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Oscar Schofield Coastal Ocean Observation Lab, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University [email protected] Understanding Shifting Ecosystems due to hot days along the West Antarctic Peninsula Understanding the mechanisms by which climate variability affects multiple trophic levels in food webs is essential for determining ecosystem responses to climate change. Using decades of data collected by the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program efforts have focused on determining how large-­‐scale climate and local physical forcing affect phytoplankton, zooplankton and an apex predators along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). The WAP is experiencing rapid climate change and one of the fastest rates of winter warming on Earth. Associated changes include significantly reduced sea ice extent, concentration and duration, and accelerated retreat and melting of glaciers and ice sheets. As life histories of most polar organisms are attuned to ice seasonality, recent warming and declines in sea ice have been associated with changes at key trophic levels throughout the food web. Princeton University Environmental Geology and Geochemistry Seminar 6 November 2014