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Data from: Modeling effects of climate change and phase shifts on detrital production of a kelp bed


Krumhansl, Kira A.; Lauzon-Guay, Jean-Sébastien; Scheibling, Robert E. (2014), Data from: Modeling effects of climate change and phase shifts on detrital production of a kelp bed, Dryad, Dataset,


The exchange of energy and nutrients between ecosystems (i.e., resource subsidies) plays a central role in ecological dynamics over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Little attention has been paid to the role of anthropogenic impacts on natural systems in altering the magnitude, timing, and quality of resource subsidies. Kelp ecosystems are highly productive on a local scale and export over 80% of kelp primary production as detritus, subsidizing consumers across broad spatial scales. Here, we generate a model of detrital production from a kelp bed in Nova Scotia to hindcast trends in detrital production based on temperature and wave height recorded in the study region from 1976 to 2009, and to project changes in detrital production that may result from future climate change. Historical and projected increases in temperature and wave height led to higher rates of detrital production through increased blade breakage and kelp dislodgment from the substratum, but this reduced kelp biomass and led to a decline in detrital production in the long term. We also used the model to demonstrate that the phase shift from a highly productive kelp bed to a low-productivity barrens, driven by the grazing activity of sea urchins, reduces kelp detrital production by several orders of magnitude, an effect that would be exacerbated by projected increases in temperature and wave action. These results indicate that climate-mediated changes in ecological dynamics operating on local scales may alter the magnitude of resource subsidies to adjacent ecosystems, affecting ecological dynamics on regional scales.

Usage Notes


Nova Scotia
Ketch Harbour