Journal Article

Interdecadal variability in the Gulf of Maine zooplankton community, with potential impacts on fish recruitment

Andrew J. Pershing, Charles H. Greene, Jack W. Jossi, Loretta O'Brien, Jon K.T. Brodziak and Barbara A. Bailey

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 7, pages 1511-1523
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Interdecadal variability in the Gulf of Maine zooplankton community, with potential impacts on fish recruitment

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We used principal component analysis (PCA) to explore interannual changes in a time-series lasting more than 40 years of zooplankton abundance from NOAA's Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey. This analysis identified a complex of taxa, including Centropages typicus, Oithona spp., Pseudocalanus spp., and Metridia lucens that followed a common pattern of interdecadal variability characterized by a dramatic increase in these taxa around 1990, followed by a rapid decline in 2002. All of these taxa showed a large proportional increase in winter abundance between the 1980s and 1990s. These changes could be driven by increased primary productivity during winter, caused by a large-scale freshening of the Northwest Atlantic Shelf. In addition to the “community shift” mode, the analysis found a strong mode of interannual variability attributed to previously described changes in the abundance of late-stage Calanus finmarchicus. To explore the impact of these modes on higher trophic levels, we correlated the zooplankton modes with recruitment time-series from 12 fish stocks from the Gulf of Maine region. Several significant correlations were found, suggesting that the changes in the zooplankton modes may reflect broad changes in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

Keywords: Calanus; Centropages; climate; Continuous Plankton Recorder; copepods; euphausiids; fish recruitment; Gulf of Maine; Metridia; Oithona; Pseudocalanus; zooplankton

Journal Article.  6896 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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