Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.801249
Title: Mesozooplankton community dynamics and environmental drivers in western Scotland
Author: Wells, Seòna Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
Zooplankton are an important component of marine systems and underpin many economically important fisheries. Open-ocean plankton communities are being affected by climate change but less is known about coastal systems. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires member nations to be able to detect changes in plankton community structure beyond those caused by natural variability. The paucity of knowledge on zooplankton dynamics in western Scotland hinders these legislative assessments. This thesis aims to fill this knowledge gap by a) providing a detailed description of mesozooplankton community dynamics in western Scottish waters, b) understanding the underlying drivers, and c) assessing the suitability of describing the plankton community of the western Scotland region by sampling at a single location. Data were primarily derived from Loch Ewe, a long-term plankton monitoring site within the Scottish Coastal Observatory that has been sampled every week since 2002. Loch Ewe displayed the typical seasonality of physiochemistry observed in temperate marine systems, although sea surface temperature (SST) and salinity declined over the time series. SST and chlorophyll 'a' explained the highest variation in zooplankton density, with their community composition being dominated by small calanoid copepods and appendicularians throughout the sampling period. Copepod diversity was significantly higher than in other UK waters, potentially reflecting higher chlorophyll 'a' concentrations and the advection of oceanic species into the site. Contrasting species specific responses to environmental variables within the same taxonomic groups highlighted the difficulty of pooling zooplankton taxa to represent aspects of ecosystem functioning. Comparison of the physiochemical properties and zooplankton communities at sites in western Scottish waters and in the Shetland Isles revealed that the latter was distinguished by higher salinities and lower SS By contrast, zooplankton communities sampled at disparate locations across the west coast could not be distinguished statistically, indicating that, at the taxonomic resolution and spatial scales examined, a single monitoring site is representative of the wider west coast region. This thesis provides two recommendations for future plankton monitoring: (1) The addition of a warm-water and cold-water copepod assemblage lifeform pair indicator within the UK Plankton Index is useful for discerning the effects of ocean warming. (2) The establishment of an additional zooplankton monitoring site in the Shetland Isles is required in order to meet MSFD assessment requirements.
Supervisor: Bresnan, Eileen ; Douglas, Alex ; Mayor, Dan ; Cook, Kathryn Sponsor: Marine Collaborations Research Forum
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.801249  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Marine zooplankton
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