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Climate change and eutrophication induced shifts in Northern summer plankton communities

Suikkanen, Sanna and Pulina, Silvia and Engström-Öst, Jonna and Lehtiniemi, Maiju and Lehtinen, Sirpa and Brutemark, Andreas (2013) Climate change and eutrophication induced shifts in Northern summer plankton communities. PLoS One, Vol. 8 (6), e66475. eISSN 1932-6203. Article.

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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066475

Abstract

Marine ecosystems are undergoing substantial changes due to human-induced pressures. Analysis of long-term data series is a valuable tool for understanding naturally and anthropogenically induced changes in plankton communities. In the present study, seasonal monitoring data were collected in three sub-basins of the northern Baltic Sea between 1979 and 2011 and statistically analysed for trends and interactions between surface water hydrography, inorganic nutrient concentrations and phyto- and zooplankton community composition. The most conspicuous hydrographic change was a significant increase in late summer surface water temperatures over the study period. In addition, salinity decreased and dissolved inorganic nutrient concentrations increased in some basins. Based on redundancy analysis (RDA), warming was the key environmental factor explaining the observed changes in plankton communities: the general increase in total phytoplankton biomass, Cyanophyceae, Prymnesiophyceae and Chrysophyceae, and decrease in Cryptophyceae throughout the study area, as well as increase in rotifers and decrease in total zooplankton, cladoceran and copepod abundances in some basins. We conclude that the plankton communities in the Baltic Sea have shifted towards a food web structure with smaller sized organisms, leading to decreased energy available for grazing zooplankton and planktivorous fish. The shift is most probably due to complex interactions between warming, eutrophication and increased top-down pressure due to overexploitation of resources, and the resulting trophic cascades.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:9650
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Marine ecosystems, climate change, anthropogenically induced changes, plankton communities, Baltic Sea
Subjects:Area 05 - Scienze biologiche > BIO/07 Ecologia
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01-a Nuovi Dipartimenti dal 2012 > Scienze della Natura e del Territorio
Publisher:Public Library of Science
eISSN:1932-6203
Copyright Holders:© 2013 Suikkanen et al.
Deposited On:27 Feb 2014 11:16

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