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Temperature-correlated changes in phytoplankton community structure are restricted to polar waters

Temperature-correlated changes in phytoplankton community structure are restricted to polar waters
Temperature-correlated changes in phytoplankton community structure are restricted to polar waters
Globally distributed observations of size-fractionated chlorophyll a and temperature were used to incorporate temperature dependence into an existing semi-empirical model of phytoplankton community size structure. The additional temperature-dependent term significantly increased the model’s ability to both reproduce and predict observations of chlorophyll a size-fractionation at temperatures below 2°C. The most notable improvements were in the smallest (picoplankton) size-class, for which overall model fit was more than doubled, and predictive skill was increased by approximately 40%. The model was subsequently applied to generate global maps for three phytoplankton size classes, on the basis of satellite-derived estimates of surface chlorophyll a and sea surface temperature. Polar waters were associated with marked decline in the chlorophyll a biomass of the smallest cells, relative to lower latitude waters of equivalent total chlorophyll a. In the same regions a complementary increase was seen in the chlorophyll a biomass of larger size classes. These findings suggest that a warming and stratifying ocean will see a poleward expansion of the habitat range of the smallest phytoplankton, with the possible displacement of some larger groups that currently dominate. There was no evidence of a strong temperature dependence in tropical or sub-tropical regions, suggesting that future direct temperature effects on community structure at lower latitudes may be small.
1932-6203
1-15
Ward, Ben A.
9063af30-e344-4626-9470-8db7c1543d05
Ward, Ben A.
9063af30-e344-4626-9470-8db7c1543d05

Ward, Ben A. (2015) Temperature-correlated changes in phytoplankton community structure are restricted to polar waters. PLoS ONE, 10 (8), 1-15, [e0135581]. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135581).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Globally distributed observations of size-fractionated chlorophyll a and temperature were used to incorporate temperature dependence into an existing semi-empirical model of phytoplankton community size structure. The additional temperature-dependent term significantly increased the model’s ability to both reproduce and predict observations of chlorophyll a size-fractionation at temperatures below 2°C. The most notable improvements were in the smallest (picoplankton) size-class, for which overall model fit was more than doubled, and predictive skill was increased by approximately 40%. The model was subsequently applied to generate global maps for three phytoplankton size classes, on the basis of satellite-derived estimates of surface chlorophyll a and sea surface temperature. Polar waters were associated with marked decline in the chlorophyll a biomass of the smallest cells, relative to lower latitude waters of equivalent total chlorophyll a. In the same regions a complementary increase was seen in the chlorophyll a biomass of larger size classes. These findings suggest that a warming and stratifying ocean will see a poleward expansion of the habitat range of the smallest phytoplankton, with the possible displacement of some larger groups that currently dominate. There was no evidence of a strong temperature dependence in tropical or sub-tropical regions, suggesting that future direct temperature effects on community structure at lower latitudes may be small.

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journal pone 0135581 - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 24 July 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 18 August 2015
Published date: 18 August 2015

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 416690
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/416690
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: 6c6e0218-c5ae-4bc2-85ff-93ef21aac628

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Date deposited: 05 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 26 Apr 2022 19:31

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