Temperature-Dependent Bifurcated Seasonal Shift of Phytoplankton Community Composition in the Coastal Water off Southwestern Korea

  • Yoonja Kang
  • Hee-Yoon Kang
  • Dongyoung Kim
  • Young-Jae Lee
  • Tae-Ik Kim
  • Chang-Keun KangEmail author


Coastal water around the archipelago off southwestern Korea has been bathed in an unprecedented pool of warm water in summer in recent years. Here, we examined phytoplankton community responses to amplified seasonal temperature fluctuation around the archipelago based on chemotaxonomic analysis in association with physicochemical properties in the shallow coastal water from June 2016 to March 2018. Concentrations of dissolved inorganic nutrients were significantly higher during the warm season than during the cold season. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that water temperature was a main driver controlling the phytoplankton community. Generalized additive models denoted that small phytoplankton groups (cryptophytes, cyanobacteria, and prasinophytes) were more resistant to high temperatures (> 25°C) compared with diatoms. Indeed, dominance of diatoms was significant (80%) during the cold season and sharply declined (to 49%) during the warm season. Small phytoplankton were dominant (62%) as the water temperature exceeded 22°C. Our results highlight the effects of temperature-dependent bifurcated seasonality on phytoplankton communities in coastal waters. Furthermore, unprecedentedly high summer temperatures in August 2016 coincided with a remarkable increase in the importance (∼70%) of small phytoplankton. Accumulating evidence provides indications regarding future scenarios: while small phytoplankton will probably account for summer blooms, diatom blooms will shift to winter.


coastal warming phytoplankton dynamics chemotaxonomic analysis diatoms small phytoplankton cryptophytes cyanobacteria 


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We would like to express our gratitude to Changseong Kim, Jaebin Jang, Kwanghun Lee for their analytical assistance. This study was financed by National Institute of Fisheries Science (grant no. R2018009; HYPERLINK “http://www.nifs.go.kr This study was also partially supported by “Long-term change of structure and function in marine ecosystems of Korea” funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea.


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Copyright information

© KSO, KIOST and Springer 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoonja Kang
    • 1
  • Hee-Yoon Kang
    • 1
  • Dongyoung Kim
    • 1
  • Young-Jae Lee
    • 1
  • Tae-Ik Kim
    • 2
  • Chang-Keun Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Earth Sciences and Environmental EngineeringGwangju Institute of Science and TechnologyGwangjuKorea
  2. 2.Southwest Sea Fisheries Research InstituteNational Institute of Fisheries ScienceTongyeongKorea

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