Major restructuring of marine plankton assemblages under global warming

Type Article
Date 2021-09
Language English
Author(s) Benedetti FabioORCID1, Vogt Meike1, Elizondo Urs Hofmann1, Righetti Damiano1, Zimmermann Niklaus E.ORCID2, 3, Gruber NicolasORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Environmental Physics, Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
2 : Dynamic Macroecology, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Switzerland
3 : Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
Source Nature Communications (Nature Portfolio), 2021-09 , Vol. 12 , N. 1 , P. 5226 (15p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-25385-x
WOS© Times Cited 50

Marine phytoplankton and zooplankton form the basis of the ocean's food-web, yet the impacts of climate change on their biodiversity are poorly understood. Here, we use an ensemble of species distribution models for a total of 336 phytoplankton and 524 zooplankton species to determine their present and future habitat suitability patterns. For the end of this century, under a high emission scenario, we find an overall increase in plankton species richness driven by ocean warming, and a poleward shift of the species' distributions at a median speed of 35 km/decade. Phytoplankton species richness is projected to increase by more than 16% over most regions except for the Arctic Ocean. In contrast, zooplankton richness is projected to slightly decline in the tropics, but to increase strongly in temperate to subpolar latitudes. In these latitudes, nearly 40% of the phytoplankton and zooplankton assemblages are replaced by poleward shifting species. This implies that climate change threatens the contribution of plankton communities to plankton-mediated ecosystem services such as biological carbon sequestration. Warming will affect marine plankton biomass, but also its diversity and community composition in poorly understood ways. Here, the authors model the spatial distribution of 860 marine plankton species from 10 functional groups and identify the future hotspots of climate change impacts under RCP8.5.

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Publisher's official version 15 3 MB Open access
Author Correction 10.1038/s41467-021-26564-6 1 327 KB Open access
Supplementary Information 72 20 MB Open access
Peer Review File 33 1 MB Open access
Description of Additional Supplementary Files 1 10 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 1 43 KB Open access
Supplementary Data 2 57 KB Open access
Reporting Summary 3 245 KB Open access
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