A glimpse into the future composition of marine phytoplankton communities

Acevedo-Trejos, Esteban; Brandt, Gunnar; Steinacher, Marco; Merico, Agostino (2014). A glimpse into the future composition of marine phytoplankton communities. Frontiers in Marine Science, 1(15) Frontiers Media 10.3389/fmars.2014.00015

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It is expected that climate change will have significant impacts on ecosystems. Most model projections agree that the ocean will experience stronger stratification and less nutrient supply from deep waters. These changes will likely affect marine phytoplankton communities and will thus impact on the higher trophic levels of the oceanic food web. The potential consequences of future climate change on marine microbial communities can be investigated and predicted only with the help of mathematical models. Here we present the application of a model that describes aggregate properties of marine phytoplankton communities and captures the effects of a changing environment on their composition and adaptive capacity. Specifically, the model describes the phytoplankton community in terms of total biomass, mean cell size, and functional diversity. The model is applied to two contrasting regions of the Atlantic Ocean (tropical and temperate) and is tested under two emission scenarios: SRES A2 or “business as usual” and SRES B1 or “local utopia.” We find that all three macroecological properties will decline during the next century in both regions, although this effect will be more pronounced in the temperate region. Being consistent with previous model predictions, our results show that a simple trait-based modeling framework represents a valuable tool for investigating how phytoplankton communities may reorganize under a changing climate.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Steinacher, Marco


500 Science > 530 Physics




Frontiers Media




Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2014 09:16

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:35

Publisher DOI:






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