MEPS 531:121-142 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11299

Modelling the future biogeography of North Atlantic zooplankton communities in response to climate change

Ernesto Villarino1,*, Guillem Chust1, Priscilla Licandro2, Momme Butenschön3, Leire Ibaibarriaga1, Aitor Larrañaga4, Xabier Irigoien5

1AZTI-Tecnalia, Marine Research Division, Txatxarramendi ugartea z/g, 48395 Sukarrieta (Bizkaia), Spain
2Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
3Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), Prospect Place, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
4Laboratory of Stream Ecology, Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country, PO Box 644, 48080 Bilbao, Spain
5Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Advances in habitat and climate modelling allow us to reduce uncertainties of climate change impacts on species distribution. We evaluated the impacts of future climate change on community structure, diversity, distribution and phenology of 14 copepod species in the North Atlantic. We developed and validated habitat models for key zooplankton species using continuous plankton recorder (CPR) survey data collected at mid latitudes of the North Atlantic. Generalized additive models (GAMs) were applied to relate the occurrence of species to environmental variables. Models were projected to future (2080–2099) environmental conditions using coupled hydroclimatix–biogeochemical models under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) A1B climate scenario, and compared to present (2001–2020) conditions. Our projections indicated that the copepod community is expected to respond substantially to climate change: a mean poleward latitudinal shift of 8.7 km per decade for the overall community with an important species range variation (–15 to 18 km per decade); the species seasonal peak is expected to occur 12–13 d earlier for Calanus finmarchicus and C. hyperboreus; and important changes in community structure are also expected (high species turnover of 43–79% south of the Oceanic Polar Front). The impacts of the change expected by the end of the century under IPCC global warming scenarios on copepods highlight poleward shifts, earlier seasonal peak and changes in biodiversity spatial patterns that might lead to alterations of the future North Atlantic pelagic ecosystem. Our model and projections are supported by a temporal validation undertaken using the North Atlantic climate regime shift that occurred in the 1980s: the habitat model built in the cold period (1970–1986) has been validated in the warm period (1987–2004).


KEY WORDS: Zooplankton · Habitat suitability · GAM · Climate change · North Atlantic · Biogeography


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Cite this article as: Villarino E, Chust G, Licandro P, Butenschön M, Ibaibarriaga L, Larrañaga A, Irigoien X (2015) Modelling the future biogeography of North Atlantic zooplankton communities in response to climate change. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 531:121-142. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11299

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