2010
BIOGEOSCIENCES

Deep, diverse and definitely different: unique attributes of the world's largest ecosystem

E Ramirez-Llodra, A Brandt, R Danovaro, B De Mol, E Escobar, CR German, LA Levin, P Martinez Arbizu, L Menot, P Buhl-Mortensen, BE Narayanaswamy, CR Smith, DP Tittensor, PA Tyler, A Vanreusel, M Vecchione.

Abstract

he deep sea, the largest biome on Earth, has a series of characteristics that make this environment both distinct from other marine and land ecosystems and unique for the entire planet. This review describes these patterns and processes, from geological settings to biological processes, biodiversity and biogeographical patterns. It concludes with a brief discussion of current threats from anthropogenic activities to deep-sea habitats and their fauna.