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Significant shifts in coastal zooplankton populations through the 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave

Evans, R, Lea, M-A ORCID: 0000-0001-8318-9299, Hindell, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-7823-7185 and Swadling, KM ORCID: 0000-0002-7620-841X 2019 , 'Significant shifts in coastal zooplankton populations through the 2015/16 Tasman Sea marine heatwave' , Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 235 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106538.

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The waters east of Tasmania, Australia, are warming at a rate 3–4 times the global average, largely as a result of the increasing duration and frequency of the southward penetration of the East Australia Current (EAC). In 2015/16, the southward movement of this sub-tropical current caused a severe marine heatwave (MHW) event. The effects of this event on the abundance and structure of the zooplankton community of south-east Tasmania are examined between November 2015 and January 2018. Generalized additive models indicated temperature to be significantly correlated with total zooplankton abundance (R2 = 0.6, p 2 = 0.2), echinoderm larvae (R2 = 0.6) and gelatinous zooplankton such as thaliaceans (R2 = 0.3), exhibited significant positive relationship with temperature (p 2 = 0.6), appendicularians (R2 = 0.5) and cladocerans (R2 = 0.2), all exhibited negative relationships (p Temora turbinata and Acartia danae, were present when temperatures exceeded ∼17 °C, with a concurrent drop in the abundance of cold-water species. The east-coast of Tasmania is a region of rapid oceanographic change, and we have linked these changes with shifts in zooplankton population structure. Long-term studies from other regions that have also experienced marine heatwaves indicate these changes may have cascading implications for higher trophic levels. Gelatinous zooplankton and other zooplankton taxa not previously observed have now been documented in local predator diets. During warm periods, these species may represent an important alternative energy pathway.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Evans, R and Lea, M-A and Hindell, MA and Swadling, KM
Keywords: plankton, warm anomaly, East Australian Current, climate change, continental shelf, biodiversity hotspot
Journal or Publication Title: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Publisher: Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0272-7714
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106538
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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