Project Beneficial

Biogeography of the northwest Pacific fauna. A benchmark study for estimations of alien invasions into the Arctic Ocean in times of rapid climate change

The main aims of the Beneficial project were 1- digitizing the biodiversity and environmental data collected during our expeditions, 2- discovering the deep-sea biogeography and biodiversity patterns in the NW Pacific, 3- predicting the potential future distribution range shifts of key species from the NW Pacific to the Arctic Ocean under rapid climate change, and 4- compiling a novel book on the taxonomy and biogeography of the highly abundant key species. All the data, publications, and the book arising from this project provide crucial benchmarks and datasets for any deep-sea biodiversity assessment, and help predict the future status of the Arctic marine ecosystem in a changing environment.

The Beneficial project highlights 

We mined and mobilized 7,042 unique deep-sea benthos taxa records, with 1,723 records at the species level (more than 50% at the species and genus level, the rest are at the higher taxa level, mostly family, order, and class) from our four deep-sea cruises including SojaBio, SokhoBio, and KuramBio I and II. Using this dataset and data collected from the open-access databases we analysed species richness, endemicity, and community composition in the shallow and deep NW Pacific and its adjacent Arctic Ocean. Our findings supported the hypothesis that biodiversity, while highest in the tropics and coastal depths (mostly in the Philippines), decreases at the equator and decreases at depths below ~2000 m. Despite high species richness in the eastern Philippines, the Yellow Sea and Gulf of Tonkin had the highest benthic species endemicity rates (ca. 70%), while the Aleutian Islands had the highest pelagic endemicity rate (ca. 45%) among all different ecoregions. Our generalized linear models (GAMs) showed that the combined effects of all environmental predictors produced the best model driving species richness in both shallow and deep sea in the NW Pacific. However, among all predictors, dissolved oxygen, bottom temperature, and salinity were the most important environmental drivers of the deep-sea species richness in the NW Pacific and the adjacent Arctic Ocean. These investigations should strengthen and inform marine protection plans as species richness and endemicity hotspots could be profoundly compelling in helping to pinpoint and prevent biodiversity loss.

Selected publications of the Beneficial project: 

Saeedi, H., Costello, M.J., Warren, D., Brandt, A. (2019): Latitudinal and bathymetrical species richness in the NW Pacific and Arctic Ocean. Nature Scientific Reports, 2019; 9:9303, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45813-9.

Saeedi, H., Simões, M., Brandt, A. (2019): Endemicity and community composition of marine species along the NW Pacific and adjacent Arctic Ocean. PROOCE 178, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2019.102199

Saeedi, H., Simões, M., Brandt, A. (2020): Biodiversity and distribution patterns of deep-sea fauna along the temperate NW Pacific.  Progress in Oceanography 183, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2020.102296

Saeedi, H., Brandt, A. (2020): Biogeographic Atlas of the Deep NW Pacific Fauna. Advanced Books. Pensoft Publisher; Sofia, Bulgaria; appr. 537 pages.

Saeedi H, Winterberg H, Alalykina LI, Bergmeier SF, Downey R, Golovan O, Jażdżewska A, kamenev G, kameneva N, Maiorova A, Malyutina M, Minin K, Mordukhovich V, Petrunina A, Schwabe E, Brandt A (2018): NW pacific deep-sea benthos distribution and abundance (Beneficial Project). v1.1. Deep-sea OBIS node. Dataset/Samplingevent. http://ipt.iobis.org/obis-deepsea/resource?r=beneficial_deepsea&v=1.1