Is the Russell Cycle a true cycle? Multidecadal zooplankton and climate trends in the western English Channel

McManus, MC, Licandro, P and Coombs, SH 2015 Is the Russell Cycle a true cycle? Multidecadal zooplankton and climate trends in the western English Channel. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil, 73 (2). 227-238.

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The Russell Cycle is one of the classical examples of climate influence on biological oceanography, represented as shifts in the marine plankton over several decades with warm and cool conditions. While the time-series data associated with the phenomenon indicate cyclical patterns, the question remains whether or not the Russell Cycle should be considered a “true cycle”. Zooplankton time-series data from 1924 to 2011 from the western English Channel were analysed with principal component (PC), correlation and spectral analyses to determine the dominant trends, and cyclic frequencies of the Russell Cycle indicators in relation to long-term hydroclimatic indices. PC1 accounted for 37.4% of the variability in the zooplankton data with the main contributions from non-clupeid fish larvae, southwestern zooplankton, and overall zooplankton biovolume. For PC2 (14.6% of data variance), the dominant groups were northern fish larvae, non-sardine eggs, and southern fish larvae. Sardine eggs were the major contributors to PC3 (representing 12.1% of data variance). No significant correlations were observed between the above three components and climate indices: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, and local seawater temperature. Significant 44- and 29-year frequencies were observed for PC3, but the physical mechanisms driving the cycles are unclear. Harmonic analysis did not reveal any significant frequencies in the physical variables or in PCs 1 and 2. To a large extent, this is due to the dominant cycles in all datasets generally being long term (>50 years or so) and not readily resolved in the examined time frame of 88 years, hence restricting the ability to draw firm conclusions on the multidecadal relationship between zooplankton community dynamics in the western English Channel and environmental indices. Thus, the zooplankton time-series often associated and represented as the Russell Cycle cannot be concluded as being truly cyclical.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation; North Atlantic Oscillation; Russell Cycle; western English Channel; zooplankton
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Other (MBA)
Depositing User: Barbara Bultmann
Date made live: 04 Oct 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:57

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