Climate change

The impacts of anthropogenic driven climate change on sea surface production will have cascading implications on the deep sea benthos that rely upon influx of particles from surface primary production (Davies et al. 2007). Changes in the temporal and spatial patterns of surface productivity related to climate fluctuations will impact energy flux exported to deep sea benthos including echinoderms causing shifts in populations and distributions (Ruhl and Smith, 2004).

Climate change will also have another effect on the echinoderm communities of the abyssal plain. Increased anthropogenic production of carbon dioxide will result in higher levels of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the oceans contributing to a lower pH of the oceans resulting in reduced calcium carbonate saturation rate (Kurihara 2008). This is very important to early deep sea echinoderms larval stages where growth relies upon the deposition of a calcium carbonate test (Kurihara 2008).

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