Long-Term Variability of Plankton Phenology in a Coastal Mediterranean Time Series (LTER-MC)

Wright, Heather Anne (2013). Long-Term Variability of Plankton Phenology in a Coastal Mediterranean Time Series (LTER-MC). MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f05e


Long-term patterns of phenology were identified for 104 phytoplankton and 88 zooplankton taxa at a coastal, Mediterranean time-series station (LTER-MC) in a 23 year period (1984-2010). 25 phytoplankton taxa and 41 zooplankton taxa showed a significant long-term change in at least one phenological event, including only a few taxa among the numerically dominant ones. The most frequent changes in phytoplankton taxa (28%) were recorded in the onset of phenology, while most zooplankton (30%) taxa changed the month of seasonal peak. The changes in phenology recorded in phytoplankton were significantly correlated with salinity anomalies for 10 taxa and with temperature anomalies for 8 taxa. Among zooplankton, 12 taxa had changes in phenology that were significantly correlated with chl a anomalies and 9 taxa with temperature anomalies. An overall comparison of changes in plankton taxa belonging to 7 functional groups revealed a long-term earlier trend between the end (2010) and the start (1984) of the time series. The strong trend was driven by a significantly earlier trend in the second part of the time series (1995-2010). The observed changes in phenology and their relationships with anomalies of the environmental parameters indicate that most variability and changes occurred in spring and in autumn. Very few taxa changed phenology in summer.

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