Major shift in the copepod functional community of the southern North Sea and potential environmental drivers

maarten.boersma [ at ]


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>Copepods form the bulk of secondary production in marine ecosystems and are a major resource for higher trophic levels. Copepods are highly sensitive to environmental changes as they are ectotherms with a short life span whose metabolism and development depend on abiotic conditions. In turn, changes in their functional structure (i.e. functional trait composition) can have impacts on ecosystems. We examined changes in the copepod functional community in the North Sea over the past five decades, using a trait-based approach. We observed a shift around 1986–1988: the copepod community was initially dominated by larger herbivores, with a long development time, diapause ability, and highest abundances in summer. This community changed abruptly after 1986–1988, to a dominance of smaller carnivore taxa, with shorter development times, less ability to enter diapause, and that display higher abundances in autumn. This rapid reorganization could be driven by higher water temperatures, lower dinoflagellate abundances, and lower nutrient concentrations. These changes could impact adjacent trophic levels, such as phytoplankton on which several species graze or fish larvae, leading to a mismatch situation with consequences for fish recruitment. Our results emphasize the impact that global and regional changes could have on coastal ecosystems through the role played by copepods.</jats:p>

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DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsad160

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Deschamps, M. , Boersma, M. , Meunier, C. , Kirstein, I. , Wiltshire, K. and Di Pane, J. (2023): Major shift in the copepod functional community of the southern North Sea and potential environmental drivers / R. Ji (editor) , ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsad160-fsad160 . doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsad160

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