Climate models are now predicting a "staggering" catastrophe for deep-sea marine life -- a stark warning that even our planet's most remote ecosystems are not immune from the ravages of climate change.
The new study, led by the National Oceanography Centre, used various climate models to predict changes in food supply throughout the world's oceans.
The scientists then looked at the relationship between food supply and biomass. Grimly, the models predict a 38 percent decline in seafloor-dwelling marine life in the North Atlantic, and 5 percent globally, by 2100.
In addition, the models suggest that more than 80 percent of all identified key seafloor habitats -- like cold-water coral reefs, seamounts and canyons -- will suffer losses in total biomass. The scientists also predict that marine organisms will get increasingly smaller.
"There has been some speculation about climate change impacts on the seafloor, but we wanted to try and make numerical projections for these changes and estimate specifically where they would occur," noted lead author Daniel Jones in a statement.