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Interannual stability of phytoplankton community composition in the North-East Atlantic

Interannual stability of phytoplankton community composition in the North-East Atlantic
Interannual stability of phytoplankton community composition in the North-East Atlantic
As primary producers, phytoplankton play a pivotal role in the marine environment and are central to many biogeochemical processes. Changes to phytoplankton community composition could have major consequences for wider ecosystem functioning and may occur in response to climate change. Here we describe multi-decadal variability in phytoplankton community structure using taxonomic data from the Continuous Plankton Recorder collected in the North-East Atlantic from 1969-2013, using a total of 42 diatom and dinoflagellate taxa. We considered a range of characteristics of community structure, including taxonomic diversity and community stability and disorder, and how these characteristics change in response to sea surface temperature, mixed layer depth and the North Atlantic Oscillation. We found that phytoplankton community composition was largely stable on interannual timescales. A change in community composition occurred between 1985 and 1995 due to an increased dominance of 2 diatom taxa (Rhizosolenia styliformis and Thalassiosira spp.); however, after this period, the community returned to its previous composition. Further, a community disorder analysis found that phytoplankton compositional structure became more rigid in recent years, which may lead to an eventual community shift in the future. In contrast to previous studies that revealed relationships between total phytoplankton abundance or biomass and environmental forcing, we found that community structure had, at most, a very weak relationship with the environmental parameters tested. Changes to the physical environment may therefore have less influence at interannual timescales on phytoplankton community structure than previously thought.
Biodiversity, Bray-Curtis, Community structure, Continuous, Disorder, Long-term analysis, Phytoplankton, Plankton recorder, Stability
0171-8630
43-57
Allen, Stephanie
5078fbb4-6c8e-4a29-8d35-b332f8ae59b7
Henson, Stephanie
d6532e17-a65b-4d7b-9ee3-755ecb565c19
Hickman, Anna
a99786c6-65e6-48c8-8b58-0d3b5608be92
Beaulieu, Claudie
28d711f1-59db-48d5-bd5c-eb04ae055dbc
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Johns, David G.
e14bdb16-71b4-4e61-b5fe-da6c75486489
Allen, Stephanie
5078fbb4-6c8e-4a29-8d35-b332f8ae59b7
Henson, Stephanie
d6532e17-a65b-4d7b-9ee3-755ecb565c19
Hickman, Anna
a99786c6-65e6-48c8-8b58-0d3b5608be92
Beaulieu, Claudie
28d711f1-59db-48d5-bd5c-eb04ae055dbc
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Johns, David G.
e14bdb16-71b4-4e61-b5fe-da6c75486489

Allen, Stephanie, Henson, Stephanie, Hickman, Anna, Beaulieu, Claudie, Doncaster, C. Patrick and Johns, David G. (2020) Interannual stability of phytoplankton community composition in the North-East Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 655 (655), 43-57. (doi:10.3354/meps13515).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As primary producers, phytoplankton play a pivotal role in the marine environment and are central to many biogeochemical processes. Changes to phytoplankton community composition could have major consequences for wider ecosystem functioning and may occur in response to climate change. Here we describe multi-decadal variability in phytoplankton community structure using taxonomic data from the Continuous Plankton Recorder collected in the North-East Atlantic from 1969-2013, using a total of 42 diatom and dinoflagellate taxa. We considered a range of characteristics of community structure, including taxonomic diversity and community stability and disorder, and how these characteristics change in response to sea surface temperature, mixed layer depth and the North Atlantic Oscillation. We found that phytoplankton community composition was largely stable on interannual timescales. A change in community composition occurred between 1985 and 1995 due to an increased dominance of 2 diatom taxa (Rhizosolenia styliformis and Thalassiosira spp.); however, after this period, the community returned to its previous composition. Further, a community disorder analysis found that phytoplankton compositional structure became more rigid in recent years, which may lead to an eventual community shift in the future. In contrast to previous studies that revealed relationships between total phytoplankton abundance or biomass and environmental forcing, we found that community structure had, at most, a very weak relationship with the environmental parameters tested. Changes to the physical environment may therefore have less influence at interannual timescales on phytoplankton community structure than previously thought.

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Published date: 26 November 2020
Keywords: Biodiversity, Bray-Curtis, Community structure, Continuous, Disorder, Long-term analysis, Phytoplankton, Plankton recorder, Stability

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445602
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445602
ISSN: 0171-8630
PURE UUID: 156f53b7-b669-43ea-a519-d78799acd91d
ORCID for Stephanie Allen: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5414-1931
ORCID for Anna Hickman: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2774-3934
ORCID for C. Patrick Doncaster: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9406-0693

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Date deposited: 17 Dec 2020 17:31
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:58

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Contributors

Author: Stephanie Allen ORCID iD
Author: Anna Hickman ORCID iD
Author: Claudie Beaulieu
Author: David G. Johns

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