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Intraspecific size variation in planktonic foraminifera cannot be consistently predicted by the environment

Intraspecific size variation in planktonic foraminifera cannot be consistently predicted by the environment
Intraspecific size variation in planktonic foraminifera cannot be consistently predicted by the environment
The size structure of plankton communities is an important determinant of their functions in marine ecosystems. However, few studies have quantified how organism size varies within species across biogeographical scales. Here, we investigate how planktonic foraminifera, a ubiquitous zooplankton group, vary in size across the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world. Using a recently digitized museum collection, we measured shell area of 3,799 individuals of nine extant species in 53 seafloor sediments. We first analyzed potential size biases in the collection. Then, for each site, we obtained corresponding local values of mean annual sea‐surface temperature (SST), net primary productivity (NPP), and relative abundance of each species. Given former studies, we expected species to reach largest shell sizes under optimal environmental conditions. In contrast, we observe that species differ in how much their size variation is explained by SST, NPP, and/or relative abundance. While some species have predictable size variation given these variables (Trilobatus sacculifer, Globigerinoides conglobatus, Globigerinella siphonifera, Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, Globorotalia truncatulinoides), other species show no relationships between size and the studied covariates (Globigerinoides ruber, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globorotalia menardii, Globoconella inflata). By incorporating intraspecific variation and sampling broader geographical ranges compared to previous studies, we conclude that shell size variation in planktonic foraminifera species cannot be consistently predicted by the environment. Our results caution against the general use of size as a proxy for planktonic foraminifera environmental optima. More generally, our work highlights the utility of natural history collections and the importance of studying intraspecific variation when interpreting macroecological patterns.
2045-7758
11579-11590
Rillo, Marina C.
07ef3ed2-cf06-4d61-8c10-1acd1420ff43
Miller, C. Giles
880e85b1-7e67-4550-acc4-fb905dc1c3ed
Kucera, Michal
60f5b0d0-b552-45f9-96c0-f4a7004643ba
Ezard, Thomas H. G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Rillo, Marina C.
07ef3ed2-cf06-4d61-8c10-1acd1420ff43
Miller, C. Giles
880e85b1-7e67-4550-acc4-fb905dc1c3ed
Kucera, Michal
60f5b0d0-b552-45f9-96c0-f4a7004643ba
Ezard, Thomas H. G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374

Rillo, Marina C., Miller, C. Giles, Kucera, Michal and Ezard, Thomas H. G. (2020) Intraspecific size variation in planktonic foraminifera cannot be consistently predicted by the environment. Ecology and Evolution, 10 (20), 11579-11590. (doi:10.1002/ece3.v10.20).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The size structure of plankton communities is an important determinant of their functions in marine ecosystems. However, few studies have quantified how organism size varies within species across biogeographical scales. Here, we investigate how planktonic foraminifera, a ubiquitous zooplankton group, vary in size across the tropical and subtropical oceans of the world. Using a recently digitized museum collection, we measured shell area of 3,799 individuals of nine extant species in 53 seafloor sediments. We first analyzed potential size biases in the collection. Then, for each site, we obtained corresponding local values of mean annual sea‐surface temperature (SST), net primary productivity (NPP), and relative abundance of each species. Given former studies, we expected species to reach largest shell sizes under optimal environmental conditions. In contrast, we observe that species differ in how much their size variation is explained by SST, NPP, and/or relative abundance. While some species have predictable size variation given these variables (Trilobatus sacculifer, Globigerinoides conglobatus, Globigerinella siphonifera, Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, Globorotalia truncatulinoides), other species show no relationships between size and the studied covariates (Globigerinoides ruber, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globorotalia menardii, Globoconella inflata). By incorporating intraspecific variation and sampling broader geographical ranges compared to previous studies, we conclude that shell size variation in planktonic foraminifera species cannot be consistently predicted by the environment. Our results caution against the general use of size as a proxy for planktonic foraminifera environmental optima. More generally, our work highlights the utility of natural history collections and the importance of studying intraspecific variation when interpreting macroecological patterns.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 25 August 2020
Published date: 28 October 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445135
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445135
ISSN: 2045-7758
PURE UUID: e3f9850c-a1be-4647-812b-671f6425ac59
ORCID for Thomas H. G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

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Date deposited: 23 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:21

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Contributors

Author: Marina C. Rillo
Author: C. Giles Miller
Author: Michal Kucera
Author: Thomas H. G. Ezard ORCID iD

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