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Seasonal variation of zooplankton community structure and trophic position in the Celtic Sea: a stable isotope and biovolume spectrum approach

Seasonal variation of zooplankton community structure and trophic position in the Celtic Sea: a stable isotope and biovolume spectrum approach
Seasonal variation of zooplankton community structure and trophic position in the Celtic Sea: a stable isotope and biovolume spectrum approach
Zooplankton on continental shelves represent an important intermediary in the transfer of energy and matter from phytoplankton to the wider ecosystem. Their taxonomic composition and trophic interactions with phytoplankton vary in space and time, and interpreting the implications of this constantly evolving landscape remains a major challenge. Here we combine plankton taxonomic data with the analysis of biovolume spectra and stable isotopes to provide insights into the trophic interactions that occur in a shelf sea ecosystem (Celtic Sea) across the spring-summer-autumn transition. Biovolume spectra captured the seasonal development of the zooplankton community well, both in terms of total biomass and trophic positioning, and matched trophic positions estimated by stable isotope analysis. In early April, large microplankton (63-200 µm) occupied higher trophic positions than mesozooplankton (>200 µm), likely reflecting the predominance of nanoplankton (2-20 µm) that were not readily available to mesozooplankton grazers. Biomass and number of trophic levels increased during the spring bloom as elevated primary production allowed for a higher abundance of predatory species. During July, the plankton assemblage occupied relatively high trophic positions, indicating important links to the microbial loop and the recycling of organic matter. The strong correlation between biomass and community trophic level across the study suggests that the Celtic Sea is a relatively enclosed and predominantly energy-limited ecosystem. The progression of the zooplankton biomass and community structure within the central shelf region was different to that at the shelf-break, potentially reflecting increased predatory control of copepods by macrozooplankton and pelagic fishes at the shelf break. We suggest that the combination of size spectra and stable isotope techniques are highly complementary and useful for interpreting the seasonal progression of trophic interactions in the plankton.
0079-6611
Giering, Sarah L.C.
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Wells, Seona R.
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Mayers, Kyle M.J.
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Schuster, Hanna
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Cornwell, Louise
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Fileman, Elaine
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Atkinson, Angus
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Cook, Kathryn B.
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Preece, Calum
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Mayor, Daniel J.
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Giering, Sarah L.C.
e9b75287-e35e-414a-a5f2-cef9f2ab2efd
Wells, Seona R.
d6b6b801-f3d6-445d-babc-ea328a28b418
Mayers, Kyle M.J.
9841ee5d-63fb-441e-a5e7-5b611468723d
Schuster, Hanna
5e19ea1f-c497-432e-9d61-fd01fd3f4044
Cornwell, Louise
af71ad84-d9f0-43e8-a8dd-562a3b854555
Fileman, Elaine
d8e38b7c-a6eb-4426-84db-207e4fb675a0
Atkinson, Angus
77d9c544-2749-46fe-b991-df2a11d1d6be
Cook, Kathryn B.
0e79ffb5-71ae-4cc7-aeee-8abbb110a346
Preece, Calum
2a81c97b-ef51-4106-a419-c3f0f3b20b29
Mayor, Daniel J.
55f90e04-de18-481a-8d76-b4514087f198

Giering, Sarah L.C., Wells, Seona R., Mayers, Kyle M.J., Schuster, Hanna, Cornwell, Louise, Fileman, Elaine, Atkinson, Angus, Cook, Kathryn B., Preece, Calum and Mayor, Daniel J. (2018) Seasonal variation of zooplankton community structure and trophic position in the Celtic Sea: a stable isotope and biovolume spectrum approach. Progress in Oceanography. (doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2018.03.012).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Zooplankton on continental shelves represent an important intermediary in the transfer of energy and matter from phytoplankton to the wider ecosystem. Their taxonomic composition and trophic interactions with phytoplankton vary in space and time, and interpreting the implications of this constantly evolving landscape remains a major challenge. Here we combine plankton taxonomic data with the analysis of biovolume spectra and stable isotopes to provide insights into the trophic interactions that occur in a shelf sea ecosystem (Celtic Sea) across the spring-summer-autumn transition. Biovolume spectra captured the seasonal development of the zooplankton community well, both in terms of total biomass and trophic positioning, and matched trophic positions estimated by stable isotope analysis. In early April, large microplankton (63-200 µm) occupied higher trophic positions than mesozooplankton (>200 µm), likely reflecting the predominance of nanoplankton (2-20 µm) that were not readily available to mesozooplankton grazers. Biomass and number of trophic levels increased during the spring bloom as elevated primary production allowed for a higher abundance of predatory species. During July, the plankton assemblage occupied relatively high trophic positions, indicating important links to the microbial loop and the recycling of organic matter. The strong correlation between biomass and community trophic level across the study suggests that the Celtic Sea is a relatively enclosed and predominantly energy-limited ecosystem. The progression of the zooplankton biomass and community structure within the central shelf region was different to that at the shelf-break, potentially reflecting increased predatory control of copepods by macrozooplankton and pelagic fishes at the shelf break. We suggest that the combination of size spectra and stable isotope techniques are highly complementary and useful for interpreting the seasonal progression of trophic interactions in the plankton.

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1-s2.0-S0079661118300399-main - Accepted Manuscript
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e-pub ahead of print date: 16 March 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 421144
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421144
ISSN: 0079-6611
PURE UUID: 4b9447f7-20ed-45e8-9887-1fc6f07663fd

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Date deposited: 23 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:25

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