Seminar: Global ocean biogeography – latitude, depth, climate change, 20 oC Effect

On February 27th at 12:00 PM in the “Salon de Actos” at the “Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales”, we will be hosting a special seminar featuring Marc Costello recent work on global ocean biogeography. All invited.

Below, you can find the title, summary, and a brief biographical note about the speaker.

Global ocean biogeography — latitude, depth, climate change, 20 oC Effect

The extent of marine biodiversity is best understood in the context of knowing the geographic barriers to species dispersal and environmental gradients that limit species richness; i.e., biogeography. Trends in the discovery of species on Earth, including the ocean, indicate about two thirds of species have been named. Thus, we have a representative sample of ocean life. Maps of environmental variation and habitat explain why coastal seas have far greater species endemicity and richness than the deep-sea.

Early naturalists questioned whether there were distinct marine biogeographic regions (i.e., realms of endemicity). Analyses of marine species data show that distinct marine realms can be mapped, although further analyses are needed to better define the boundaries and their cause.

Analyses of latitudinal gradients show how temperature is the primary driver of marine species richness globally. This gradient is increasingly bimodal due to climate range shifts of species away from the equator, leading to a doubling of fish species richness in parts of the Arctic. Moreover, cell biochemistry energetics, across all Domains of life, shows that the optimal (most energetically stable and efficient) temperature for life is 20 oC. There is evidence for this “20 oC Effect” on biodiversity at ecosystem levels. This suggests fundamental biochemical constraints to life being able to evolve to adapt to a warmer planet.

Mark Costello
Mark John Costello is an ecologist specialising in biogeography and global biodiversity, Marine Protected Areas, the effects of climate change on biodiversity, and aquaculture-environment interactions. He pioneered ‘ocean biodiversity informatics’; leading the establishment of the World Register of Marine Species and Ocean Biodiversity Information System databases. Mark has over 280 peer-reviewed publications, supervised 70 graduate students, and played leading roles in international organisations including the Group on Earth Observations Marine Biodiversity Observation Network and the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change global 6th assessment where he co-led the Chapter on Biodiversity Hotspots. He currently leads the MBON Europe initiative to establish a long-term network of marine biodiversity monitoring in Europe, and MPA Europe, a project mapping the best places to protect biodiversity and carbon stores in all European seas.

From Ireland, a fascination with wildlife led to studying in Galway followed by a PhD based in Ireland’s only Marine Reserve, post-doc’s in Plymouth, Aberdeen and Edinburgh Scotland, a lectureship in Trinity College Dublin, establishing the consulting company EcoServe, and a term as Executive Director of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in Canada until returning to an academic position in Auckland New Zealand. He is currently a professor at Nord University, Arctic Norway, and a Visiting Professor at the Ocean University of China, Qingdao.