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Community trait distribution across environmental gradients

TitleCommunity trait distribution across environmental gradients
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsKenitz K.M, Visser A.W, Ohman MD, Landry MR, Andersen K.H
Date Published2019/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1432-9840
Accession NumberWOS:000480546800003
KeywordsActivity traits; california current; california current system; cell-size; community structure; diel vertical migration; Distribution; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; feeding mode; life; multi-trophic interactions; natural assemblages; patterns; phytoplankton; Plankton; resource acquisition; size; southern california; strategies; Upwelling; Zooplankton

Variability in community composition is often attributed to underlying differences in physical environments. However, predator-prey interactions can play an equally important role in structuring communities. Although environmental differences select for different species assemblages, less is known about their impacts on trait compositions. We develop a trait-based analysis of plankton communities of the southern California Current System across multiple trophic levels, from bacteria to mesozooplankton, and over a gradient of environmental conditions, from the oligotrophic open ocean to coastal upwelling. Across a factor of four differences in total community biomass, we observe similarities in the size structure along the environmental gradient, with the most pronounced departures from proportional variations in the biomasses found in the largest protists (> 40 mu m). Differences in the trait distributions emerge within a small range of size groups: greater biomass contribution of larger autotrophs (> 10 mu m) is observed only for the upwelling region.

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