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Synergies In Climate Change

Effects on recruitment, migration and life-form shift in aquatic communities
According to both databases and predictive modelling, global temperature has been increasing and are predicted to continue to increase with between 2,3 and 5,3 °C within the lifetime of the coming generation. At the same time, water colour has been doubling in the northern hemisphere during the past 15-20 years and there is no tendency that the increase is levelling off. We know that these changes will occur simultaneously in aquatic environments, but will there be any synergistic effects of these environmental changes?

Our research focus on answering the question on how an increased water colour and temperature will affect the recruitment, and migration, of plankton from the top layers of the sediment to the water column during spring. Our studies are performed in natural systems, as well as in large-scale, outdoor experiments.

Seed bank

Copepods
Photo: Mattias Ekvall

During the autumn, both zoo- and phytoplankton species starts to form resting eggs that aggregates in the top layers of the lake sediment to form a “seed bank” from where the next generation will emerge in the spring. Here, Zooplankton caught in a recruitment trap. The picture shows two cyclopoid copepods surrounded by small rotifers.

Stimulating factors

For these eggs to start hatching they need some kind of stimulus in form of increased water temperature and/or increased light availability. Our preliminary data shows that an increase in temperature with 3 °C will make temperature-governed processes occur two weeks earlier in the spring compared to present and this shift will, along with a doubling in water colour, lead to a reduced light availability at a certain mean temperature compared to present.

Effect on recruitment and migration

Recruitment trap
Photo: Peter Ljungberg

How does an increase in mean temperature with 3 °C and a doubling in water colour affect the recruitment, and migration, of plankton from the top layers of the sediment to the water column during spring? Our studies are performed in natural systems, as well as in large-scale, outdoor experiments where we use recruitment traps that catch newly hatched plankton from the sediment. Here, a trap on the sediment surface in one of the enclosures. Yellow arrows indicate the direction of transport into the trap.

Hatching insect
Photo: Mattias Ekvall

In addition to this we also study when pupae of insects start to emerge and the insect leave the aquatic environment for a terrestrial life where they become available as a food resource for birds and other insect eating animals. Here, Insect hatching from a pupa at the surface of one of the enclosures.

Page Manager:

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden