Global Patterns and Predictions of Seafloor Biomass Using Random Forests

Wei, Chih-Lin and Rowe, Gilbert T. and Escobar-Briones, Elva and Boetius, Antje and Soltwedel, Thomas and Caley, M. Julian and Soliman, Yousria and Huettmann, Falk and Qu, Fangyuan and Yu, Zishan and Pitcher, C. Roland and Haedrich, Richard L. and Wicksten, Mary K. and Rex, Michael A. and Baguley, Jeffrey G. and Sharma, Jyotsna and Danovaro, Roberto and MacDonald, Ian R. and Nunnally, Clifton C. and Deming, Jody W. and Montagna, Paul and Lévesque, Melanie and Weslawski, Jan Marcin and Wlodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria and Ingole, Baban S. and Bett, Brian J. and Billett, David S.M. and Yool, Andrew and Bluhm, Bodil A. and Iken, Katrin and Narayanaswamy, Bhavani E. (2010) Global Patterns and Predictions of Seafloor Biomass Using Random Forests. PLoS ONE, 5 (12). pp. 1-15. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

A comprehensive seafloor biomass and abundance database has been constructed from 24 oceanographic institutions worldwide within the Census of Marine Life (CoML) field projects. The machine-learning algorithm, Random Forests, was employed to model and predict seafloor standing stocks from surface primary production, water-column integrated and export particulate organic matter (POM), seafloor relief, and bottom water properties. The predictive models explain 63% to 88% of stock variance among the major size groups. Individual and composite maps of predicted global seafloor biomass and abundance are generated for bacteria, meiofauna, macrofauna, and megafauna (invertebrates and fishes). Patterns of benthic standing stocks were positive functions of surface primary production and delivery of the particulate organic carbon (POC) flux to the seafloor. At a regional scale, the census maps illustrate that integrated biomass is highest at the poles, on continental margins associated with coastal upwelling and with broad zones associated with equatorial divergence. Lowest values are consistently encountered on the central abyssal plains of major ocean basins The shift of biomass dominance groups with depth is shown to be affected by the decrease in average body size rather than abundance, presumably due to decrease in quantity and quality of food supply. This biomass census and associated maps are vital components of mechanistic deep-sea food web models and global carbon cycling, and as such provide fundamental information that can be incorporated into evidence-based management.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/371
Item ID: 371
Keywords: accuracy; article; benthos; biomass distribution; body size; geographical variation (species); macrofauna; meiofauna; particulate matter; phytoplankton; prediction; random forest; sea; seafloor; seasonal variation; zooplankton; organic matter; Invertebrata; Pisces
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: 30 December 2010
Date Type: Publication

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