Revealing the ecological impact of coccolithophore diversity through mechanistic and probabilistic modelling

Fanny Monteiro

Séminaire du LOCEAN.


Date de début 08/04/2024 11:00
Date de fin 08/04/2024
Organisateur LOCEAN
Lieu UFR TEB (campus Jussieu), couloir 46-56, 2e étage, salle de conférences


Coccolithophores are a main marine calcifier critical to ocean carbon pumps (via organic matter ballast and the carbonate pump), ultimately controlling atmospheric CO2 and climate. However, their contribution to the global carbon cycle is still very uncertain, limiting our understanding of their impact and response to climate change. One major issue is that most coccolithophore studies rely solely on one outlier species (Emiliania huxleyi), which is relatively small and lightly calcified.

Here, I present the development of two modelling approaches, deterministic and probabilistic, to explore the impact of coccolithophore diversity on the global ocean. The deterministic model represents processes and relies on trait-based approaches, where biodiversity is captured by functional diversity, which defines functional groups of similar traits (e.g., size, calcification) and trade-offs (costs and benefits of a particular trait).

We review the costs and benefits of coccolithophore’s main trait of calcification and find that calcification has multiple benefits explaining their high diversity and broad ecological niches. We then apply novel machine-learning techniques to determine the global distribution of the top 52 species and the total calcite production of coccolithophores.

These techniques build predictive models of coccolithophore carbon stocks and calcite production based on newly compiled datasets of coccolithophore abundance and calcification rates, which we combined with environmental data. Our species predictive model shows that a handful of species, including Emiliania huxleyi, are responsible for the global calcite standing stock, with subtropical species being a significant contributor. Our rate predictive model also supports this finding, showing large calcification rates in the subpolar and subtropical regions.

This result revisits the traditional view that coccolithophore calcification primarily occurs in subpolar bloom-like events and that other species besides Emiliania huxleyi should be considered to resolve coccolithophore’s subtropical contribution.


Fanny Monteiro, Associate Professor in Ocean Sciences, University of Bristol.

Informations supplémentaires

Sorbonne Université, Campus Pierre et Marie Curie (Jussieu)
Couloir 46-56, 2e étage, salle de conférences

En visio