Phytoplankton niches estimated from field data

Andrew J. Irwin, Andrew M. Nelles and Zoe V. Finkel

Limnol. Oceanogr., 57(3), 2012, 787-797 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2012.57.3.0787

ABSTRACT: We combine phytoplankton occurrence data for 119 species from the continuous plankton recorder with climatological environmental variables in the North Atlantic to obtain ecological response functions of each species using the MaxEnt statistical method. These response functions describe how the probability of occurrence of each species changes as a function of environmental conditions and can be reduced to a simple description of phytoplankton realized niches using the mean and standard deviation of each environmental variable, weighted by its response function. Although there was substantial variation in the realized niche among species within groups, the envelope of the realized niches of North Atlantic diatoms and dinoflagellates is mostly separate in niche space.

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