Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Deep-Sea Biodiversity

Deep-Sea Biodiversity

Pattern and Scale

Michael A. Rex, Ron J. Etter

ISBN 9780674036079

Publication date: 02/15/2010

Frigid, dark, and energy-deprived, the deep sea was long considered hostile to life. However, new sampling technologies and intense international research efforts in recent decades have revealed a remarkably rich fauna and an astonishing variety of novel habitats. These recent discoveries have changed the way we look at global biodiversity. In Deep-Sea Biodiversity, Michael Rex and Ron Etter present the first synthesis of patterns and causes of biodiversity in organisms that dwell in the vast sediment ecosystem that blankets the ocean floor. They provide the most comprehensive analysis to date of geographic variation in benthic animal abundance and biomass. The authors document geographic patterns of deep-sea species diversity and integrate potential ecological causes across scales of time and space. They also review the most recent molecular population genetic evidence to describe how and where evolutionary processes have generated the unique deep-sea fauna. Deep-Sea Biodiversity offers a new understanding of marine biodiversity that will be of general interest to ecologists and is crucial to responsible exploitation of natural resources at the deep-sea floor.


  • Rex and Etter offer a truly novel synthesis of an exciting and dynamic subject. They have done an exceptional job of compiling new data that captures the history, idea development, and current conceptual understanding of the abundance and diversity of the deep sea.

    —Lisa A. Levin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography


  • Michael A. Rex is Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Research Associate at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.
  • Ron J. Etter is Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Book Details

  • 368 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press