Zooplankton growth and survival differentially respond to interactive warming and acidification effects

The copepod Acartia tonsa is a key component of a wide range of marine ecosystems, linking energy transfer from phytoplankton to higher trophic levels, and has a central role in productivity and biogeochemistry. The interaction of end-of-century global warming and ocean acidification scenarios with testing moderate temperature effects on a seminatural copepod community is needed to understand future community functioning. Here, we deployed a mesocosm experimental set-up with a full factorial design using two temperatures (13°C and 19°C) crossed with a pCO2 gradient ranging from ambient (550 μatm) to 3000 μatm. We used the natural bacteria, phyto- and microzooplankton species composition and biomass of the Kiel Bight and tested the response of A. tonsa development, carbon growth, mortality, size and condition. The tested traits were differently affected by the interaction of temperature and acidification. Ocean acidification increased development, carbon growth, size and mortality under the warming scenario of 19°C. At 13°C mortality rates decreased, while carbon growth, size and condition increased with acidification. We conclude from our experimental approach that a single species shows a variety of responses depending on the focal functional trait. Trait-specific mesozooplankton responses need to be further investigated and compared between geographical regions, seasons and taxonomic groups.

Garzke J., Sommer U. & Ismar-Rebitz S. M. H., 2020. Zooplankton growth and survival differentially respond to interactive warming and acidification effects. Journal of Plankton Research fbaa005. doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbaa005. Article (subscription required).

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