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The biogeography of marine plankton traits

The biogeography of marine plankton traits
The biogeography of marine plankton traits
Changes in marine plankton communities driven by environmental variability impact the marine food web and global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and other elements. To predict and assess these community shifts and their consequences, ecologists are increasingly investigating how the functional traits of plankton determine their relative fitness along environmental and biological gradients. Laboratory, field and modelling studies are adopting this trait-based approach to map the biogeography of plankton traits that underlies variations in plankton communities. Here, we review progress towards understanding the regulatory roles of several key plankton functional traits, including cell size, N2-fixation and mixotrophy among phytoplankton, and body size, ontogeny and feeding behaviour for zooplankton. The trait biogeographical approach sheds light on what structures plankton communities in the current ocean, as well as under climate change scenarios, and also allows for finer resolution of community function because community trait composition determines the rates of significant processes, including carbon export. Although understanding of trait biogeography is growing, uncertainties remain that stem, in part, from the paucity of observations describing plankton functional traits. Thus, in addition to recommending widespread adoption of the trait-based approach, we advocate for enhanced collection, standardisation and dissemination of plankton functional trait data.
1461-023X
522-534
Barton, Andrew D.
7ca404e5-783a-47d5-bc18-3a6c47001b20
Pershing, Andrew J.
9b6d6daf-d7fc-4cc5-8f51-20896821b376
Litchman, Elena
cfde0b7f-5146-496a-9e62-8b43dc65b4ef
Record, Nicholas R.
8d5d8002-2c89-4467-b027-443cf4c708ec
Edwards, Kyle F.
e5ace031-be94-47a7-b21a-4b1701fe4806
Finkel, Zoe V.
de3b50d6-4748-42bc-87e6-dfc40a7b785f
Kiørboe, Thomas
91f00cf3-82fe-4323-9369-24fde8766cf1
Ward, Ben A.
9063af30-e344-4626-9470-8db7c1543d05
Barton, Andrew D.
7ca404e5-783a-47d5-bc18-3a6c47001b20
Pershing, Andrew J.
9b6d6daf-d7fc-4cc5-8f51-20896821b376
Litchman, Elena
cfde0b7f-5146-496a-9e62-8b43dc65b4ef
Record, Nicholas R.
8d5d8002-2c89-4467-b027-443cf4c708ec
Edwards, Kyle F.
e5ace031-be94-47a7-b21a-4b1701fe4806
Finkel, Zoe V.
de3b50d6-4748-42bc-87e6-dfc40a7b785f
Kiørboe, Thomas
91f00cf3-82fe-4323-9369-24fde8766cf1
Ward, Ben A.
9063af30-e344-4626-9470-8db7c1543d05

Barton, Andrew D., Pershing, Andrew J., Litchman, Elena, Record, Nicholas R., Edwards, Kyle F., Finkel, Zoe V., Kiørboe, Thomas and Ward, Ben A. (2013) The biogeography of marine plankton traits. Ecology Letters, 16 (4), 522-534. (doi:10.1111/ele.12063).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Changes in marine plankton communities driven by environmental variability impact the marine food web and global biogeochemical cycles of carbon and other elements. To predict and assess these community shifts and their consequences, ecologists are increasingly investigating how the functional traits of plankton determine their relative fitness along environmental and biological gradients. Laboratory, field and modelling studies are adopting this trait-based approach to map the biogeography of plankton traits that underlies variations in plankton communities. Here, we review progress towards understanding the regulatory roles of several key plankton functional traits, including cell size, N2-fixation and mixotrophy among phytoplankton, and body size, ontogeny and feeding behaviour for zooplankton. The trait biogeographical approach sheds light on what structures plankton communities in the current ocean, as well as under climate change scenarios, and also allows for finer resolution of community function because community trait composition determines the rates of significant processes, including carbon export. Although understanding of trait biogeography is growing, uncertainties remain that stem, in part, from the paucity of observations describing plankton functional traits. Thus, in addition to recommending widespread adoption of the trait-based approach, we advocate for enhanced collection, standardisation and dissemination of plankton functional trait data.

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Published date: April 2013

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417009
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417009
ISSN: 1461-023X
PURE UUID: 8ce9a7bb-39ce-4640-b15d-096806db77aa

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Date deposited: 17 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 18 Oct 2018 16:30

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