Long-term declining trend of zooplankton biomass in the Tropical Atlantic

S. A. Piontkovski, C. Castellani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We report evidences that the zooplankton biomass in the tropical Atlantic has declined with an almost 10-fold drop from the 1950s to 2000. The results of the multiple regression analysis showed that the decline in zooplankton biomass was positively related to the NAO-index and to phosphate concentration. We also found that the depth of the thermocline has decreased over the period of our investigation. Thus, the decline we report in zooplankton biomass may be related to the combined effect of two phenomena driven by global temperature increase: (1) the widening of the distributional range of tropical species due to the expansion of the 'tropical belt' and (2) a decrease in primary production resulting from the thinning of the thermocline. The decline of zooplankton biomass we report suggests that global warming of the ocean may be altering tropical food webs, and through them, it may also indirectly impact tropical oceans biogeochemical cycles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Atlantic Ocean
  • NAO
  • Time series
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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