Trophic level decoupling drives future changes in phytoplankton bloom phenology


Yamaguchi R, Rodgers KB, Timmermann A, Stein K, Schlunegger S, Bianchi D, Dunne JP, Slater RD. Trophic level decoupling drives future changes in phytoplankton bloom phenology. Nature Climate Change [Internet]. 2022;12 (5) :469-476.


Climate change can drive shifts in the seasonality of marine productivity, with consequences for the marine food web. However, these alterations in phytoplankton bloom phenology (initiation and peak timing), and the underlying drivers, are not well understood. Here, using a 30-member Large Ensemble of climate change projections, we show earlier bloom initiation in most ocean regions, yet changes in bloom peak timing vary widely by region. Shifts in both initiation and peak timing are induced by a subtle decoupling between altered phytoplankton growth and zooplankton predation, with increased zooplankton predation (top-down control) playing an important role in altered bloom peak timing over much of the global ocean. Only in limited regions is light limitation a primary control for bloom initiation changes. In the extratropics, climate-change-induced phenological shifts will exceed background natural variability by the end of the twenty-first century, which may impact energy flow in the marine food webs.

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Last updated on 08/22/2022