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Marine Biodiversity - Alison MacDiarmid - Marine Biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand

Marine Biodiversity - Alison MacDiarmid - Marine Biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand






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    Marine Biodiversity - Alison MacDiarmid - Marine Biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand Marine Biodiversity - Alison MacDiarmid - Marine Biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand Presentation Transcript

    • Marine Biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand Alison MacDiarmid NIWA [email_address] DD 04 386 0370 Mobile: 027 552 7780 Image courtesy of GeoEye/NASA
    • Number of marine species in NZ
      • NZ has a particularly rich marine flora and fauna
      • There are 17,135 known living species in the EEZ
      • This diversity includes 4,315 known undescribed species in collections
      • Unknown undescribed species are probably in excess of about 17,000 species
    • Most diverse groups
      • Molluscs (bivalves, snails etc) 3,593 species
      • Arthropods (crabs, lobsters barnacles etc) 2,711 species
      • Chordates (fish, sharks, mammals, birds) 1,565 species
      • Sponges 1,435 species
      • Cnidarians (corals, gorgonians, medusae & hydroids) 1,116 species
    • Levels of Endemism
      • Almost half of NZ’s known species are endemic (species not occurring elsewhere)
      • The level of endemism varies from a high 95% in sponges to low levels among marine mammals
    • Poorly known groups in New Zealand
      • Bacteria diversity is poorly known. There are 40 named species of blue-green Cyanobacteria but there have been few studies of marine bacteria in the oceans surrounding New Zealand.
      • Marine flatworms, nematodes and parasitic protozoan species are particularly poorly known from NZ.
    • Poorly sampled regions in NZ’s EEZ
      • Marine shelf habitats along the west coasts of both main islands remain poorly sampled.
      • So are most deepwater habitats below about 2000m that constitute half NZ’s EEZ.
    • Reasons for high levels of marine biodiversity and endemism
      • Isolation in SW Pacific – low gene flow
      • Particularly rich and varied seascape
      • Extension over 30 o of latitude
      • Position on active plate boundaries with consequent folding, faulting and volcanic activity
      • Position relative to major water masses and current flows
    • Recent research has identified the top threats across all NZ marine habitats
      • The top ten are:
      • Ocean acidification
      • Rise in ocean temperatures
      • Bottom trawling
      • Sedimentation
      • Change in current strength
      • Increased storminess
      • Scallop and oyster dredging
      • Dumping of dredge spoils
      • Sea level rise
      • Invasive species
      • Note that half of these stem from largely international threats associated with climate change and apart from documenting their impact we are dependent on global initiatives to reverse their effects. The remainder are under NZ’s control.
    • Implications for management
      • The large number of species in NZ waters indicates management responsibilities are also great.
      • The large proportion of still undescribed species underscores the need to fully document NZ’s marine diversity – difficult to achieve this critical diagnostic within current levels of funding and expertise.
      • The high level of endemism means that NZ cannot rely upon the good stewardship of biodiversity by other countries to maintain our species – we are responsible.
      • The need for self reliance needs to be translated in policies and actions that maintain the integrity and long-term sustainability of the environments and habitats in which our marine biodiversity occurs.