Different climate scenarios alter dominance patterns among aquatic primary producers in temperate systems

Lars Anders Hansson, Mattias K. Ekvall, Liang He, Zhongqiang Li, Marie Svensson, Pablo Urrutia-Cordero, Huan Zhang

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7 Citations (SciVal)


In a future climate change perspective, the interactions among different life-forms of primary producers will likely be altered, leading to changes in the relative dominance among macrophytes, filamentous, and planktonic algae. In order to improve the possibilities to forecast future ecosystem services and function, we therefore conducted a long-term mesocosm study where primary producers were exposed to different climate scenarios, including both a mean increase in temperature (4°C) and a similar energy input, but delivered as “heat waves” (fluctuations 0–8°C above ambient). We show that in shallow systems, future climate change scenarios will likely lead to higher total macrophyte biomasses, but also to considerable alterations in the macrophyte community composition. The biomass of filamentous algae (Cladophora) showed no significant difference among treatments, although effect size analyses identified a slight increase at heated conditions. We also show that future climate change will not necessarily lead to more phytoplankton blooms, although a considerable alteration in phytoplankton community composition is to be expected, with a dominance of cyanobacteria and Cryptophytes, whereas Chlorophyceae and diatoms will likely play a less pronounced role than at present. In a broader context, we conclude that the total biomass of macrophytes will likely increase in shallow areas, whereas phytoplankton may not show any strong changes in biomass in a future climate change scenario. Instead, the major changes among primary producers will likely be mirrored in a considerably different species composition than at present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2328-2336
Number of pages9
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number10
Early online date2020 Apr 22
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Climate Research
  • Ecology


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