Research Topic

Biodiversity and Distribution of Benthic Invertebrates - From Taxonomy to Ecological Patterns and Global Processes

About this Research Topic

From the intertidal to the deep sea, invertebrates are a major component of the benthos, encompassing almost all of the known metazoan phyla. Benthic invertebrates show a huge diversity, but actual diversity is still underestimated because some phyla are poorly known. Furthermore, knowledge about patterns of ...

From the intertidal to the deep sea, invertebrates are a major component of the benthos, encompassing almost all of the known metazoan phyla. Benthic invertebrates show a huge diversity, but actual diversity is still underestimated because some phyla are poorly known. Furthermore, knowledge about patterns of biodiversity and distribution of benthic invertebrates has been gained mostly from intertidal and shallow subtidal areas. Still, information is geographically biased and large areas of the planet are almost unexplored. Moreover, edible, and other economically important species (e.g. bivalves and decapods) have received disproportionally high attention. Finally, the lack of information about meiobenthos (metazoans with a size between 35–500 µm) is still higher than for macrobenthos (0.5-3 cm) and megafauna (> 3cm).

The objective of this Research Topic is to improve our knowledge about the biodiversity and distribution of benthic invertebrates, particularly for poorly studied world regions and/or taxa. Nowadays, the loss of biodiversity is considered a global crisis with consequences for human well-being. Therefore, studies are needed for less accessible habitats such as submarine caves or the deep sea to develop realistic conservation and management strategies to identify and mitigate anthropogenic impacts. The lack of basic data often results in poor decision-making and environmental policy. Additionally, biodiversity and distribution patterns are extremely dynamic and can change due to different natural and anthropogenic disturbances such as the introduction of non-indigenous species or global warming. However, most of the current information about benthic invertebrates is still based on single sampling events. In order to improve the knowledge on this topic, more studies considering temporal replication are needed, especially long-term studies that can be very useful to identify the drivers that shape the observed ecological patterns.

This Research Topic welcomes papers dealing with patterns and processes of biodiversity and the distribution of benthic invertebrates from taxonomical, ecological, biogeographical, behavioral, functional and methodological perspectives, from species to ecosystems, and from local to global scales.
Various kinds of articles will be considered: Research papers, Reviews, Data Reports, Perspective and Opinion papers. Specifically, we seek contributions about:
• Taxonomic resolution and detailed revisions (including identification keys) in an ecological context.
• Global change, long-term series, biological invasions.
• Understudied habitats, areas and taxa.
• The multiple facets of biodiversity.


Keywords: Macrobenthos, Meiobenthos, Anthropogenic disturbances, Natural variability, Environmental drivers, Megabenthos


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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