Effects on zooplankton of a warmer ocean: Recent evidence from the Northeast Pacific

Mackas, DL; Batten, SD; Trudel, M. 2007 Effects on zooplankton of a warmer ocean: Recent evidence from the Northeast Pacific. Progress in Oceanography, 75 (2). 223-252.

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Abstract/Summary

The consequences for pelagic communities of warming trends in mid and high latitude ocean regions could be substantial, but their magnitude and trajectory are not yet known. Environmental changes predicted by climate models (and beginning to be confirmed by observations) include warming and freshening of the upper ocean and reduction in the extent and duration of ice cover. One way to evaluate response scenarios is by comparing how "similar" zooplankton communities have differed among years and/or locations with differing temperature. The subarctic Pacific is a strong candidate for such comparisons, because the same mix of zooplankton species dominates over a wide range of temperature climatologies, and observations have spanned substantial temperature variability at interannual-to-decadal time scales. In this paper, we review and extend copepod abundance and phenology time series from net tow and Continuous Plankton Recorder surveys in the subarctic Northeast Pacific. The two strongest responses we have observed are latitudinal shifts in centers of abundance of many species (poleward under warm conditions), and changes in the life cycle timing of Neocalanus plumchrus in both oceanic and coastal regions (earlier by several weeks in warm years and at warmer locations). These zooplankton data, plus indices of higher trophic level responses such as reproduction, growth and survival of pelagic fish and seabirds, are all moderately-to-strongly intercorrelated (vertical bar r vertical bar = 0.25-0.8) with indices of local and basin-scale temperature anomalies. A principal components analysis of the normalized anomaly time series from 1979 to 2004 shows that a single "warm-and-low-productivity" vs. "cool-and-high-productivity" component axis accounts for over half of the variance/covariance. Prior to 1990, the scores for this component were negative ("cool" and "productive") or near zero except positive in the El Nino years 1983 and 1987. The scores were strongly and increasingly positive ("warm" and "low productivity") from 1992 to 1998; negative from 1999 to 2002; and again increasingly positive from 2003-present. We suggest that, in strongly seasonal environments, anomalously high temperature may provide misleading environmental cues that contribute to timing mismatch between life history events and the more-nearly-fixed seasonality of insolation, stratification, and food supply. Crown Copyright (c) 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Staff, WOS
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/5836

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