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Climate-driven zooplankton shifts cause large-scale declines in food quality for fish
Heneghan, R.F.; Everett, J.D.; Blanchard, J.L.; Sykes, P.; Richardson, A.J. (2023). Climate-driven zooplankton shifts cause large-scale declines in food quality for fish. Nat. Clim. Chang. 13(5): 470-477.
In: Nature Climate Change. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1758-678X; e-ISSN 1758-6798, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Heneghan, R.F.
  • Everett, J.D., more
  • Blanchard, J.L.
  • Sykes, P.
  • Richardson, A.J., more

    Zooplankton are the primary energy pathway from phytoplankton to fish. Yet, there is limited understanding about how climate change will modify zooplankton communities and the implications for marine food webs globally. Using a trait-based marine ecosystem model resolving key zooplankton groups, we find that future oceans, particularly in tropical regions, favour food webs increasingly dominated by carnivorous (chaetognaths, jellyfish and carnivorous copepods) and gelatinous filter-feeding zooplankton (larvaceans and salps) at the expense of omnivorous copepods and euphausiids. By providing a direct energetic pathway from small phytoplankton to fish, the rise of gelatinous filter feeders partially offsets the increase in trophic steps between primary producers and fish from declining phytoplankton biomass and increases in carnivorous zooplankton. However, future fish communities experience reduced carrying capacity from falling phytoplankton biomass and less nutritious food as environmental conditions increasingly favour gelatinous zooplankton, slightly exacerbating projected declines in small pelagic fish biomass in tropical regions by 2100.

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