Global warming benefits the small in aquatic ecosystems

Daufresne, Martin, Lengfellner, Kathrin and Sommer, Ulrich (2009) Global warming benefits the small in aquatic ecosystems PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (31). pp. 12788-12793. DOI 10.1073/pnas.0902080106.

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Understanding the ecological impacts of climate change is a crucial challenge of the twenty-first century. There is a clear lack of general rules regarding the impacts of global warming on biota. Here, we present a metaanalysis of the effect of climate change on body size of ectothermic aquatic organisms (bacteria, phyto- and zooplankton, and fish) from the community to the individual level. Using long-term surveys, experimental data and published results, we show a significant increase in the proportion of small-sized species and young age classes and a decrease in size-at-age. These results are in accordance with the ecological rules dealing with the temperature–size relationships (i.e., Bergmann's rule, James' rule and Temperature–Size Rule). Our study provides evidence that reduced body size is the third universal ecological response to global warming in aquatic systems besides the shift of species ranges toward higher altitudes and latitudes and the seasonal shifts in life cycle events.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: biological scale; body size; climate change; ectotherms; metaanalysis
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1073/pnas.0902080106
ISSN: 0027-8424
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2009 13:47
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2016 12:14

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