Ocean acidification and global warming: Can we expect effects on microzooplankton communities?

henriette.horn [ at ] awi.de


The focus of this project was on the pivotal role of microzooplankton (MZP) as trophic intermediary between the microbial loop and higher trophic levels. At the base of the food web, MZP has a strong impact on phytoplankton standing stocks due to its high growth and grazing rates, leading to dietary competition with larger mesozooplankton. Simultaneously, higher trophic levels use MZP as food source and benefit from its ability to buffer nutritional imbalances especially at times when food quality of phytoplankton is low. Therefore, MZP abundance, biomass and taxonomic composition were investigated during three mesocosm experiments within the BIOACID II framework, using natural plankton communities. The KOSMOS 2013 Gullmar Fjord experiment in the North Sea was a long-term outdoor mesocosm study with an elevated CO2 level as single stressor. Contrastingly, the BIOACID Autumn 2012 and Summer 2013 Baltic Sea indoor mesocosm experiments investigated the combined effects of both high CO2 and warming. In conclusion, warming can be expected to directly affect MZP communities and enhance their growth and grazing pressure. Additionally, more complex responses of MZP to an increase in CO2 can be expected from the results. The present data points at predominately indirect effects on the MZP community via e.g. changes in phytoplankton community composition and/or standing stocks.

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BIOACID Phase II Final Meeting, 06 Oct 2015 - 07 Oct 2015, GEOMAR Kiel.
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Horn, H. , Löder, M. G. J. , Riebesell, U. , Sommer, U. , Boersma, M. and Aberle, N. (2015): Ocean acidification and global warming: Can we expect effects on microzooplankton communities? , BIOACID Phase II Final Meeting, GEOMAR Kiel, 6 October 2015 - 7 October 2015 .

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