Monitoring marine plankton ecosystems: Identification of the most relevant indicators of the state of an ecosystem

Ibanez, F; Beaugrand, G. 2008 Monitoring marine plankton ecosystems: Identification of the most relevant indicators of the state of an ecosystem. Journal of Marine Systems, 73 (1-2). 138-154.

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The number of variables involved in the monitoring of an ecosystem can be high and often one of the first stages in the analysis is to reduce the number of variables. We describe a method developed for geological purposes, using the information theory, that enables selection of the most relevant variables. This technique also allows the examination of the asymmetrical relationships between variables. Applied to a set of physical and biological variables (plankton assemblages in four areas of the North Sea), the method shows that biological variables are more informative than physical variables although the controlling factors are mainly physical (sea surface temperature in winter and spring). Among biological variables, diversity measures and warm-water species assemblages are informative for the state of the North Sea pelagic ecosystems while among physical variables sea surface temperature in late winter and early spring are highly informative. Although often used in bioclimatology, the utilisation of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index does not seem to provide a lot of information. The method reveals that only the extreme states of this index has an influence on North Sea pelagic ecosystems. The substantial and persistent changes that were detected in the dynamic regime of the North Sea ecosystems and called regime shift are detected by the method and corresponds to the timing of other shifts described in the literature for some European Systems such as the Baltic and the Mediterranean Sea when both physical and biological variables are considered.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:11

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