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Science. 2009 May 8;324(5928):791-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1170987.

Basin-scale coherence in phenology of shrimps and phytoplankton in the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Post Office Box 1006, Dartmouth, B2Y 4A2 Nova Scotia, Canada.


Climate change could lead to mismatches between the reproductive cycles of marine organisms and their planktonic food. We tested this hypothesis by comparing shrimp (Pandalus borealis) egg hatching times and satellite-derived phytoplankton bloom dynamics throughout the North Atlantic. At large spatial and long temporal (10 years or longer) scales, hatching was correlated with the timing of the spring phytoplankton bloom. Annual egg development and hatching times were determined locally by bottom water temperature. We conclude that different populations of P. borealis have adapted to local temperatures and bloom timing, matching egg hatching to food availability under average conditions. This strategy is vulnerable to interannual oceanographic variability and long-term climatic changes.

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