|dc.description.abstract||The midwater is renowned for its unusual life forms, including 13 species of bristlemouths, which are thought to be the most numerous vertebrates on earth. Irigoien et al. (2014) have raised the median estimate of midwater fish biomass by an order of magnitude to ~11x109T. Some observers have suggested that these fish constitute an enormous potential source of pro-tein that literally could “feed the world.” Diel vertical migrations of zooplankton lead to the consumption of epipelagic phytoplankton, and the zooplankton, in turn, are consumed by the midwater’s fish. This ecological cycle comprises a central element of a biological “carbon pump” that leads eventually to the very long-term sequestration of carbon on the deep seabed. While the net amounts of carbon sequestered in this way are highly uncertain, estimates range between 4-12x109T annually.
In April 2018, a formal international conference will initiate work on a new Framework Con-vention under the law of the sea, focusing on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (the so-called BBNJ Convention). De-spite a growing recognition by marine scientists of the importance of the midwater, its ecosys-tem services have been essentially ignored during these discussions. Here, we report on ap-proaches to estimating the scales of the economic values of the midwater’s ecosystem services and the nature of anthropogenic risks to those services. An ultimate objective of this research is to strengthen the links between marine science and the emerging international discussions over the conservation of the biodiversity of the high seas.
This poster was presented at the ICES Annual Science Conference 2018, "Theme Session A: Mesopelagic ecosystems: fish and invertebrate population biomass and biodiversity, and role in carbon flux," and it is identified in this Theme Session report: