Selected Article


Prevalence of boreal Atlantic, temperate Atlantic and neritic zooplankton in the North Sea between 1958 and 1998 in relation to temperature, salinity, stratification intensity and Atlantic inflow


The Calanus finmarchicus population of the North Sea has collapsed since the late 1950s, while abundance of temperate Atlantic and neritic species groups has risen. These changes are explored in relation to the changing environment of the North Sea. Non-parametric regression methods are used throughout the study, in order to compare the spatial, long-term and seasonal dynamics of the changes in both biotic (e.g. C. finmarchicus) and physical variables (e.g. temperature, salinity, and stratification). The fall in the population of C. finmarchicus has coincided with a long-term freshening and warming of the eastern North Sea and a long-term increase in the salinity of the western North Sea. At the same time the prevalence of temperate Atlantic and neritic zooplankton species has risen. The changes may be explained by differing origins of Atlantic water entering the North Sea since the late 1950s.