regional time series, and global fisheries data to test how biodiversity loss affects marine ecosystem services across temporal and spatial scales. Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity. Restoration of biodiversity, in contrast, increased productivity fourfold and decreased variability by 21%, on overage. We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. Yet available data suggest that at this point, these trends are still reversible.

Suggested Citation

Worm, Boris and Barbier, Edward B. and Beaumont, Nicola and Duffy, J. Emmett and Folke, Carl and Halpern, Benjamin S. and Jackson, Jeremy B. C. and Lotze, Heike K. and Micheli, Fiorenza and Palumbi, Stephen R. and Sala, Enric and Selkoe, Kimberley A. and Stachowicz, John J. and Watson, Reg, Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services. Science, Vol. 314, No. 5800, pp. 787-790, November 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=961611

Boris Worm (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Department of Biology ( email )

Canada
1-902-494-2478 (Phone)
1-902-494-3736 (Fax)

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

Nicola Beaumont

Plymouth Marine Laboratory ( email )

Prospect Place
The Hoe
Plymouth, PL1 3DH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/cserge/people/nicola_beaumont.htm

J. Emmett Duffy

College of William and Mary - Virginia Institute of Marine Science ( email )

Maury Hall 211
Gloucester Point, VA 23062-1346
United States
804-684-7369, ext. 7148 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.vims.edu/bio/faculty/duffy_je.html

Carl Folke

Stockholm University ( email )

Dept. of Systems Ecology
S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Benjamin S. Halpern

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis ( email )

United States

Jeremy B. C. Jackson

Scripps Institution of Oceanography - Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation ( email )

San Diego, CA
United States

Heike K. Lotze

Dalhousie University - Department of Biology ( email )

Canada
902-494-3406 (Phone)
902-494-3736 (Fax)

Fiorenza Micheli

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Stephen R. Palumbi

Stanford University - Department of Biology ( email )

Gilbert Building, Rm 109
371 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
831-655-6210 (Phone)
831-655-6214 (Fax)

Enric Sala

Scripps Institution of Oceanography - Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation ( email )

San Diego, CA
United States

Kimberley A. Selkoe

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

John J. Stachowicz

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Reg Watson

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

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