This project proposes to assess the potential for climate-driven change in zooplankton biodiversity and dynamics in the eastern Levantine Basin. Climate impacts in the eastern Mediterranean are projected to be severe, and the anticipated changes in surface temperature and precipitation are likely to affect the physical and biological functioning of the Mediterranean Sea. However the impact of climate-driven changes on marine biological populations in this region is very poorly understood. To better assess potential perturbations of the marine ecosystem we will target a key component of the pelagic environment, the zooplankton community. Not only do these herbivorous and carnivorous animals support fisheries production in the eastern Levantine Basin, but zooplankton respond very rapidly to large-scale environmental perturbations in this region. Moreover, on long time-scales, zooplankton populations can change dramatically because the non-linear responses of biological communities amplify subtle fluctuations in ocean currents and temperature. The main objective of this project is to assess the zooplankton numerical and growth rate response to changes in the ocean environment in the eastern Levantine Basin. We specifically propose:
1. To conduct the first detailed spatial surveys of zooplankton biodiversity and abundance in eastern Levantine Basin around Cyprus.
2. To measure zooplankton growth rates under different environmental conditions, e.g., changes in upwelling intensity, changes in chlorophyll biomass and changes in atmospheric dust loading.
3. To model the zooplankton numerical and reproductive response to changes in ocean temperature, salinity and atmospheric dust loading in the eastern Levantine Basin. This information will be used to assess the potential response of pelagic communities to changes in climate and ocean circulation.
4. To assess potential long-term changes in the marine ecosystem by comparing our findings with historical data on plankton communities in eastern Mediterranean Sea.
This project has been completed. The results are available in this brochure (PDF).
CyI researcher responsible:
Tel. +357 22208648
- Acronym: EMEDZOO
- Center: EEWRC
- Funding Source: Reseach Promotion Foundation, Cyprus
- Funding Period: 2 years
- Coordinator: CyI/ EEWRC