Spatial and inter-decadal variability in plankton abundance and composition in the Northwest Atlantic (1958-2006)

Head, EHJ; Pepin, P. 2010 Spatial and inter-decadal variability in plankton abundance and composition in the Northwest Atlantic (1958-2006). Journal of Plankton Research, 32 (12). 1633-1648.

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Abstract/Summary

The results of Continuous Plankton Recorder sampling in the NW Atlantic between 1958 and 2006 are presented for 11 plankton taxa in eight shelf and deep ocean regions. For shelf regions, phytoplankton abundances increased in the early 1990s, mainly in winter, as the contribution of Arctic-derived freshwater to the Newfoundland (NLS) and Scotian shelves (SS) increased. Farther east, in the sub-polar gyre, phytoplankton levels increased with rising temperatures during the 1990s and 2000s. In both areas, the changes can be explained by increased stratification. The increased influx of arctic water to the NLS in the 1990s was also probably directly responsible for the increased abundances of two arctic Calanus species (C. glacialis and C. hyperboreus) and indirectly responsible for the decreased abundance of Calanus I–IV (mainly C. finmarchicus), perhaps via changes in food composition. On the SS the arctic Calanus species increased in abundance in the 2000s, likely as the result of increased transport from the Arctic via the Gulf of St Lawrence. In the deep ocean, plankton seasonal cycles changed little over the decades and increasing phytoplankton levels in the 2000s were accompanied by increases in zooplankton abundance, suggesting bottom-up control. In shelf regions, phytoplankton increases in the 1990s were in winter and Calanus I–IV appeared earlier in spring than in previous decades. Zooplankton levels generally did not change overall however, perhaps because the species examined were mainly inactive during winter.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 17:57
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/5759

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