Responses of Pelagic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change — Can We Predict Them?

  • Kenneth L. Denman


Marine ecosystems both respond to and influence climate variability. Our interest in planktonic ecosystems in particular and their interaction with climate change is twofold. First, planktonic ecosystems play a role in regulating greenhouse gases, especially in removing carbon dioxide from the surface ocean to the deep ocean via sinking organic particles, the so-called “biological (or biotic) pump.” Second, planktonic ecosystems operate as the base of the marine foodweb, providing food for fish and other top predators in the ocean. To forecast how marine ecosystems may fonction in a changing climate, we must understand not only how they respond to climate changes but how these changes in marine ecosystems might themselves affect climate change through possible feedback effects. In this chapter, I consider both roles of the marine planktonic ecosystem, as a regulator of greenhouse gases and as food for fish, and how they interact with a changing climate.


Organic Particle Marine Foodweb Remove Carbon Dioxide Ocean Interior Planktonic Ecosystem 
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  1. Denman, K.L., E.E. Hofmann, and H. Marchant, 1996. Marine biotic responses to environmental change and feedbacks to climate, pp. 483-516. In: Climate Change 1995, J.T. Houghton, L.G. Meira Filho, B.A. Callander, N. Harris, A. Kattenberg and K. Maskell (eds.), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Denman, K.L., and M.A. Pena, 1999. A coupled 1-D biological/physical model of the northeast subarctic Pacific ocean with iron limitation, Deep-Sea Research II, 46, 2877-2908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth L. Denman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and AnalysisUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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