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Ecosystem Trophic Relationships in a Warmer World

Aberle, N., Bauer, B., Lewandowska, A., Gaedke, U. and Sommer, U. 2012. Warming induces shifts in microzooplankton phenology and reduces time-lags between phytoplankton and protozoan production. Marine Biology 159: 2441-2453.
In places such as the Baltic Sea, according to Aberle et al. (2012), a "temporal match of zooplankton peaks with the spring phytoplankton bloom is required to provide an efficient energy transfer up the food web at the start of the growing season," but they note that climate alarmists predict that "warming will affect the different trophic levels unequally," resulting in a counterproductive "temporal mismatch between predators and their prey."

Investigating such claims, Aberle et al. conducted a set of indoor mesocosm experiments "to analyze time-lags between phytoplankton and micro-zooplankton during the spring succession of Baltic Sea plankton in relation to changing temperature [0 and 6°C above the decadal mean] and light conditions," along with "model simulations using a modified Rosenzweig and MacArthur (1963) predator-prey model incorporating temperature-dependent growth, grazing and mortality rates of autotrophic and heterotrophic components."

The five German scientists say that "during the experiments, we observed reduced time-lags between the peaks of phytoplankton and protozoan biomass in response to warming," adding that "warming induced a shift in micro-zooplankton phenology leading to a faster species turnover." In addition, they say that the models they employed also "predicted reduced time-lags between the biomass peaks of phytoplankton and its predators (both micro-zooplankton and copepods) with warming." Given such findings, in the concluding sentence of their paper's abstract, Aberle et al. write that their study shows that "instead of a mismatch, warming might lead to a stronger match between protist grazers and their prey," which could be a huge plus for the Baltic Sea's marine life, in contrast to the drastic minus that is predicted by the world's climate alarmists if the Earth ever begins to warm again, which cautionary note is quite appropriate, as the planet has been experiencing thermal stagnation for about the past decade and a half now.

Additional Reference
Rosenzweig, M.L. and MacArthur, R.H. 1963. Graphical representation and stability conditions of predator-prey interactions. American Naturalist 97: 209-223.

Archived 16 April 2013