URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography is one of the world’s premier academic institutions of oceanography and ocean exploration. GSO’s research, education, and outreach activities advance our knowledge of the world’s ocean.
Dr. Kristina Kvile, a WHOI postdoctoral fellow from Norway, will give a talk, “Pushing the limit: Resilience of an Arctic copepod to environmental fluctuations,” in the Ocean Science and Exploration Center, Room 115.
The high Arctic is an extreme environment hosting species uniquely adapted to fluctuating conditions. One example is the copepod, Calanus hyperboreus, whose extended life cycle and ability to store large lipid reserves are considered adaptations to the unpredictable growth season in the central Arctic Ocean. The species is described as a true Arctic endemic; however, some studies have suggested that it is unable to complete its life cycle in the central Arctic basins. Combining statistical analyses of observational data, individual-based modeling and energy requirement estimation, we show that C. hyperboreus can reach higher abundances in areas with longer growth season and higher food availability outside the central Arctic basins. Nevertheless, due to its extreme ability to sustain unfavorable years, the life cycle can be completed in the central Arctic basins. Specifically, the energy required to reach the first overwintering stage is likely met some– but not all–years, but requires higher food availability, food uptake or tolerance to food limitation than commonly assumed. The fine balance between success and failure indicates that C. hyperboreus can respond rapidly to improved growth conditions in the central Arctic basins. This study highlights the sensitivity of species commonly considered as Arctic endemics, and the importance of systematically combining observational data with mechanistic modeling to understand potential responses to climate change in extreme environments.