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      Impact of climate change on marine pelagic phenology and trophic mismatch.

      Nature

      Temperature, Seawater, Seasons, physiology, Plankton, Marine Biology, Greenhouse Effect, Food Chain, growth & development, Fishes, Ecosystem, Diatoms, Animals

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          Abstract

          Phenology, the study of annually recurring life cycle events such as the timing of migrations and flowering, can provide particularly sensitive indicators of climate change. Changes in phenology may be important to ecosystem function because the level of response to climate change may vary across functional groups and multiple trophic levels. The decoupling of phenological relationships will have important ramifications for trophic interactions, altering food-web structures and leading to eventual ecosystem-level changes. Temperate marine environments may be particularly vulnerable to these changes because the recruitment success of higher trophic levels is highly dependent on synchronization with pulsed planktonic production. Using long-term data of 66 plankton taxa during the period from 1958 to 2002, we investigated whether climate warming signals are emergent across all trophic levels and functional groups within an ecological community. Here we show that not only is the marine pelagic community responding to climate changes, but also that the level of response differs throughout the community and the seasonal cycle, leading to a mismatch between trophic levels and functional groups.

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          Most cited references 19

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          On Conditions for the Vernal Blooming of Phytoplankton

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            Biological consequences of global warming: is the signal already apparent?

             Lesley Hughes (2000)
            Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to have significant impacts on the world's climate on a timescale of decades to centuries. Evidence from long-term monitoring studies is now accumulating and suggests that the climate of the past few decades is anomalous compared with past climate variation, and that recent climatic and atmospheric trends are already affecting species physiology, distribution and phenology.
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              Plankton effect on cod recruitment in the North Sea.

              The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) has been overexploited in the North Sea since the late 1960s and great concern has been expressed about the decline in cod biomass and recruitment. Here we show that, in addition to the effects of overfishing, fluctuations in plankton have resulted in long-term changes in cod recruitment in the North Sea (bottom-up control). Survival of larval cod is shown to depend on three key biological parameters of their prey: the mean size of prey, seasonal timing and abundance. We suggest a mechanism, involving the match/mismatch hypothesis, by which variability in temperature affects larval cod survival and conclude that rising temperature since the mid-1980s has modified the plankton ecosystem in a way that reduces the survival of young cod.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                15318219
                10.1038/nature02808

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