'Oceans may perish due to loss of deep-sea species'

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Washington, Dec 2 (UNI) Our Earth may not be known as 'blue planet' as the oceans which cover 71 per cent of this planet are reeling under threat due to the loss of deep-sea species, suggests a new report.

In a global-scale study, the researchers found that the health of the oceans, as measured by the rate of critical ecosystem processes, increases exponentially with the diversity of species living there, the Science Daily reported.

''For the first time, we have demonstrated that deep-sea ecosystem functioning is closely dependent upon the number of species inhabiting the ocean floor,'' said Roberto Danovaro of the Polytechnic University of Marche, in Italy.

''This shows that we need to preserve biodiversity, and especially deep-sea biodiversity, because otherwise the negative consequences could be unprecedented. We must care about species that are far from us and essentially invisible, '' he added.

Ecosystem functioning involves several processes, which can be summarised as the production, consumption, and transfer of organic matter to higher levels of the food chain, the decomposition of organic matter, and the regeneration of nutrients.

''Deep-sea ecosystems provide goods (including biomass, bioactive molecules, oil, gas, and minerals) and services (climate regulation, nutrient regeneration and supply to the [upper ocean], and food) and, for their profound involvement in global biogeochemical and ecological processes, are essential for the sustainable functioning of our biosphere and for human wellbeing,'' the researchers concluded.

Their results suggest that the conservation of deep-sea biodiversity can be crucial for the sustainability of the functions of the largest ecosystem on the planet.

The oceans by far are the most important ecosystem for the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus of the biosphere.

It also supports the largest ''biomass'' of living things, including a large proportion of undiscovered species.

UNI

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