06 May 2024
 | 06 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Reviews and synthesis: increasing hypoxia in eastern boundary upwelling systems: a major stressor for zooplankton

Leissing Frederick, Mauricio A. Urbina, and Ruben Escribano

Abstract. Eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS) are ecologically and economically important marine regions of the world ocean. In these systems, zooplankton play a pivotal role in transferring primary production up through the food web. Recent studies show that global warming is causing a gradual deoxygenation of the world ocean, while in EBUS a vertical expansion of the subsurface oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) along with increased wind-driven upwelling are taking place, further exacerbating hypoxic conditions for zooplankton inhabiting the upwelling zone. Hypoxia can affect zooplankton by disrupting their respiration, migration, reproduction, and development. These effects however depend on some specific adaptations of organisms that have evolved in habitats, permanently or episodically, subjected to low oxygen waters. Various metabolic, physiological, behavioural, and morphological adaptations have been described in zooplankton interacting with the OMZ. Nevertheless, these adaptive responses of zooplankton to withstand mild or severe hypoxia, and the eventual oxidative stress derived from highly fluctuating oxygen conditions, may develop in association with trade-offs related to other metabolic/energy-demanding processes. New demands imply a reduction in energy otherwise available for growth, feeding and reproduction with further ecological consequences for the populations. This paper reviews and explores the existence or lack of such adaptive responses and their role for zooplankton dynamics in EBUS with major consequences for the pelagic food web and biological productivity.

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Leissing Frederick, Mauricio A. Urbina, and Ruben Escribano

Status: open (until 24 Jun 2024)

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Leissing Frederick, Mauricio A. Urbina, and Ruben Escribano
Leissing Frederick, Mauricio A. Urbina, and Ruben Escribano


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Short summary
Evidence shows that due to global warming zooplankton inhabiting the coastal upwelling zone are exposed to increasing hypoxia affecting their physiology, metabolism, and population dynamics. The adaptive responses of zooplankton to cope with mild/severe hypoxia may depend on trade-offs with other metabolic/energy-demands, implying less energy for growth, feeding and reproduction with ecological consequences for the zooplankton populations and the marine food web.