Comparison of marine and terrestrial ecosystems: suggestions of an evolutionary perspective influenced by environmental variation

John H. Steele, Kenneth H. Brink, Beth E Scott* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The transition of plants and animals from sea to land required adaptation to a very different physical and chemical environment. In this paper, we focus on the consequences of the differences between the magnitude of the variability of ocean and atmospheric dynamics, with the ocean environment (in particular temperature and currents) being two to three orders of magnitude less variable than that on land. We suggest that greater insights on possible responses of marine vs. terrestrial systems to rapid climate change can be gained by considering that terrestrial vertebrates, invertebrates and plants have evolved from marine organisms that, pre-Cambrian, had early life history developmental stages as planktonic larvae. Marine larvae were/are adapted to the predictable and minimal range of temperature changes and regularities in ocean currents, as most organisms utilize the energy in these currents as an “auxiliary” source for predictable gamete and larvae dispersal. Post-Cambrian, on land, no such simple strategy was available; instead, most terrestrial organisms have evolved reproductive strategies and behaviours to eliminate, or at least minimize, the consequences of much larger atmospheric variability. Adapting our future use of these systems sensibly will require greater understanding of how the two regimes respond to rapid climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume76
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements
The authors are very grateful to Simon Levin of Princeton University for his generous guidance in the development of this manuscript and his many insightful comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. Andy Beet and Mary Schumacher of the Marine Policy Center at WHOI helped considerably in preparation of the paper.

Funding
JHS and KHB acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation, Biological Oceanography section, through grant OCE-1258667.

Corrigendum: Comparison of marine and terrestrial ecosystems: Suggestions of an evolutionary perspective influenced by environmental variation (ICES Journal of Marine Science ICES (2018) DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsy149)
John H. Steele, Kenneth H. Brink, Beth E. Scott, 2019, vol. 76, issue 1. ICES Journal of Marine Science

Keywords

  • climatic change
  • marine-terrestrial comparisons
  • physical-biological coupling
  • Climatic change
  • Physical-biological coupling
  • Marine-terrestrial comparisons

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