Deep-sea ecosystem response to climate changes: the eastern Mediterranean case study
Climate change is significantly modifying ecosystem functioning on a global scale, but little is known about the response of deep-sea ecosystems to such change. In the past decade, extensive climate change has modified the physico–chemical characteristics of deep waters in the eastern Mediterranean. Climate change has caused an immediate accumulation of organic matter on the deep-sea floor, altered the carbon and nitrogen cycles and has had negative effects on deep-sea bacteria and benthic fauna. Evidence from a miniature ocean model provides new ways of interpreting signals from the deep sea and indicates that, contrary to what might have been expected, deep-sea ecosystems do respond quickly to climate change.