Stratifying ocean sampling globally and with depth to account for environmental variability

Scientific Reports
By: , and 

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Abstract

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 type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Stratifying ocean sampling globally and with depth to account for environmental variability
Series title Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-29419-1
Volume 8
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Land Change Science
Description Article number: 11259; 9 p.
First page 1
Last page 9