Pattern and scale of variability among Northwest Atlantic Shelf plankton communities

Pershing, AJ, Head, EHJ, Greene, CH and Jossi, JW 2010 Pattern and scale of variability among Northwest Atlantic Shelf plankton communities. Journal of Plankton Research, 32 (12). 1661-1674.

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Continuous plankton recorders (CPRs) have been used in the Northwest Atlantic for almost 50 years. While data collected by these surveys have provided valuable information on long-term variability in plankton populations, all previous analyses have been limited to only a portion of the geographic range of the available data. Here we present an analysis of the CPR data from the Mid Atlantic Bight to the Labrador Sea. Across this wide geographic range, we found many common associations among the taxa. In particular, the changes in most regions were strongly size structured, with small and medium copepods varying together and often positively related to indicators of phytoplankton abundance. The time series from nearby regions were strongly correlated; however, after 1990, the spatial pattern became more complex. During this period, several of the copepod taxa, noticeably Calanus finmarchicus and Centropages typicus, experienced a series of anomalies that appeared to propagate from northeast to southwest. Although the direction of propagation was consistent with the shelf circulation, the anomalies propagated at a rate much slower than typical current speeds. The timing of the copepod anomalies and their phase speed were similar in character to observed changes in salinity and the position of the Shelf Slope Front. The correspondence between the changes in the plankton community and changes in the physical environmental suggests that physical conditions are a strong driver of interannual variability in Northwest Atlantic Shelf ecosystems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Depositing User: Miss Gemma Brice
Date made live: 26 Mar 2014 14:09
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 17:57

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