Spatial and temporal shift in the factors affecting the population dynamics of Calanus copepods in the North Sea.

Montero, JT; Lima, M; Estay, SA; Rezende, EL. 2020 Spatial and temporal shift in the factors affecting the population dynamics of Calanus copepods in the North Sea.. Global Change Biology, 27 (3). 576-586. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15394

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Abstract/Summary

The swap in abundance between two Calanus species in the North Sea during the 1980s constitutes a quintessential example of regime shift, with important ecosystemic and economic repercussions because these copepods constitute a major component of the diet of larval and juvenile cods. It is hypothesized that this transition was driven by gradual changes in primary productivity, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and sea surface temperatures (SST), and yet how these factors contribute to the population dynamics of these two species and the overall regime shift remains unclear. Here, we combine a highly resolved and spatially structured longitudinal dataset with population dynamics theory-based models to obtain a thorough and more detailed description of populations’ responses to the regime shift observed in the North Sea. Our analyses highlight that this transition exhibits a clear spatial structure and involved a decoupling between the dynamics of Calanus finmarchicus and the NAO in western regions and between Calanus helgolandicus and SST in the eastern regions of the North Sea. Consequently, the observed switch in abundance between these species reflects the interaction between species-specific attributes, a well-defined spatial structure with a marked east–west axis and a decoupling between the ecological drivers and Calanus population dynamics following the shift. Succinctly, we suspect that higher water temperatures have favored C. helgolandicus and resulted in restrictive conditions for C. finmarchicus, eventually overshadowing the effects of NAO detected in historical records. Overall, our study illustrates how population dynamics theory can be successfully employed to disentangle the complex and multifactorial nature of a regime shift in response to gradually changing environmental conditions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: copepods, interspecific interaction, North Atlantic Oscillation, population dynamics, regime shift
Subjects: Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Ecosystems and Environmental Change > Global environmental change and marine ecosystems
Depositing User: Emily Smart
Date made live: 28 Sep 2021 14:37
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 14:37
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9383

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