Table_3_Abiotic Changes Driving Microphytoplankton Functional Diversity in Admiralty Bay, King George Island (Antarctica).DOCX
Environmental gradients can provide habitat-specific scenarios for community functional diversity (FD) that determine the composition of populations on both spatial and temporal scales. The western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula has experiencing increasing air temperatures while the climate is transitioning to a warm-humid sub-Antarctic-type of climate. As a consequence, abiotic changes are leading to alterations in the trophic web. Microphytoplankton FD was analyzed across environmental gradients of sea surface temperature, salinity, meltwater percentage and nutrient availability in Admiralty Bay, South Shetland Islands, Western Antarctic Peninsula. Samples were collected during the austral summer from 2009 to 2011 and from 2013 to 2015, at Admiralty Bay for which FD indices were calculated based on species traits. The amount of meltwater (MW) present in Admiralty Bay groups microphytoplankton into communities according to physiological and ecological tolerances, thus leading to a greater FD. When meltwater dominated the bay (>2.25% MW scenarios iii - 2013-14 and iv - 2014-15), diatoms and dinoflagellates were codominant. An increase in the dinoflagellate fraction of microplankton, notably with auxotrophic and mixotrophic nutrition mode, can be considered a trigger for changes in the structure of the Antarctic food web. Our results suggest using Admiralty Bay as a model for studies on changes in microphytoplankton community composition and FD.