Marine ecosystem changepoints spread under ocean warming in an earth system model

Cael, B.B. ORCID:; Begouen Demeaux, Charlotte; Henson, Stephanie ORCID:; Stock, Charles A.; Taboada, Fernando González; John, Jasmin G.; Barton, Andrew D.. 2022 Marine ecosystem changepoints spread under ocean warming in an earth system model. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 127 (5).

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Sudden shifts in marine plankton communities in response to environmental changes are of special concern because of their low predictability and high potential impacts on ocean ecosystems. We explored how anthropogenic climate change influences the spatial extent and frequency of changepoints in plankton populations by comparing the behavior of a plankton community in a coupled Earth system model under pre-industrial, historical 20th century, and projected 21st century forcing. The ocean areas where surface ocean temperature, nutrient concentrations, and different plankton types exhibited changepoints expanded over time. In contrast, regional hotspots where changepoints occur frequently largely disappeared. Heterotrophy and larger organism sizes were associated with more changepoints. In the pre-industrial and 20th century, plankton changepoints were associated with shifts in physical fronts, and more often with changepoints for iron and silicate than for nitrate and phosphate. In the 21st century, climate change disrupts these interannual-variability-driven changepoint patterns. Together, our results suggest anthropogenic climate change may drive less frequent but more widespread changepoints simultaneously affecting several components of pelagic food webs.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2169-8953
Date made live: 15 Jun 2022 11:17 +0 (UTC)

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