Study finds rising summer ocean temperatures equals fewer plankton for fish to feed on

Dec 21, 2010

Summer temperatures in the waters of the North Atlantic have been increasing since 1353, reducing the abundance of plankton – a key source of food for cod.

A study by scientists at the University of Glasgow has shown that North Atlantic summer water temperatures have risen by around 2.7 degrees Celsius since the Little Ice Age, compared to 1.4 degrees in winter.

The increased summer warming has resulted in a reduction of the quality and abundance of zooplankton – a primary source of food for several marine organisms, including cod.

Dr. Nick Kamenos said: “Since the Little Ice Age, from around 1400 to 1700, summer marine temperatures in the North East Atlantic inshore shallow waters have increased nearly twice as much as those in winter.

“This has implications for climate projections and affects abundance of zooplankton with potentially significant effects on marine food security.

“Since 1958 increasing have reduced the quantity of zooplanktonic available for larval and juvenile cod. This may have detrimental effects on adult cod populations in the North Atlantic.”

The scientists used existing climate models as well as data gathered from fossilised algae, which contain rings – much like the rings of trees – that reveal the in each year of growth.

Dr. Kamenos said: “This data can be fed into climate models to help us understand how seasons are responding differently to rising temperatures and it can also help us manage fisheries.

“This study looked at just one relatively small part of the Atlantic Ocean, using algae collected from the West Coast of Scotland, so I would like to see what the effects are on a wider scale.”

Explore further: Questions of continental crust

More information: The study, ‘North Atlantic summers have warmed more than winters since 1353, and the response of marine zooplankton’, which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government, is published in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Provided by University of Glasgow

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warming drives off Cape Cod's namesake, other fish

Nov 12, 2009

(AP) -- Fishermen have known for years that they've had to steam farther and farther from shore to find the cod, haddock and winter flounder that typically fill dinner plates in New England.

Scientists discover why is the North Pole frozen

Feb 23, 2005

Ice has been building up in the Arctic for 2.7 million years. Until now, no-one has been able to prove what mechanism brought about this accumulation of ice. However, a team of international scientists led by Antoni Rosell, ...

North Sea cod and herring under threat

Jun 26, 2006

European scientists say cod and herring populations in the North Sea are not reproducing enough, jeopardizing the Norwegian fishing industry.

Recommended for you

Questions of continental crust

2 hours ago

Geological processes shape the planet Earth and are in many ways essential to our planet's habitability for life. One important geological process is plate tectonics – the drifting, colliding and general ...

Better forecasts for sea ice under climate change

Nov 25, 2014

University of Adelaide-led research will help pinpoint the impact of waves on sea ice, which is vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the Arctic where it is rapidly retreating.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jimee
not rated yet Dec 24, 2010
The oceans are warming? Somebody tell the oil and coal megalopolies.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.