According to new research by ecologists at Brown University, water flow is one of the most important factors that affects how much biodiversity occurs in coastal ocean marine habitats. From tropical Palau to the frigid waters of Alaska and Maine, observations and experiments showed a very strong correlation between the amount of water flow present and the occurrence of greater diversity of ocean life. Part of the reason for the locally abundant diversity from water flow is that the water movement helps to carry the larvae of sessile organisms like corals, sponges and barnacles.
In the aquarium we also know that water flow helps to drive the biology of some sea creatures by increasing rates of respiration and photosynthesis and by bringing food and flushing away wastes. One of the co-authors of the recent paper published in the recent Ecology Letters journal said “It’s a wake-up call saying that water flow is a really strong predictor of how many species are present in a particular area of the ocean”. These new findings mean that ocean habitat managers will now be able to focus their preservation efforts in areas of high water flow and perhaps they can even look for new species where water flow is abundant.
[via Underwater Times]