Covariance among North Sea ecosystem state indicators during the past 50 years - contrasts between coastal and open waters

McQuatters-Gollop, A and Vermaat, JE 2011 Covariance among North Sea ecosystem state indicators during the past 50 years - contrasts between coastal and open waters. Journal of Sea Research, 65 (2). 294-292.

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Regime shift and principal component analysis of a spatially disaggregated database capturing time-series of climatic, nutrient and plankton variables in the North Sea revealed considerable covariance between groups of ecosystem indicators. Plankton and climate time-series span the period 1958–2003, those of nutrients start in 1980. In both regions, the period from 1989 to 2001 identified in principal component 1 had warmer surface waters, higher Atlantic inflow and stronger winds, than the periods before or after. However, it was preceded by a regime shift in both open (PC2) and coastal (PC3) waters during 1977 towards more hours of sunlight and higher water temperature, which lasted until 1997. The relative influence of nutrient availability and climatic forcing differed between open and coastal North Sea regions. Inter-annual variability in phytoplankton dynamics of the open North Sea was primarily regulated by climatic forcing, specifically by sea surface temperature, Atlantic inflow and co-varying wind stress and NAO. Coastal phytoplankton variability, however, was regulated by insolation and sea surface temperature, as well as Si availability, but not by N or P. Regime shifts in principal components of hydrographic and climatic variables (explaining 55 and 61% of the variance in coastal and open water variables) were detected using Rodionov's sequential t-test. These shifts in hydroclimatic variables which occurred around 1977, 1989, 1997 and 2001, were synchronized in open and coastal waters, and were tracked by open water chlorophyll and copepods, but not by coastal plankton. North–central–south or open-coastal spatial breakdowns of the North Sea explained similar amounts of variability in most ecosystem indicators with the exception of diatom abundance and chlorophyll concentration, which were clearly better explained using the open-coastal configuration.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Regime Shift; Eutrophication; Dissolved Silica; Bottom-up forcing; Time-series
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 17:57

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