Strong seasonal temperature cycles characterize the North Atlantic ocean, which leads to seasonality in other ecosystem components, such as phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms, and the migration and spawning cycles of many species. Studies across the globe are finding that shifting phenology — or the seasonal timing of events — is a key signal of climate change impacts. This study will investigate how ocean phenology is shifting in the North Atlantic and elucidate linkages between changes in the timing of ocean warming and cooling, phytoplankton blooms, and anadromous fish migrations.
Past studies (Thomas et al. 2017), have demonstrated that ocean waters on the Northeast Shelf are warming earlier in the spring and cooling later in the fall. This study will evaluate whether this pattern extends across the North Atlantic and identify regional- and basin-scale influences associated with shifts in the timing of the temperature cycle. In addition, it will investigate whether phytoplankton bloom timing and anadromous fish migration timing (i.e., Atlantic salmon, American shad, river herring) are changing, as well as how each of these may be influenced by ocean temperature phenology. These results will extend our understanding of climate change impacts on marine ecosystems and of how basin-scale changes influence fish populations here in the Gulf of Maine.
Another important element of the project will develop tools to visualize phenology indicators from local, regional, and basin-scale ocean data. These tools will highlight phenological events in time series data as well as support geospatial visualizations so that phenology indicators can be mapped. This element of the project will enable a broad array of interested users to interact with ocean phenology data.
- Nick Record, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
- Andrew Thomas, Ph.D.
University of Maine
- Ed Armstrong
Senior Data Scientist
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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