A recent increase in sea temperature has established a new ecosystem dynamic regime in the North Sea. Climate-induced changes in decapods have played an important role. Here, we reveal a coincident increase in the abundance of swimming crabs and lesser black-backed gull colonies in the North Sea, both in time and in space. Swimming crabs are an important food source for lesser black-backed gulls during the breeding season. Inhabiting the land, but feeding mainly at sea, lesser black-backed gulls provide a link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems, since the bottom-up influence of allochthonous nutrient input from seabirds to coastal soils can structure the terrestrial food web. We, therefore, suggest that climate-driven changes in trophic interactions in the marine food web may also have ensuing ramifications for the coastal ecology of the North Sea.
- climate change
- food web
- Larus fuscus graelsii
- Polybius henslowii
- sea temperature
[Kirby, R. R.] Univ Plymouth, Inst Marine, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, England; [Lindley, J. A.] Sir Alister Hardy Fdn Ocean Sci, Plymouth, Devon, England; [Luczak, C.; Beaugrand, G.; Dewarumez, J-M.; Dubois, P. J.] Univ Lille 1, CNRS, LOG UMR 8187, F-59655 Villeneuve Dascq, France
Kirby, RR (reprint author), Univ Plymouth, Inst Marine, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, England.