WHOI  WHOI People  

Bioenergetic Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Arctic Copepods

Rubao Ji, Biology
Carin Ashjian, Biology

Arctic Research Initiative
2010 Funded Project

Abstract

Climate change is likely to affect water temperature and snow/ice dynamics that in turn impact light conditions and the food environment for plankton populations in the Arctic Ocean.  Copepods are key members of the Arctic planktonic food web, linking primary producers to upper trophic level consumers such as fish and planktivorous whales as well as modulating benthic pelagic coupling in shelf seas. It is anticipated that 1) climate-induced biotic and abiotic changes will affect the acquisition and allocation of energy for individual copepod species that can be translated to changes in copepod population dynamics and consequently the structure and function of the Arctic ecosystem; and 2) the bioenergetics of individual copepod species may provide particularly sensitive indicators of system responses to major environmental disturbance, since the individual energy budgets integrate both biotic and abiotic influences across different time scales. We propose to conduct a bioenergetic model-based analysis that will provide a synthetic view of the energy balance of individual copepod species associated with their life history strategies. This proposed study will not only help identify key knowledge gaps and allow us to suggest and justify future research needs based on quantitative assessments, but will also build a foundation for further advanced modeling applications. 

This proposed study would directly address one of the three issues raised in the WHOI Arctic Research Initiative - understanding the current and likely future effects of climate change on ecosystems within and beyond the Arctic. It fits well with our research interests and future proposal development, serving as an important step towards the development of future projects including but not limited to: 1) evolution-based fitness modeling (e.g. life history strategy optimization for copepods surviving cold and seasonally food-limiting environment); 2) 3-D spatially explicit physical-bioenergetic coupled modeling of Arctic Calanus copepods; and 3) biogeochemistry and copepod bioenergetics (e.g. biochemical composition change through copepod bioenergetic processes). The support from WHOI Arctic Research Initiative for this proposed study will be critical for us to start building the foundation for future opportunities

Last updated: September 14, 2010