Slow science: the value of long biological records

Henson, S. ORCID: 2014 Slow science: the value of long biological records. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, A, 372 (2025). 20130334.

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Sustained observations (SOs) have provided invaluable information on the ocean's biology and biogeochemistry for over 50 years. They continue to play a vital role in elucidating the functioning of the marine ecosystem, particularly in the light of ongoing climate change. Repeated, consistent observations have provided the opportunity to resolve temporal and/or spatial variability in ocean biogeochemistry, which has driven exploration of the factors controlling biological parameters and processes. Here, I highlight some of the key breakthroughs in biological oceanography that have been enabled by SOs, which include areas such as trophic dynamics, understanding variability, improved biogeochemical models and the role of ocean biology in the global carbon cycle. In the near future, SOs are poised to make progress on several fronts, including detecting climate change effects on ocean biogeochemistry, high-resolution observations of physical–biological interactions and greater observational capability in both the mesopelagic zone and harsh environments, such as the Arctic. We are now entering a new era for biological SOs, one in which our motivations have evolved from the need to acquire basic understanding of the ocean's state and variability, to a need to understand ocean biogeochemistry in the context of increasing pressure in the form of climate change, overfishing and eutrophication.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1364-503X
Date made live: 18 Jun 2014 10:24 +0 (UTC)

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