Phytoplankton response to a changing climate
- 3.7k Downloads
Phytoplankton are at the base of aquatic food webs and of global importance for ecosystem functioning and services. The dynamics of these photosynthetic cells are linked to annual fluctuations of temperature, water column mixing, resource availability, and consumption. Climate can modify these environmental factors and alter phytoplankton structure, seasonal dynamics, and taxonomic composition. Here, we review mechanistic links between climate alterations and factors limiting primary production, and highlight studies where climate change has had a clear impact on phytoplankton processes. Climate affects phytoplankton both directly through physiology and indirectly by changing water column stratification and resource availability, mainly nutrients and light, or intensified grazing by heterotrophs. These modifications affect various phytoplankton processes, and a widespread advance in phytoplankton spring bloom timing and changing bloom magnitudes have both been observed. Climate warming also affects phytoplankton species composition and size structure, and favors species traits best adapted to changing conditions associated with climate change. Shifts in phytoplankton can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem structure and functioning. An improved understanding of the mechanistic links between climate and phytoplankton dynamics is important for predicting climate change impacts on aquatic ecosystems.
KeywordsLight Water column stratification Temperature Phenology Primary production Cell size
This work was supported by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) within the priority program 1162 “AQUASHIFT” (The impact of climate variability on aquatic ecosystems).
- Blenckner, T., R. Adrian, D. M. Livingstone, E. Jennings, G. A. Weyhenmeyer, D. G. George, T. Jankowski, M. Jarvinen, C. N. Aonghusa, T. Noges, D. Straile & K. Teubner, 2007. Large-scale climatic signatures in lakes across Europe: a meta-analysis. Global Change Biology 13(7): 1314–1326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cushing, D. H., 1974. Sea Fisheries Research. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
- Daufresne, M., K. Lengfellner & U. Sommer, 2009. Global warming benefits the small in aquatic ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. doi: 10.1073pnas.0902080106.
- Finkel, Z. V., M. E. Katz, J. D. Wright, O. M. E. Schofield & P. G. Falkowski, 2005. Climatically driven macroevolutionary patterns in the size of marine diatoms over the cenozoic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102(25): 8927–8932.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Finkel, Z. V., J. Sebbo, S. Feist-Burkhardt, A. J. Irwin, M. E. Katz, O. M. E. Schofield, J. R. Young & P. G. Falkowski, 2007. A universal driver of macroevolutionary change in the size of marine phytoplankton over the Cenozoic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0709381104.
- IPCC, 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
- Jankowski, T., D. M. Livingstone, H. Buhrer, R. Forster & P. Niederhauser, 2006. Consequences of the 2003 European heat wave for lake temperature profiles, thermal stability, and hypolimnetic oxygen depletion: implications for a warmer world. Limnology and Oceanography 51(2): 815–819.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- King, J. R., B. J. Shuter & A. Z. Zimmerman, 1997. The response of the thermal stratification of South Bay (Lake Huron) to climatic variability. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 54: 1873–1882.Google Scholar
- Kosten, S., V. L. M. Huszar, E. Becares, L. S. Costa, E. van Donk, L. A. Hansson, E. Jeppesen, C. Kruk, G. Lacerot, N. Mazzeo, L. De Meester, B. Moss, M. Luerling, T. Noges, S. Romo & M. Scheffer, 2011. Warmer climates boost cyanobacterial dominance in shallow lakes. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02488.x.
- Margalef, R., 1978. Life-forms of phytoplankton as survival alternatives in an unstable environment. Oceanologica Acta 1: 493–509.Google Scholar
- McQuatters-Gollop, A., P. C. Reid, M. Edwards, P. H. Burkill, C. Castellani, S. Batten, W. Gieskes, D. Beare, R. R. Bidigare, E. Head, R. Johnson, M. Kahru, J. A. Koslow & A. Pena, 2011. Is there a decline in marine phytoplankton? Nature 466: 591–596.Google Scholar
- O’Connor, M. I., M. F. Piehler, D. M. Leech, A. Anton & J. F. Bruno, 2009. Warming and resource availability shift food web structure and metabolism. PLoS Biology 7: e1000178.Google Scholar
- Reynolds, C. S., 1987. Community organization in the freshwater plankton. Symposium of the British Ecological Society 27: 297–325.Google Scholar
- Riley, G., 1957. Phytoplankton of the North Central Sargasso Sea. Limnology and Oceanography 2: 252–270.Google Scholar
- Rüger, T. & U. Sommer, 2012. Warming does not always benefit the small – results from a plankton experiment. Aquatic Botany 97: 64–68.Google Scholar
- Rühland, K., A. M. Paterson & J. P. Smol, 2008. Hemispheric-scale patterns of climate-related shifts in planktonic diatoms from North American and European lakes. Global Change Biology 14. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01670.x.
- Smayda, T. J., D. Borkman, G. Beaugrand & A. Belgrano, 2004. Ecological effects of climate variation in the North Atlantic: phytoplankton. In Stenseth, N. C., G. Ottersen, J. W. Hurrell, A. Belgrano & B. Planque (eds), Marine Ecosystems and Climate Variation – the North Atlantic. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 49–58.Google Scholar
- Smol, J. P., A. P. Wolfe, H. J. B. Birks, M. S. V. Douglas, V. J. Jones, A. Korhola, R. Pienitz, K. Ruhland, S. Sorvari, D. Antoniades, S. J. Brooks, M. A. Fallu, M. Hughes, B. E. Keatley, T. E. Laing, N. Michelutti, L. Nazarova, M. Nyman, A. M. Paterson, B. Perren, R. Quinlan, M. Rautio, E. Saulnier-Talbot, S. Siitoneni, N. Solovieva & J. Weckstrom, 2005. Climate-driven regime shifts in the biological communities of arctic lakes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102(12): 4397–4402.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sommer, U., 1989. Plankton Ecology: Succession in Plankton Communities. Springer, Berlin.Google Scholar
- Sommer, U., Z. M. Gliwicz, W. Lampert & A. Duncan, 1986. The PEG-model of seasonal succession of planktonic events in fresh waters. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie 106: 433–471.Google Scholar
- Stenseth, N. C., G. Ottersen, J. W. Hurrell, A. Mysterud, M. Lima, K. S. Chan, N. G. Yoccoz & B. Adlandsvik, 2003. Studying climate effects on ecology through the use of climate indices: the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino Southern Oscillation and beyond. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences 270(1529): 2087–2096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sverdrup, H., 1953. On conditions for the vernal blooming of phytoplankton. Journal du Conseil International pour l’ Exploration de la Mer 18: 287–295.Google Scholar
- Thackeray, S. J., T. H. Sparks, M. Frederiksen, S. Burthe, P. J. Bacon, J. R. Bell, M. S. Botham, T. M. Brereton, P. W. Bright, L. Carvalho, T. Clutton-Brock, A. Dawson, M. Edwards, J. M. Elliott, R. Harrington, D. Johns, I. D. Jones, J. T. Jones, D. I. Leechk, D. B. Roy, W. A. Scottt, M. Smith, R. J. Smithers, I. J. Winfield & S. Wanless, 2010. Trophic level asynchrony in rates of phenological change for marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. Global Change Biology 16: 3304–3313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tirok, K. & U. Gaedke, 2007. The effect of irradiance, vertical mixing and temperature on spring phytoplankton dynamics under climate change: long-term observations and model analysis. Oecologia 15: 625–642.Google Scholar
- Wetzel, R. G., 2001. Limnology: Lakes and River Ecosystems. Academic, Tokyo.Google Scholar
- Winder, M., S. A. Berger, A. Lewandowska, N. Aberle, K. Lengfellner, U. Sommer & S. Diehl, 2012. Spring phenological responses of marine and freshwater plankton to changing temperature and light conditions. Marine Biology. doi: 10.1007/s00227-012-1964-z.