Can a key boreal Calanus copepod species now complete its life- cycle in the Arctic? Evidence and implications for Arctic food- webs

Geraint Tarling, Jennifer J. Freer, Neil S. Banas, Anna Belcher, Mayleen Blackwell, Claudia Castellani, Kathryn B. Cook, Finlo R. Cottier, Malin Daase, Magnus L. Johnson, Kim S. Last, Penelope K. Lindeque, Daniel J. Mayor, Elaine Mitchell, Helen Parry, Douglas C. Speirs, Gabriele Stowasser, Marianne Wootton

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Abstract

The changing Arctic environment is affecting zooplankton that support its abundant wildlife. We examined how these changes are influencing a key zooplankton species, Calanus finmarchicus, principally found in the North Atlantic but expatriated to the Arctic. Close to the ice-edge in the Fram Strait, we identified areas that, since the 1980s, are increasingly favourable to C. finmarchicus. Field-sampling revealed part of the population there to be capable of amassing enough reserves to overwinter. Early developmental stages were also present in early summer, suggesting successful local recruitment. This extension to suitable C. finmarchicus habitat is most likely facilitated by the long-term retreat of the ice-edge, allowing phytoplankton to bloom earlier and for longer and through higher temperatures increasing copepod developmental rates. The increased capacity for this species to complete its life-cycle and prosper in the Fram Strait can change community structure, with large consequences to regional food-webs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalAmbio
Early online date29 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • biogeography
  • Fram Strait
  • life-cycle
  • ocean warming
  • sea-ice loss
  • zooplankton impact

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