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Meiobenthic research: trends and challenges in the perspective of global marine ecological research

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  • Meiobenthos
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Ecology
  • Economics


MEIOBENTHIC RESEARCH: TRENDS AN D CHALLENGES IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF GLOBAL MARINE ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH Heip Carlo1, Karline Soetaert2, Leon Moodley3 and Dick Van Oevelen2 1 Royal N etherlands In s titu te o f Sea Research, Landsdiep 4, PO Box 59, 1 790 AB Den Burg, Texel, the N etherlands E-mail: he ip@ nioz.n l 2 Centre fo r Estuarine and M arine Ecology, N etherlands Ins titu te o f Ecology, PO Box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke, the Netherlands 3 N etherlands In s titu te o f Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Korringaw eg 7, 4401 NT Yerseke, the N etherlands. E-mail: L .M oodley@ nioo.knaw .n l The main challenge fo r fundamental marine research over the past decades has been to explore and understand ocean ecosystems w ith the ir vast temporal and spatial scales and dynamics, and the ir interactions w ith the continents and the atmosphere, as well as increasingly w ith socio-economic systems. This form idable challenge to obtain a suffic ient understanding o f the most extensive and complex system on earth in the face o f increasing and largely unmanaged human exploita tion, w ill continue to guide research in the coming decade as well. Over the last th irty years an incredible advance in knowledge on the oceans has been made through the development o f new technologies in earth observation and new analytical techniques in chemistry, m icrobiology and molecular biology, which has allowed a much better understanding o f the functioning o f marine ecosystems, but at a pace that leaves no doubt tha t much remains to be discovered. The main drivers fo r marine ecological research have been the necessity o f a better understanding o f processes such as ocean circulation, sediment transport, evolution o f life histories and biogeochemical cycles in order to evaluate and eventually manage the human impact on the oceans. In the 60 ’s and 70 ’s the main societal concern was in pollution and eutrophication. Especially in the last decade th is has shifted to climate change and b iod

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