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Climate variability drives plankton community composition changes: The 2010-2011 El Niņo to la Niņa transition around Australia


Thompson, PA and Bonham, P and Thomson, P and Rochester, W and Doblin, MA and Waite, AM and Richardson, A and Rousseaux, CS, Climate variability drives plankton community composition changes: The 2010-2011 El Nino to la Nina transition around Australia, Journal of Plankton Research, 37, (5) pp. 966-984. ISSN 0142-7873 (2014) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author 2015

DOI: doi:10.1093/plankt/fbv069


The strong La Niņa of 2010-2011 provided an opportunity to investigate the ecological impacts of El Niņo-Southern Oscillation on coastal plankton communities using the nine national reference stations around Australia. Based on remote sensing and across the entire Australian region 2011 (La Niņa) was only modestly different from 2010 (El Niņo) with the average temperature declining 0.2%, surface chlorophyll a up 3% and modelled primary production down 14%. Other changes included a poleward shift in Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. Along the east coast, there was a reduction in salinity, increase in nutrients, Chlorophytes and Prasinophytes (taxa with chlorophyll b, neoxanthin and prasinoxanthin). The southwest region had a rise in the proportion of 19-hexoyloxyfucoxanthin; possibly coccolithophorids in eddies of the Leeuwin Current and along the sub-tropical front. Pennate diatoms increased, Ceratium spp. decreased and Scrippsiella spp. increased in 2011. Zooplankton biomass declined significantly in 2011. There was a reduction in the abundance of Calocalanus pavo and Temora turbinata and increases in Clausocalanus farrani, Oncaea scottodicarloi and Macrosetella gracilis in 2011. The changes in the plankton community during the strong La Niņa of 2011 suggest that this climatic oscillation exacerbates the tropicalization of Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate, ENSO, nutrients, phytoplankton, zooplankton
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Thompson, PA (Dr Peter Thompson)
ID Code:119609
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-08-03
Last Modified:2017-10-30
Downloads:129 View Download Statistics

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