Sustained Observation of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems
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At a time of unprecedented global change it is essential to distinguish short-term and local scale variability (“noise”) from the low-amplitude longer wavelength signal of climate driven change. Moreover, global responses to climate need to be separated from regional and local scale impacts and their interactions better understood to enable effective management of marine ecosystems. In this short editorial, we make the case for sustaining long-term and broad-scale observations of the oceans and coastal waters. First we consider the value of longterm observations drawing on work in the Western English Channel [1,2]; before considering the challenges of sustaining time series and cautioning that such observations are at risk in any period of financial constraints for public sector research funding. We conclude by discussing their relevance to policy and marine management. This editorial is written primarily from an ecological and inshore perspective reflecting the experience of the lead author but the general issues discussed apply equally to work in the open ocean.
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