Potential effects of climate change on the distribution range of the main silicate sinker of the Southern Ocean

Bank.Beszteri [ at ] awi.de


Fragilariopsis kerguelensis, a dominant diatom species throughout the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, is coined to be one of the main drivers of the biological silicate pump. Here, we study the distribution of this important species and expected consequences of climate change upon it, using correlative species distribution modeling and publicly available presence-only data. As experience with SDM is scarce for marine phytoplankton, this also serves as a pilot study for this organism group. Southern Ocean. We used the maximum entropy method to calculate distribution models for the diatom F. kerguelensis based on yearly and monthly environmental data (sea surface temperature, salinity, nitrate and silicate concentrations). Observation data were harvested from GBIF and the Global Diatom Database, and for further analyses also from the Hustedt Diatom Collection (BRM). The models were projected on current yearly and seasonal environmental data to study current distribution and its seasonality. Furthermore, we projected the seasonal model on future environmental data obtained from climate models for the year 2100. Projected on current yearly averaged environmental data, all models showed similar distribution patterns for F. kerguelensis. The monthly model showed seasonality, for example, a shift of the southern distribution boundary toward the north in the winter. Projections on future scenarios resulted in a moderately to negligibly shrinking distribution area and a change in seasonality. We found a substantial bias in the publicly available observation datasets, which could be reduced by additional observation records we obtained from the Hustedt Diatom Collection. Present day distribution patterns inferred from the models coincided well with background knowledge and previous reports about F. kerguelensis distribution, showing that maximum entropy-based distribution models are suitable to map distribution patterns for oceanic planktonic organisms. Our scenario projections indicate moderate effects of climate change upon the biogeography of F. kerguelensis.

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Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Eprint ID
DOI 10.1002/ece3.1138

Cite as
Pinkernell, S. and Beszteri, B. (2014): Potential effects of climate change on the distribution range of the main silicate sinker of the Southern Ocean , Ecology and Evolution, 4 (16), pp. 3147-3161 . doi: 10.1002/ece3.1138



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