MEPS 601:97-108 (2018)  -  DOI:

Oceanography and community structure drive zooplankton carbon and nitrogen dynamics in the eastern Bering Sea

Eric Hertz1,5,*, M. Trudel1,2,6, M. Carrasquilla-Henao1, L. Eisner3, E. V. Farley Jr.4, J. H. Moss4, J. M. Murphy4, A. Mazumder1

1Department of Biology, University of Victoria, PO Box 3020, Station CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 3N5, Canada
2Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7, Canada
3National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Bldg. 4, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
4National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay Laboratories, Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute, 17109 Point Lena Loop Road, Juneau, AK 99801-8626, USA
5Present address: Pacific Salmon Foundation, #300-1682 West 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 4S6, Canada
6Present address: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station, 531 Brandy Cove Road, St. Andrews, NB E5B 2L9, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Bottom-up changes in the abundance and composition of primary producers and primary consumers can cascade through ecosystems. Zooplankton stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) can be used to determine the linkages between these bottom-up processes, as nutrients, community composition, and physical oceanographic variables can influence zooplankton stable isotopes. However, the expression and variability in zooplankton stable isotopes remain poorly constrained and understood in many systems. Here, we explored how environmental and community variability influences zooplankton stable isotope ratios in the eastern Bering Sea across a wide range of ocean conditions. We tested whether there were interannual, spatial, or climate-driven shifts in the δ15N and δ13C of zooplankton. We found considerable variability across the eastern Bering Sea, with significant differences in isotopes among years, regions, and depths. These patterns were driven by differences in zooplankton community and physical oceanographic variables such as sea surface temperature. Effects were consistent across isotopes, and reflect the shared influences of oceanographic parameters and nutrients on δ13C and δ15N at the base of the food web.

KEY WORDS: Stable isotope · Isoscape · Chlorophyll a · Nitrate · Climate change

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Cite this article as: Hertz E, Trudel M, Carrasquilla-Henao M, Eisner L and others (2018) Oceanography and community structure drive zooplankton carbon and nitrogen dynamics in the eastern Bering Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 601:97-108.

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