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Long-term changes in the meroplankton of the North Sea
Lindley, J.A.; Kirby, R.R. (2007). Long-term changes in the meroplankton of the North Sea. CM Documents - ICES, CM 2007(A:16). ICES: Copenhagen. 10 pp.
Part of: ICES CM Documents - ICES. ICES: Copenhagen. ISSN 1015-4744

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Document type: Meeting report

Keywords
    Abundance; Larvae; Long-term variations; Meroplankton; Plankton surveys; Decapoda [WoRMS]; Echinocardium cordatum (Pennant, 1777) [WoRMS]; Echinodermata [WoRMS]; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Lindley, J.A.
  • Kirby, R.R.

Abstract
    Data from the continuous plankton recorder (CPR) survey collected in the late-1940s to early-1960s indicated that the abundance of decapod larvae was low and the seasonal peak of abundance was late following cold winters. The phenological effect of temperature was shown to be consistent with relationships between both geographical and interannual patterns of variation. Analyses of CPR data collected from the 1940s to the present day reveal large-scale long-term changes in the abundance and phenology of the North Sea meroplankton. Echinoderm larvae, whose peak abundance has advanced by 47 days, show the greatest shift in timing. Echinoderm larvae have also increased in abundance to become the most abundant taxon in North Sea CPR samples. Genetic and morphological analyses of CPR samples show that the variations in echinoderm larvae are mainly attributable to an increasing abundance and earlier occurrence of the larvae of a resident species, Echinocardium cordatum, rather than a change in species composition. The remarkable scale of the changes in abundance and phenology of the meroplankton, which are greater than those seen in the holoplankton, has stimulated the development of further research into the causes and effects of these changes.

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