Marine biodiversity is fundamental to the functioning of the biosphere. The oceans that cover three quarters of the Earth s surface are populated by plankton communities. In stark contrast to the value society bestows on the role of trees in the survival of our planet, that of plankton communities often goes unnoticed.
This book deals with the importance of oceanic plankton in the evolution of the chemical properties of the biosphere and its particular importance in the regulation of the composition of the atmosphere. These marine organisms are responsible for the formation of carbonate and silica deposits and rocks and therefore contribute to the regulation of the carbon cycle, and of the climate. They are crucial in the regulation of cloud formation and the radiation balance of the planet.
This volume brings together the reflections of a group of internationally renowned researchers on distinct aspects of the role of marine biota in the regulation of global processes: from vast geological time scales, covering the regulation of geological cycles and the evolution of the biosphere, to time scales of just a few days, by which meteorological conditions are determined. The book draws its contents from the 4th BBVA Foundation Cap Salines Lighthouse Coastal Research Station Colloquium on Ecology and Ocean Conservation, coinciding with the celebration of the International Year of Planet Earth.