Habitat Heterogeneity Determines Climate Impact on Zooplankton Community Structure and Dynamics
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 3, e90875- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Understanding and predicting species distribution in space and time and consequently community structure and dynamics is an important issue in ecology, and particularly in climate change research. A crucial factor determining the composition and dynamics of animal populations is habitat heterogeneity, i.e., the number of structural elements in a given locality. In the marine pelagic environment habitat heterogeneity is represented by the distribution of physical oceanographic parameters such as temperature, salinity and oxygen that are closely linked to atmospheric conditions. Little attention has been given, however, to the role of habitat heterogeneity in modulating the response of animal communities to external climate forcing. Here we investigate the long-term dynamics of Acartia spp., Temora longicornis, and Pseudocalanus acuspes, three dominant zooplankton species inhabiting different pelagic habitats in the Central Baltic Sea (CBS). We use the three copepods as indicator species for changes in the CBS zooplankton community and apply non-linear statistical modeling techniques to compare spatial population trends and to identify their drivers. We demonstrate that effects of climate variability and change depend strongly on species-specific habitat utilization, being more direct and pronounced at the upper water layer. We propose that the differential functional response to climate-related drivers in relation to strong habitat segregation is due to alterations of the species' environmental niches. We stress the importance of understanding how anticipated climate change will affect ecological niches and habitats in order to project spatio-temporal changes in species abundance and distribution.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 3, e90875- p.
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102963DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090875ISI: 000332839300048OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102963DiVA: diva2:714793