Macroscale patterns of oceanic zooplankton composition and size structure.

Manoela C Brandão, Fabio Benedetti, Séverine Martini, Yawouvi Dodji Soviadan, Jean-Olivier Irisson, Jean-Baptiste Romagnan, Amanda Elineau, Corinne Desnos, Laëtitia Jalabert, Andrea S Freire, Marc Picheral, Lionel Guidi, Gabriel Gorsky, Chris Bowler, Lee Karp-Boss, Nicolas Henry, Colomban de Vargas, Matthew B Sullivan, Tara Oceans Consortium Coordinators, Lars StemmannFabien Lombard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ocean plankton comprise organisms from viruses to fish larvae that are fundamental to ecosystem functioning and the provision of marine services such as fisheries and CO$_{2}$ sequestration. The latter services are partly governed by variations in plankton community composition and the expression of traits such as body size at community-level. While community assembly has been thoroughly studied for the smaller end of the plankton size spectrum, the larger end comprises ectotherms that are often studied at the species, or group-level, rather than as communities. The body size of marine ectotherms decreases with temperature, but controls on community-level traits remain elusive, hindering the predictability of marine services provision. Here, we leverage Tara Oceans datasets to determine how zooplankton community composition and size structure varies with latitude, temperature and productivity-related covariates in the global surface ocean. Zooplankton abundance and median size decreased towards warmer and less productive environments, as a result of changes in copepod composition. However, some clades displayed the opposite relationships, which may be ascribed to alternative feeding strategies. Given that climate models predict increasingly warmed and stratified oceans, our findings suggest that zooplankton communities will shift towards smaller organisms which might weaken their contribution to the biological carbon pump.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 4 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-08-19
Acknowledgements: Tara Oceans (which includes both the Tara Oceans and Tara Oceans Polar Circle expeditions) would not exist
without the leadership of the Tara Expeditions Foundation and the continuous support of 23 institutes (http:// We further thank the commitment of the following sponsors: CNRS (in particular Groupement de Recherche GDR3280 and the Research Federation for the study of Global Ocean Systems Ecology and Evolution, FR2022/Tara Oceans-GOSEE), European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Genoscope/CEA, Te French Ministry of Research, and the French Government ‘Investissements d’Avenir’ programmes OCEANOMICS (ANR-11-BTBR-0008), FRANCE GENOMIQUE (ANR-10-INBS-09-08), MEMO
LIFE (ANR-10-LABX-54), and PSL Research University (ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02). M.C.B. acknowledges postdoc fellowships from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel of Brazil (CAPES) (99999.000487/2016-03) and the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM). F.B. received support from ETH Zürich and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement n°SEP-210591007. We also thank the support and commitment of Agnès b. and Etienne Bourgois, the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation, the Veolia Foundation, Region Bretagne, Lorient Agglomeration,
Serge Ferrari, World Courier, and KAUST. Te global sampling efort was enabled by countless scientists and crew who sampled aboard the Tara from 2009-2013, and we thank MERCATOR-CORIOLIS and ACRI-ST for providing daily satellite data during the expeditions. We are also grateful to the countries who graciously granted sampling permissions. Te authors declare that all data reported herein are fully and freely available from the date of publication, with no restrictions, and that all of the analyses, publications, and ownership of data are free
from legal entanglement or restriction by the various nations whose waters the Tara Oceans expeditions sampled. Te following people were involved in plankton image sorting: B. Serranito, N. Monferrer, C. Merland and F. Roullier. We thank the EMBRC platform PIQv for image analysis. Tis work was supported by EMBRC-France, whose French state funds are managed by the ANR within the Investments of the Future program under reference ANR-10-INBS-02. We are grateful to Meike Vogt for sharing her thoughts regarding the potential use of
the present observations for zooplankton modelling. Tis article is contribution number 121 of Tara Oceans
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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