With increasing depth, the ocean is less sampled for physical, chemical and biological variables. Using the Global Marine Environmental Datasets (GMED) and Ecological Marine Units (EMUs), we show that spatial variation in environmental variables decreases with depth. This is also the case over temporal scales because seasonal change, surface weather conditions, and biological activity are highest in shallow depths. A stratified sampling approach to ocean sampling is therefore proposed whereby deeper environments, both pelagic and benthic, would be sampled with relatively lower spatial and temporal resolutions. Sampling should combine measurements of physical and chemical parameters with biological species distributions, even though species identification is difficult to automate. Species distribution data are essential to infer ecosystem structure and function from environmental data. We conclude that a globally comprehensive, stratification-based ocean sampling program would be both scientifically justifiable and cost-effective.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Stratifying ocean sampling globally and with depth to account for environmental variability|
|Series title||Scientific Reports|
|Contributing office(s)||Land Change Science|
|Description||Article number: 11259; 9 p.|