Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/gcb.17066
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Groundwater is a hidden global keystone ecosystem
Author Saccò, M.; Mammola, S.; Altermatt, F.; Alther, R.; Bolpagni, R.; Brancelj, A.; Brankovits, D.; Fišer, C.; Gerovasileiou, V.; Griebler, C.; Guareschi, S.; Hose, G.C.; Korbel, K.; Lictevout, E.; Malard, F.; Martínez, A.; Niemiller, M.L.; Robertson, A.; Tanalgo, K.C.; Bichuette, M.E.; Borko, S.; Brad, T.; Campbell, M.A.; Cardoso, P.; Celico, F.; Cooper, S.J.B.; Culver, D.; Di Lorenzo, T.; Galassi, D.M.P.; Guzik, M.T.; Hartland, A.; Humphreys, W.F.; Ferreira, R.L.; Lunghi, E.; Nizzoli, D.; Perina, G.; Raghavan, R.; Richards, Z.; Reboleira, A.S.P.S.; Rohde, M.M.; Sánchez Fernández, D.; Schmidt, S.I. ORCID logo ; van der Heyde, M.; Weaver, L.; White, N.E.; Zagmajster, M.; Hogg, I.; Ruhi, A.; Gagnon, M.M.; Allentoft, M.E.; Reinecke, R.
Source Titel Global Change Biology
Year 2024
Department SEEFO
Volume 30
Issue 1
Page From e17066
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Keywords biodiversity; biomes; climate change; conservation; ecology; ecosystems; groundwater-dependent ecosystem; subterranean; water cycle
Abstract Groundwater is a vital ecosystem of the global water cycle, hosting unique biodiversity and providing essential services to societies. Despite being the largest unfrozen freshwater resource, in a period of depletion by extraction and pollution, groundwater environments have been repeatedly overlooked in global biodiversity conservation agendas. Disregarding the importance of groundwater as an ecosystem ignores its critical role in preserving surface biomes. To foster timely global conservation of groundwater, we propose elevating the concept of keystone species into the realm of ecosystems, claiming groundwater as a keystone ecosystem that influences the integrity of many dependent ecosystems. Our global analysis shows that over half of land surface areas (52.6%) has a medium-to-high interaction with groundwater, reaching up to 74.9% when deserts and high mountains are excluded. We postulate that the intrinsic transboundary features of groundwater are critical for shifting perspectives towards more holistic approaches in aquatic ecology and beyond. Furthermore, we propose eight key themes to develop a science-policy integrated groundwater conservation agenda. Given ecosystems above and below the ground intersect at many levels, considering groundwater as an essential component of planetary health is pivotal to reduce biodiversity loss and buffer against climate change.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Saccò, M., Mammola, S., Altermatt, F., Alther, R., Bolpagni, R., Brancelj, A., Brankovits, D., Fišer, C., Gerovasileiou, V., Griebler, C., Guareschi, S., Hose, G.C., Korbel, K., Lictevout, E., Malard, F., Martínez, A., Niemiller, M.L., Robertson, A., Tanalgo, K.C., Bichuette, M.E., Borko, S., Brad, T., Campbell, M.A., Cardoso, P., Celico, F., Cooper, S.J.B., Culver, D., Di Lorenzo, T., Galassi, D.M.P., Guzik, M.T., Hartland, A., Humphreys, W.F., Ferreira, R.L., Lunghi, E., Nizzoli, D., Perina, G., Raghavan, R., Richards, Z., Reboleira, A.S.P.S., Rohde, M.M., Sánchez Fernández, D., Schmidt, S.I., van der Heyde, M., Weaver, L., White, N.E., Zagmajster, M., Hogg, I., Ruhi, A., Gagnon, M.M., Allentoft, M.E., Reinecke, R. (2024):
Groundwater is a hidden global keystone ecosystem
Glob. Change Biol. 30 (1), e17066 10.1111/gcb.17066