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  1. Abstract Aim

    One of the primary characteristics that determines the structure and function of marine food webs is the utilization and prominence of energy‐rich lipids. The biogeographical pattern of lipids throughout the ocean delineates the marine “lipidscape,” which supports lipid‐rich fish, mammal, and seabird communities. While the importance of lipids is well appreciated, there are no synoptic measurements or biogeographical estimates of the marine lipidscape. Productive lipid‐rich food webs in the pelagic ocean depend on the critical diapause stage of large pelagic copepods, which integrate lipid production from phytoplankton, concentrating it in space and time, and making it available to upper trophic levels as particularly energy‐rich wax esters. As an important first step towards mapping the marine lipidscape, we compared four different modelling approaches of copepodid diapause, each representing different underlying hypotheses, and evaluated them against global datasets.


    Global Ocean.




    Through a series of global model runs and data comparisons, we demonstrated the potential for regional studies to be extended to estimate global biogeographical patterns of diapause. We compared four modelling approaches each designed from a different perspective: life history, physiology, trait‐based community ecology, and empirical relationships. We compared the resulting biogeographical patterns and evaluated the model results against global measurements of copepodid diapause.


    Models were able to resolve more than just the latitudinal pattern of diapause (i.e. increased diapause prevalence near the poles), but to also pick up a diversity of regions where diapause occurs, such as coastal upwelling zones and seasonal seas. The life history model provided the best match to global observations. The predicted global biogeographical patterns, combined with carbon flux estimates, suggested a lower bound of 0.031–0.25 Pg C yr−1of downward flux associated with copepodid diapause.

    Main conclusions

    Results indicated a promising path forward for representing a detailed biogeography of the marine lipidscape and its associated carbon flux in global ecosystem and climate models. While complex models may offer advantages in terms of reproducing details of community structure, simpler theoretically based models appeared to best reproduce broad‐scale biogeographical patterns and showed the best correlation with observed biogeographical patterns.

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  2. Abstract

    Taylor's law (TL), a commonly observed and applied pattern in ecology, describes variances of population densities as related to mean densities via log(variance) = log(a) + b*log(mean). Variations among datasets in the slope,b, have been associated with multiple factors of central importance in ecology, including strength of competitive interactions and demographic rates. But these associations are not transparent, and the relative importance of these and other factors for TL slope variation is poorly studied. TL is thus a ubiquitously used indicator in ecology, the understanding of which is still opaque.

    The goal of this study was to provide tools to help fill this gap in understanding by providingproximate determinants of TL slopes, statistical quantities that are correlated to TL slopes but are simpler than the slope itself and are more readily linked to ecological factors.

    Using numeric simulations and 82 multi‐decadal population datasets, we here propose, test and apply two proximate statistical determinants of TL slopes which we argue can become key tools for understanding the nature and ecological causes of TL slope variation.

    We find that measures based on population skewness, coefficient of variation and synchrony are effective proximate determinants. We demonstrate their potential for application by using them to help explain covariation in slopes of spatial and temporal TL (two common types of TL).

    This study provides tools for understanding TL, and demonstrates their usefulness.

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  3. Dolgov, Andrey (Ed.)
    Abstract The phenology, distribution, and size composition of plankton communities are changing rapidly in response to warming. This may lead to shifts in the prey fields of planktivorous fish, which play a key role in transferring energy up marine food chains. Here, we use 60 + years of Continuous Plankton Recorder data to explore temporal trends in key taxa and community traits in the prey field of planktivorous lesser sandeels (Ammodytes marinus) in the North Sea, the Faroes and southern Iceland. We found marked spatial variation in the prey field, with Calanus copepods generally being much more common in the northern part of the study area. In the western North Sea, the estimated amount of available energy in the prey field has decreased by more than 50% since the 1960s. This decrease was accompanied by declining abundances of small copepods, and shifts in the timing of peak annual prey abundances. Further, the estimated average prey community body size has increased in several of the locations considered. Overall, our results point to the importance of regional studies of prey fields, and caution against inferring ecological consequences based only on large-scale trends in key taxa or mean community traits. 
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  4. Abstract The changing Arctic environment is affecting zooplankton that support its abundant wildlife. We examined how these changes are influencing a key zooplankton species, Calanus finmarchicus , principally found in the North Atlantic but expatriated to the Arctic. Close to the ice-edge in the Fram Strait, we identified areas that, since the 1980s, are increasingly favourable to C. finmarchicus . Field-sampling revealed part of the population there to be capable of amassing enough reserves to overwinter. Early developmental stages were also present in early summer, suggesting successful local recruitment. This extension to suitable C. finmarchicus habitat is most likely facilitated by the long-term retreat of the ice-edge, allowing phytoplankton to bloom earlier and for longer and through higher temperatures increasing copepod developmental rates. The increased capacity for this species to complete its life-cycle and prosper in the Fram Strait can change community structure, with large consequences to regional food-webs. 
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  5. Abstract In the North Atlantic, euphausiids (krill) form a major link between primary production and predators including commercially exploited fish. This basin is warming very rapidly, with species expected to shift northwards following their thermal tolerances. Here we show, however, that there has been a 50% decline in surface krill abundance over the last 60 years that occurred in situ, with no associated range shift. While we relate these changes to the warming climate, our study is the first to document an in situ squeeze on living space within this system. The warmer isotherms are shifting measurably northwards but cooler isotherms have remained relatively static, stalled by the subpolar fronts in the NW Atlantic. Consequently the two temperatures defining the core of krill distribution (7–13 °C) were 8° of latitude apart 60 years ago but are presently only 4° apart. Over the 60 year period the core latitudinal distribution of euphausiids has remained relatively stable so a ‘habitat squeeze’, with loss of 4° of latitude in living space, could explain the decline in krill. This highlights that, as the temperature warms, not all species can track isotherms and shift northward at the same rate with both losers and winners emerging under the ‘Atlantification’ of the sub-Arctic. 
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  6. Abstract Heatwaves have increased in intensity, duration and frequency over the last decades due to climate change. Intertidal species, living in a highly variable environment, are likely to be exposed to such heatwaves since they can be emerged for more than 6 h during a tidal cycle. Little is known, however, on how temperature affects species traits (e.g. locomotion and behaviour) of slow-moving organisms such as benthic foraminifera (single-celled protists), which abound in marine sediments. Here, we examine how temperature influences motion-behaviour and metabolic traits of the dominant temperate foraminifera Haynesina germanica by exposing individuals to usual (6, 12, 18, 24, 30 °C) and extreme (high; i.e. 32, 34, 36 °C) temperature regimes. Our results show that individuals reduced their activity by up to 80% under high temperature regimes whereas they remained active under the temperatures they usually experience in the field. When exposed to a hyper-thermic stress (i.e. 36 °C), all individuals remained burrowed and the photosynthetic activity of their sequestered chloroplasts significantly decreased. Recovery experiments subsequently revealed that individuals initially exposed to a high thermal regime partially recovered when the hyper-thermic stress ceased. H. germanica contribution to surface sediment reworking substantially diminished from 10 mm 3 indiv −1 day −1 (usual temperature) to 0 mm 3 indiv −1 day −1 when individuals were exposed to high temperature regimes (i.e. above 32 °C). Given their role in sediment reworking and organic matter remineralisation, our results suggest that heatwaves may have profound long-lasting effects on the functioning of intertidal muddy ecosystems and some key biogeochemical cycles. 
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  7. Abstract The significance of large tropical lakes as environmental reservoirs of Vibrio cholerae in cholera endemic countries has yet to be established. By combining large scale plankton sampling, microbial culture and ultrasensitive molecular methods, namely Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) and targeted genomics, the presence of Vibrio cholerae was investigated in a 96,600 L volume of surface water collected on a 322 nautical mile (596 km) transect in Lake Tanganyika. V. cholerae was detected and identified in a large area of the lake. In contrast, toxigenic strains of V. cholerae O1 or O139 were not detected in plankton samples possibly in relation to environmental conditions of the lake ecosystem, namely very low salinity compared to marine brackish and coastal environments. This represents to our knowledge, the largest environmental study to determine the role of tropical lakes as a reservoir of V. cholerae . 
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