WILL OCEAN ACIDIFICATION BE THE DOMINANT DRIVER INFLUENCING PHYTOPLANKTON COMMUNITIES IN THE FUTURE?
We employ a complex marine ecosystem model coupled to an earth system model to explore how changes to environment drivers may alter marine phytoplankton habitats and community structure in a world with increasing CO2. The flexibility of the model allows us to examine the individual drivers as well as the combined effect of changes in temperatures, nutrient supplies, light regimes, and pCO2 concentrations. Lower nutrient supplies alone favour smaller phytoplankton types in many areas of the ocean. Warming waters, alone, can lead to large shifts in community structure (as much as a 50% change) as phytoplankton with limited temperature tolerances shift poleward. Recent laboratory experiments suggest that increased pCO2 benefits some phytoplankton species and negatively impacts others. We show that these projected changes in relative fitness can lead to very large community shifts: potentially far more than other environmental drivers. However these studies are based on extrapolations from studies of a few strains and thus should viewed with caution. A broader set of physiological studies, evolution experiments and more mechanistic models are critical to address these issues.
Dutkiewicz, S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Morris, J., Michigan State University, USA, email@example.com
Follows, M. J., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dyhrman, S., Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, USA, email@example.com
Berman-Frank, I., Bar-Ilan University, Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org
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