Carbon fluxes and pelagic ecosystem dynamics near two western Antarctic Peninsula Adélie penguin colonies: An inverse model approach

Sévrine F. Sailley, Hugh W. Ducklow, Holly V. Moeller, William R. Fraser, Oscar M. Schofield, Deborah K. Steinberg, Lori M. Garzio, Scott C. Doney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

An inverse food-web model for the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) pelagic food web was constrained with data from Palmer Long Term Ecological Research (PAL-LTER) project annual austral summer sampling cruises. Model solutions were generated for 2 regions with Adélie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae colonies presenting different population trends (a northern and a southern colony) for a 12 yr period (1995-2006). Counter to the standard paradigm, comparisons of carbon flow through bacteria, microzooplankton, and krill showed that the diatom-krill-top predator food chain is not the dominant pathway for organic carbon exchanges. The food web is more complex, including significant contributions by microzooplankton and the microbial loop. Using both inverse model results and network indices, it appears that in the northern WAP the food web is dominated by the microbial food web, with a temporal trend toward its increasing importance. The dominant pathway for the southern WAP food web varies from year to year, with no detectable temporal trend toward dominance of microzooplankton versus krill. In addition, sensitivity analyses indicated that the northern colony of Adélie penguins, whose population size has been declining over the past 35 yr, appears to have sufficient krill during summer to sustain its basic metabolic needs and rear chicks, suggesting the importance of other processes in regulating the Adélie population decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-272
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume492
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 31 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Antarctica
  • Climate change
  • Ecosystem state change
  • Food web
  • Inverse model
  • Krill
  • Microzooplankton

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