Investigations into a plankton population model: Mortality and its importance in climate change scenarios.
The potential for marine plankton ecosystems to influence climate by the production of dimethylsulphide (DMS) has been an important topic of recent research into climate change. Several General Circulation Models, used to predict climate change, have or are being modified to include interactions of ecosystems with climate. Climate change necessitates that parameters within ecosystem models must change during long-term simulations, especially mortality parameters that increase as organisms are pushed toward the boundaries of their thermal tolerance. Changing mortality parameters can have profound influences on ecosystem model dynamics. There is therefore a pressing need to understand the influence of varying mortality parameters on the long-term behaviour of ecosystem models. This work examines the sensitivity of a model of DMS production by marine ecosystems to variations in three linear mortality coefficients. Significant differences in behaviour are observed, and we note the importance of these results in formulating ecosystem models for application in simulations of climate change.