Extreme climatic events, such as heatwaves and droughts, are occurring more frequently in many regions of the world. Lakes may be especially vulnerable to climatic perturbations, which can trigger sudden ecosystem changes through alterations in the hydrologic regime. However, the nature of lake response to climatic extremes, and associated longterm ecosystem-level implications are difficult to predict, due to the paucity of time series allowing exploration of ecosystem behavior before, during, and after extreme events. We investigated the impacts of the 2003 European heatwave on a small, stratifying lake by analyzing available limnological data between 1986 and 2012. In summer 2003, a shift from an unvegetated to a macrophyte-dominated regime occurred, due to the rapid spread of a benthic charophyte. We explored candidate mechanisms driving the shift by comparing empirical observations with the outcome of a model on lake alternative states parameterized for our study lake. Our results support the hypothesis that enhanced light availability due to a heatwaveinduced decrease in water level drove the switch in dominant primary producers. The spread of the charophyte was associated with strong depletion of inorganic nutrients and suppression of the typical summer phytoplankton peak. These bottom-up interactions triggered cascading effects at higher trophic levels, inducing a decline in herbivorous zooplankters with high food requirements and in predatory taxa. Some of the changes in the lake food web persist through the available time series. If incidence of heatwaves increases, as projected across temperate regions, our findings suggest that abrupt and long-lasting ecosystem-level reorganizations may occur in small, stratifying lakes.

Extreme climatic event triggers a lake regime shift that propagates across multiple trophic levels / Bertani, Isabella; Raul, Primicerio; Rossetti, Giampaolo. - In: ECOSYSTEMS. - ISSN 1432-9840. - 19(2016), pp. 16-31. [10.1007/s10021-015-9914-5]

Extreme climatic event triggers a lake regime shift that propagates across multiple trophic levels

BERTANI, Isabella
;
ROSSETTI, Giampaolo
2016

Abstract

Extreme climatic events, such as heatwaves and droughts, are occurring more frequently in many regions of the world. Lakes may be especially vulnerable to climatic perturbations, which can trigger sudden ecosystem changes through alterations in the hydrologic regime. However, the nature of lake response to climatic extremes, and associated longterm ecosystem-level implications are difficult to predict, due to the paucity of time series allowing exploration of ecosystem behavior before, during, and after extreme events. We investigated the impacts of the 2003 European heatwave on a small, stratifying lake by analyzing available limnological data between 1986 and 2012. In summer 2003, a shift from an unvegetated to a macrophyte-dominated regime occurred, due to the rapid spread of a benthic charophyte. We explored candidate mechanisms driving the shift by comparing empirical observations with the outcome of a model on lake alternative states parameterized for our study lake. Our results support the hypothesis that enhanced light availability due to a heatwaveinduced decrease in water level drove the switch in dominant primary producers. The spread of the charophyte was associated with strong depletion of inorganic nutrients and suppression of the typical summer phytoplankton peak. These bottom-up interactions triggered cascading effects at higher trophic levels, inducing a decline in herbivorous zooplankters with high food requirements and in predatory taxa. Some of the changes in the lake food web persist through the available time series. If incidence of heatwaves increases, as projected across temperate regions, our findings suggest that abrupt and long-lasting ecosystem-level reorganizations may occur in small, stratifying lakes.
Extreme climatic event triggers a lake regime shift that propagates across multiple trophic levels / Bertani, Isabella; Raul, Primicerio; Rossetti, Giampaolo. - In: ECOSYSTEMS. - ISSN 1432-9840. - 19(2016), pp. 16-31. [10.1007/s10021-015-9914-5]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2796726
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