Projected impacts of 21st century climate change on diapause in Calanus finmarchicus

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Diapause plays a key role in the life cycle of high latitude zooplankton. During diapause animals avoid starving in winter by living in deep waters where metabolism is lower and met by lipid reserves. Global warming is therefore expected to shorten the maximum potential diapause duration by increasing metabolic rates and by reducing body size and lipid reserves. This will alter the phenology of zooplankton, impact higher trophic levels and disrupt biological carbon pumps. Here we project the impacts of climate change on the key North Atlantic copepod Calanus finmarchicus under IPCC RCP 8.5. Potential diapause duration is modelled in relation to body size and overwintering temperature. The projections show pronounced geographic variations. Potential diapause duration reduces by more than 30% in the Western Atlantic, whereas in the key overwintering centre of the Norwegian Sea it changes only marginally. Surface temperature rises, which reduce body size and lipid reserves, will have a similar impact to deep water changes on diapause in many regions. Because deep water warming lags that at the surface, animals in the Labrador Sea could offset warming impacts by diapausing in deeper waters. However, the ability to control diapause depth may be limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3332–3340
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number10
Early online date19 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2016


  • Calanus finmarchicus
  • climate change
  • copepods
  • diapause
  • deep water temperature
  • macroecology
  • dormancy
  • overwintering


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