J. Murray Roberts

J. Murray Roberts
The University of Edinburgh | UoE · School of GeoSciences

PhD

About

199
Publications
84,463
Reads
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8,489
Citations
Introduction
Murray Roberts is Professor of Applied Marine Biology and Ecology at the University of Edinburgh. He leads the Changing Oceans research group and co-ordinates the European ATLAS (www.eu-atlas.org) and iAtlantic projects (http://www.iatlantic.eu/).
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - September 2016
Heriot-Watt University
Position
  • Managing Director
July 2007 - December 2008
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Position
  • Marie Curie Research Fellow
May 1997 - July 2007
Scottish Association for Marine Science
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (199)
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification is a threat to deep-sea corals and could lead to dramatic and rapid loss of the reef framework habitat they build. Weakening of structurally critical parts of the coral reef framework can lead to physical habitat collapse on an ecosystem scale, reducing the potential for biodiversity support. The mechanism underpinning crumbling...
Article
Full-text available
Key messages • The ocean has greatly slowed the rate of climate change. But at a cost: the ocean has also warmed, acidified and lost oxygen, whilst circulation patterns are changing, and sea levels are rising. The continuation of these changes not only threatens marine ecosystems, but also the future ability of the ocean to indirectly support all l...
Article
Full-text available
This study used a novel approach combining biological, environmental, and ecosystem function data of the Logachev cold-water coral carbonate mound province to predictively map coral framework (bio)mass. A more accurate representation and quantification of cold-water coral reef ecosystem functions such as Carbon and Nitrogen stock and turnover were...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ocean acidification is a threat to deep-sea corals and could lead to dramatic and rapid loss of the reef framework habitat they build. Weakening of structurally critical parts of the coral reef framework can lead to physical habitat collapse on an ecosystem scale, reducing the potential for biodiversity support. The mechanism underpinning crumbling...
Article
Full-text available
Studies in terrestrial and shallow-water ecosystems have unravelled the key role of interspecific interactions in enhancing biodiversity, but important knowledge gaps persist for the deep sea. Cold-water coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity, but the role of interspecific interactions and “habitat cascades” (i.e. positive effects on focal organi...
Article
Full-text available
Aim We assessed the effects of regional oceanographic shifts on the macrofaunal biodiversity and biogeography of cold-water coral reefs (CWCRs). CWCRs are often hotspots of biodiversity and ecosystem services and are in the frontline of exposure to multiple human pressures and climate change. Almost nothing is known about how large-scale atmospheri...
Article
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Cold seeps support fragile deep-sea communities of high biodiversity and are often found in areas with high commercial interest. Protecting them from encroaching human impacts (bottom trawling, oil and gas exploitation, climate change) requires an advanced understanding of the drivers shaping their spatial distribution and biodiversity. Based on th...
Presentation
Full-text available
Implementing European marine policies in the deep waters of the North Atlantic
Presentation
Full-text available
Towards the assessment of North Atlantic deep sea ecosystems’ status: opportunities and challenges unraveled by the ATLAS project.
Article
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The occurrence and proliferation of reef-forming corals is of vast importance in terms of the biodiversity they support and the ecosystem services they provide. The complex three-dimensional structures engineered by corals are comprised of both live and dead coral, and the function, growth and stability of these systems will depend on the ratio of...
Article
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Designing conservation networks requires a well-structured framework for achieving essential objectives such as connectivity, replication or viability, and for considering local management and socioeconomic stakes. Although systematic conservation planning (SCP) approaches are increasingly used to inform such networks, their application remains cha...
Chapter
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Seamounts and pinnacles are common topographic features of the global ocean. • Sampling effort has increased in recent years but only a small percentage of sea- mounts has been sampled in detail. • Limited sampling, combined with high en- vironmental variability among seamounts, constrains biodiversity knowledge. • Fishing, especially bottom trawli...
Article
Full-text available
This study presents a novel approach resulting in the first cold-water coral reef biomass maps, used to assess associated ecosystem functions, such as carbon (C) stock and turnover. We focussed on two dominant ecosystem engineers at the Mingulay Reef Complex, the coral Lophelia pertusa (rubble, live and dead framework) and the sponge Spongosorites...
Article
Full-text available
Seamounts provide oases of hard substrate in the deep sea that are frequently associated with locally enhanced biological productivity and diversity. There is now increasing recognition of their ecological and socioeconomic importance. However, management strategies for these habitats are constrained not only by limited ecological understanding but...
Chapter
Sponges (Phylum Porifera) are the oldest extant Metazoans. In the deep sea, sponges can occur at high densities forming habitats known as sponge grounds. Sponge grounds can extend over large areas of up to hundreds of km2 and are biodiversity hotspots. However, as human activities, including deep-water hydrocarbon extraction, continue to expand int...
Article
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Divulgative paper published in Journal Eco Magazine, Deep Sea Issue
Article
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Areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) encompass the seabed, subsoil and water column beyond coastal State jurisdiction and marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) is rich and varied. From providing sustenance and supporting livelihoods, to absorbing anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, ABNJ ecosystems are vital to the wellbei...
Article
Full-text available
The deep sea is the largest biome on Earth but the least explored. Our knowledge of it comes from scattered sources spanning different spatial and temporal scales. Implementation of marine policies like the European Union's Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and support for Blue Growth in the deep sea are therefore hindered by lack of data....
Article
Full-text available
Ocean acidification is a threat to the net growth of tropical and deep-sea coral reefs, due to gradual changes in the balance between reef growth and loss processes. Here we go beyond identification of coral dissolution induced by ocean acidification and identify a mechanism that will lead to a loss of habitat in cold-water coral reef habitats on a...
Article
Full-text available
Many of the marine policy frameworks developed to protect biodiversity in deep-sea areas, including areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), include indicators to assess policy objectives. These frameworks often have specific guidance on how the indicators should be applied and interpreted. Selection of indicators is an important process and thos...
Article
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Ecosystem connectivity is an essential consideration for marine spatial planning of competing interests in the deep sea. Immobile, adult communities are connected through freely floating larvae, depending on new recruits for their health and to adapt to external pressures. We hypothesize that the vertical swimming ability of deep-sea larvae, before...
Article
Full-text available
The North Atlantic subpolar gyre (SPG) connects tropical and high latitude waters, playing a leading role in deep‐water formation, propagation of Atlantic water into the Arctic, and as habitat for many ecosystems. Instrumental records spanning recent decades document significant decadal variability in SPG circulation, with associated hydrographic a...
Article
Used during an oil spill to minimise the formation of an oil slick, dispersants have negative biological effects on marine model organisms. However, no study has investigated the impacts of dispersants on sponges. Here, we examine the effects of water accommodated oil fraction (WAF - oil in seawater), chemically enhanced WAF (CEWAF - oil and disper...
Article
Full-text available
The deep sea plays a critical role in global climate regulation through uptake and storage of heat and carbon dioxide. However, this regulating service causes warming, acidification and deoxygenation of deep waters, leading to decreased food availability at the seafloor. These changes and their projections are likely to affect productivity, biodive...
Presentation
Full-text available
Cold-water corals (CWC) and their structurally complex skeletal remains create biodiversity hotspots by providing crucial deep-sea habitats. However, these ecosystem engineers and their provided ecological services are vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA) and a shoaling Aragonite Saturation Horizon (ASH). While resilient living CWC can acclimate...
Article
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Determining the scale of anthropogenic impacts is critical in order to understand ecosystem effects of human activities, within the context of changes caused by natural environmental variability. We applied spatial eigenfunction analysis to disentangle effects of anthropogenic drivers from environmental factors on species assembly in the Faroe-Shet...
Article
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The diversity of life in the sea is critical to the health of ocean ecosystems that support living resources and therefore essential to the economic, nutritional, recreational, and health needs of billions of people. Yet there is evidence that the biodiversity of many marine habitats is being altered in response to a changing climate and human acti...
Chapter
Knowledge on basic biological functions of organisms is essential to understand not only the role they play in the ecosystems but also to manage and protect their populations. The study of biological processes, such as growth, reproduction and physiology, which can be approached in situ or by collecting specimens and rearing them in aquaria, is par...
Article
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Ferromanganese crusts occurring on seamounts are a potential resource for rare earth elements that are critical for low-carbon technologies. Seamounts, however, host vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), which means that spatial management is needed to address potential conflicts between mineral extraction and the conservation of deep-sea biodiversi...
Article
Cold-water coral reefs are biodiversity hotspots of the deep sea. The most dominant reef-building cold-water coral in the Atlantic is Lophelia pertusa , which builds vast and structurally complex habitats. Studying the behaviours of deep-sea species is challenging due to the technological difficulties in making prolonged observations in situ , so l...
Article
Full-text available
Cold-water coral carbonate mounds, created by framework-building scleractinian corals, are also important habitats for non-scleractinian corals, whose ecology and role are understudied in deep-sea environments. This paper describes the diversity, ecology and role of non-scleractinian corals on scleractinian cold-water coral carbonate mounds in the...
Article
Full-text available
Discovery and understanding of fragile deep-sea habitats like sponge aggregations, are being outpaced by anthropogenic resource exploitation. Sustainable ocean development in the Faroe-Shetland Channel Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area (FSC NCMPA; northeast Atlantic), which harbors sponge aggregations, now requires adaptive management in th...
Article
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The extent of marine litter and microplastic occurrence across ocean biomes and species remains poorly characterised, particularly in remote deep-water ecosystems. The present study in the East Mingulay Special Area of Conservation (a Marine Protected Area in the Sea of the Hebrides, western Scotland) used historic surveys and benthic samples to ob...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In the last two decades the use of species distribution modeling (SDM) for the study and management of marine species has increased dramatically. The availability of predictor variables on a global scale and the ease of use of SDM techniques have resulted in a proliferation of research on the topic of species distribution in the deep sea. Translati...
Article
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The Hatton-Rockall plateau in the northeast Atlantic Ocean has long been the subject of interest for fishers, prospectors, conservationists, managers, planners, and politicians. As a feature that straddles national and international waters, it is subject to a multitude of competing and confounding regulations, making the development of a holistic m...
Article
Full-text available
An efficient connectivity-based method for multi-objective optimization applicable to the design of marine protected area networks is described. Multi-objective network optimization highlighted previously unreported step changes in the structure of optimal subnetworks for protection associated with minimal changes in cost or benefit functions. This...
Chapter
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This Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere1 in a Changing Climate (SROCC) was prepared following an IPCC Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports during the Sixth Assessment Cycle2 . By assessing new scientific literature3 , the SROCC4 responds to government and observer organization proposals. The SROCC follows the other two Sp...
Presentation
Distribution, density and size of deep-sea sponge morphotypes in the Faroe-Shetland Channel Sponge Belt Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area.
Article
Full-text available
Predation on the large, venomous jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca by the stony coral Astroides calycularis is illustrated. The coral occurs in the western Mediterranean, while the jellyfish is cosmopolitan in temperate and warm seas. The coral lacks symbiotic zooxanthellae and has small polyps with tiny mouths. It forms cup-shaped colonies on vertical c...
Article
Full-text available
Highly connected networks generally improve resilience in complex systems. We present a novel application of this paradigm and investigated the potential for anthropogenic structures in the ocean to enhance connectivity of a protected species threatened by human pressures and climate change. Biophysical dispersal models of a protected coral species...
Article
In July 2015, Scotland became one of the first countries to sign up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which, unlike their forerunner the Millennium Development Goals, are not restricted to developing nations. Their respective targets should drive policy decisions for Scottish fisheries, in keeping with the universal intent of the new g...
Article
Full-text available
Maritime industries routinely collect critical environmental data needed for sustainable management of marine ecosystems, supporting both the blue economy and future growth. Collating this information would provide a valuable resource for all stakeholders. For the North Sea, the oil and gas industry has been a dominant presence for over 50 years th...
Presentation
Full-text available
Presentation of the ATLAS project at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee "Beyond the Coast" conference 2018.
Presentation
Full-text available
Progress in Assessing Good Environmental Status in Deep-sea Benthic Ecosystems: D1, D3, D6 and D10.
Article
Sponges form an important component of benthic ecosystems from shallow littoral to hadal depths. In the deep ocean, beyond the continental shelf, sponges can form high-density fields, constituting important habitats supporting rich benthic communities. Yet these habitats remain relatively unexplored. The oil and gas industry has played an important...