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  1. 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.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 11, 2023
  2. 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.
  3. 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) tomore »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.« less
  4. 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 themore »‘Atlantification’ of the sub-Arctic.« less
  5. 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 .