Johnson Beverly J.

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Beverly J.

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  • Article
    Rapid 20th century warming reverses 900-year cooling in the Gulf of Maine
    (Nature Research, 2022-08-08) Whitney, Nina M. ; Wanamaker, Alan D. ; Ummenhofer, Caroline C. ; Johnson, Beverly J. ; Cresswell-Clay, Nathaniel ; Kreutz, Karl J.
    The Gulf of Maine, located in the western North Atlantic, has undergone recent, rapid ocean warming but the lack of long-term, instrumental records hampers the ability to put these significant hydrographic changes into context. Here we present multiple 300-year long geochemical records (oxygen, nitrogen, and previously published radiocarbon isotopes) measured in absolutely-dated Arctica islandica shells from the western Gulf of Maine. These records, in combination with climate model simulations, suggest that the Gulf of Maine underwent a long-term cooling over most of the last 1000 years, driven primarily by volcanic forcing and North Atlantic ocean dynamics. This cooling trend was reversed by warming beginning in the late 1800s, likely due to increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and changes in western North Atlantic circulation. The climate model simulations suggest that the warming over the last century was more rapid than almost any other 100-year period in the last 1000 years in the region.
  • Article
    Benthic community response to ice algae and phytoplankton in Ny Ålesund, Svalbard
    (Inter-Research, 2006-04-03) McMahon, Kelton W. ; Ambrose, William G. ; Johnson, Beverly J. ; Sun, Ming-Yi ; Lopez, Glenn R. ; Clough, Lisa M. ; Carroll, Michael L.
    We assessed the digestibility and utilization of ice algae and phytoplankton by the shallow, subtidal benthos in Ny Ålesund (Kongsfjord) on Svalbard (79°N, 12°E) using chlorophyll a (chl a), essential fatty acids (EFAs) and stable isotopes as tracers of food consumption and assimilation. Intact benthic communities in sediment cores and individuals of dominant benthic taxa were given ice algae, phytoplankton, 13C-enriched ice algae or a no food addition control for 19 to 32 d. Ice algae and phytoplankton had significantly different isotopic signatures and relative concentrations of fatty acids. In the food addition cores, sediment concentrations of chl a and the EFA C20:5(n-3) were elevated by 80 and 93%, respectively, compared to the control after 12 h, but decreased to background levels by 19 d, suggesting that both ice algae and phytoplankton were rapidly consumed. Whole core respiration rates in the ice algae treatments were 1.4 times greater than in the other treatments within 12 h of food addition. In the ice algae treatment, both suspension and deposit feeding taxa from 3 different phyla (Mollusca, Annelida and Sipuncula) exhibited significant enrichment in δ13C values compared to the control. Deposit feeders (15% uptake), however, exhibited significantly greater uptake of the 13C-enriched ice algae tracer than suspension feeders (3% uptake). Our study demonstrates that ice algae are readily consumed and assimilated by the Arctic benthos, and may be preferentially selected by some benthic species (i.e. deposit feeders) due to their elevated EFA content, thus serving as an important component of the Arctic benthic food web.
  • Preprint
    Bivalves as indicators of environmental variation and potential anthropogenic impacts in the southern Barents Sea
    ( 2009-04) Carroll, Michael L. ; Johnson, Beverly J. ; Henkes, Gregory A. ; McMahon, Kelton W. ; Voronkov, Andrey ; Ambrose, William G. ; Denisenko, Stanislav G.
    Identifying patterns and drivers of natural variability in populations is necessary to gauge potential effects of climatic change and the expected increases in commercial activities in the Arctic on communities and ecosystems. We analyzed growth rates and shell geochemistry of the circumpolar Greenland smooth cockle, Serripes groenlandicus, from the southern Barents Sea over almost 70 years between 1882 and 1968. The datasets were calibrated via annually-deposited growth lines, and growth, stable isotope (δ18O, δ13C), and trace elemental (Mg, Sr, Ba, Mn) patterns were linked to environmental variations on weekly to decadal scales. Standardized growth indices revealed an oscillatory growth pattern with a multi-year periodicity, which was inversely related to the North Atlantic Oscillation Index (NAO), and positively related to local river discharge. Up to 60% of the annual variability in the Ba/Ca could be explained by variations in river discharge at the site closest to the rivers, but the relationship disappeared at a more distant location. Patterns of δ18O, δ13C, and Sr/Ca together provide evidence that bivalve growth ceases at elevated temperatures during the fall and recommences at the coldest temperatures in the early spring, with the implication that food, rather than temperature, is the primary driver of bivalve growth. The multi-proxy approach of combining the annually integrated information from the growth results and higher resolution geochemical results yielded a robust interpretation of biophysical coupling in the region over temporal and spatial scales. We thus demonstrate that sclerochronological proxies can be useful retrospective analytical tools for establishing a baseline of ecosystem variability in assessing potential combined impacts of climatic change and increasing commercial activities on Arctic communities.