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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 345:147-165 (2007)  -  DOI:

Macroecology of Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus in the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas

Pierre Helaouët1,2,*, Grégory Beaugrand1

1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), FRE 2816 ELICO, Station Marine, BP 80, 62930 Wimereux, France
2Present address: Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK

ABSTRACT: Global climate change is expected to modify the spatial distribution of marine organisms. However, projections of future changes should be based on robust information on the ecological niche of species. This paper presents a macroecological study of the environmental tolerance and ecological niche (sensu Hutchinson 1957, i.e. the field of tolerance of a species to the principal factors of its environment) of Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus in the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. Biological data were collected by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey, which samples plankton in the North Atlantic and adjacent seas at a standard depth of 7 m. Eleven parameters were chosen including bathymetry, temperature, salinity, nutrients, mixed-layer depth and an index of turbulence compiled from wind data and chlorophyll a concentrations (used herein as an index of available food). The environmental window and the optimum level were determined for both species and for each abiotic factor and chlorophyll concentration. The most important parameters that influenced abundance and spatial distribution were temperature and its correlates such as oxygen and nutrients. Bathymetry and other water-column-related parameters also played an important role. The ecological niche of C. finmarchicus was larger than that of C. helgolandicus and both niches were significantly separated. Our results have important implications in the context of global climate change. As temperature (and to some extent stratification) is predicted to continue to rise in the North Atlantic sector, changes in the spatial distribution of these 2 Calanus species can be expected. Application of this approach to the 1980s North Sea regime shift provides evidence that changes in sea temperature alone could have triggered the substantial and rapid changes identified in the dynamic regimes of these ecosystems. C. finmarchicus appears to be a good indicator of the Atlantic Polar Biome (mainly the Atlantic Subarctic and Arctic provinces) while C. helgolandicus is an indicator of more temperate waters (Atlantic Westerly Winds Biome) in regions characterised by more pronounced spatial changes in bathymetry.

KEY WORDS: Macroecological approach · Hutchinson ecological niche · Biogeography · Calanus finmarchicus · Calanus helgolandicus · North Atlantic Ocean · Continuous Plankton Recorder

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Cite this article as: Helaouët P, Beaugrand G (2007) Macroecology of Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus in the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 345:147-165.

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