About the book
The Benthos Zone constitutes that part of the Marine Ecosystem that contains the maximum biodiversity and biomass of the planet Earth. The benthic zone research has received a tremendous acceleration in progress thanks to the use of cutting edge technology such as remotely operated vehicles (ROV), autonomous submersibles and sophisticated molecular techniques that have progressively unraveled the secrets of the marine benthic existence. We are now entering a new and more ambitious research era, studying the processes that make possible existance of life from the coastal zone down to the most inhospitable deep habitats (hydrothermal systems). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has strongly emphasized the need to assess the risk and vulnerability of coastal and deep-water systems given the predicted global atmospheric warming that can cause changes in the circulation pattern of major ocean currents, surface thermal regime, and the sea level. Our knowledge on the adaptations of organisms exposed to the disturbances described above and on the resilience capacity of the benthic system to global evnironmental change is still limited. Interdisciplinary efforts focused on the assessment of the effects of global scale environmental changes upon benthic communities is a challenging task whose outcome surely would be of interest to specialists and decision-makers.