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Probing diversity in the plankton: using patterns in Tintinnids (planktonic marine ciliates) to identify mechanisms

  • John R. Dolan
  • Rodolphe Lemée
  • Stéphane Gasparini
  • Laure Mousseau
  • Céline Heyndrickx
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 183)

Abstract

In diversity research, the use of survey data appears to have declined in favour of experimental or modeling approaches because direct relationships are difficult to demonstrate. Here we show that use of field data can yield information concerning the mechanisms governing diversity. First, we establish that tintinnids display a global latitudinal pattern of diversity similar to other pelagic organisms; species numbers appear to peak between 20° and 30° north or south. This common large scale spatial trend has been attributed to the gradient in water column structure across the global ocean. We then examine the generality of a relationship between planktonic diversity and water column structure by considering data from the Mediterranean Sea, in which water column structure changes seasonally. Among populations of foraminifera, tintinnids, and the dinoflagellates of the genus Ceratium, we compare data from trans-Mediterranean sampling conducted at different times and monthly changes in species richness at single sites. We find that water column structure alone appears to be a poor predictor of temporal changes in diversity. Lastly, we present an example of temporal changes in tintinnid diversity based on data from an oceanographic sampling station in the N. W. Mediterranean where resources, as chlorophyll, appear distinctly unrelated to changes in water column structure. We show that short-tem temporal changes in diversity (week to week shifts) can be related to changes in chlorophyll concentration. We conclude that in tintinnids diversity can be directly linked to characteristics of food resources.

Key words

biogeography biodiversity zooplankton Mediterranean latitudinal gradient phytoplankton foraminifera 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Dolan
    • 1
  • Rodolphe Lemée
    • 1
  • Stéphane Gasparini
    • 1
  • Laure Mousseau
    • 1
  • Céline Heyndrickx
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Microbial Ecology GroupLaboratoire d’Océanographie de VillefrancheVillefranche-Sur-MerFrance

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