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Increasing importance of small phytoplankton in a warmer ocean

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dc.contributor.author Moran, Xose Anxelu G.
dc.contributor.author Lopez-Urrutia, Angel
dc.contributor.author Calvo-Diaz, Alejandra
dc.contributor.author Li, William K. W.
dc.date.accessioned 2010-03-10T14:28:52Z
dc.date.available 2010-03-10T14:28:52Z
dc.date.issued 2009-03-19
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1912/3199
dc.description Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Blackwell Publishing for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Global Change Biology 16 (2010): 1137-1144, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01960.x. en_US
dc.description.abstract The macroecological relationships between marine phytoplankton total cell density, community size structure and temperature have lacked a theoretical explanation. The tiniest members of this planktonic group comprise cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae smaller than 2 μm in diameter, collectively known as picophytoplankton. We combine here two ecological rules, the temperature-size relationship with the allometric size-scaling of population abundance to explain a remarkably consistent pattern of increasing picophytoplankton biomass with temperature over the -0.6 to 22ºC range in a merged dataset obtained in the eastern and western temperate North Atlantic Ocean across a diverse range of environmental conditions. Our results show that temperature alone was able to explain 73% of the variance in the relative contribution of small cells to total phytoplankton biomass regardless of differences in trophic status or inorganic nutrient loading. Our analysis predicts a gradual shift towards smaller primary producers in a warmer ocean. Since the fate of photosynthesized organic carbon largely depends on phytoplankton size we anticipate future alterations in the functioning of oceanic ecosystems. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship X.A.G.M., A.C.-D. and Á.L.-U. acknowledge the financial support of research grants VARIPLACA (REN2001-0345/MAR), PERPLAN (CTM2006-04854/MAR) and the RADIALES time-series program of the Instituto Español de Oceanografía. W.K.W.L. was supported by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans Strategic Science Fund in the Ocean Climate Program and the Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program. This work was partially funded by Theme 6 of the EU Seventh Framework Programme through the Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment (MEECE No 212085) Collaborative Project. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01960.x
dc.subject Temperature en_US
dc.subject Phytoplankton en_US
dc.subject Cell size en_US
dc.subject Cell abundance en_US
dc.subject Picophytoplankton en_US
dc.subject Allometric relationships en_US
dc.subject Ocean warming en_US
dc.subject North Atlantic en_US
dc.title Increasing importance of small phytoplankton in a warmer ocean en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US


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