Can a key boreal Calanus copepod species now complete its life-cycle in the Arctic? Evidence and implications for Arctic food-webs
The changing Arctic environment is affecting zooplankton that support its abundant wildlife. We examined how these changes are influencing a key zooplankton species, Calanus finmarchicus, principally found in the North Atlantic but expatriated to the Arctic. Close to the ice-edge in the Fram Strait, we identified areas that, since the 1980s, are increasingly favourable to C. finmarchicus. Field-sampling revealed part of the population there to be capable of amassing enough reserves to overwinter. Early developmental stages were also present in early summer, suggesting successful local recruitment. This extension to suitable C. finmarchicus habitat is most likely facilitated by the long-term retreat of the ice-edge, allowing phytoplankton to bloom earlier and for longer and through higher temperatures increasing copepod developmental rates. The increased capacity for this species to complete its life-cycle and prosper in the Fram Strait can change community structure, with large consequences to regional food-webs.
Authors: Tarling, Geraint A. ORCID record for Geraint A. Tarling, Freer, Jennifer J. ORCID record for Jennifer J. Freer, Banas, Neil S., Belcher, Anna ORCID record for Anna Belcher, Blackwell, Mayleen, Castellani, Claudia, Cook, Kathryn B. ORCID record for Kathryn B. Cook, Cottier, Finlo R., Daase, Malin, Johnson, Magnus L., Last, Kim S., Lindeque, Penelope K., Mayor, Daniel J. ORCID record for Daniel J. Mayor, Mitchell, Elaine, Parry, Helen E., Stowasser, Gabriele ORCID record for Gabriele Stowasser, Wootton, Marianne