Growth responses of a green alga to multiple environmental drivers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

One feature of global change is that biota must respond not to single, but to multiple environmental drivers. By growing a model photosynthetic microbe in environments containing between one and eight different drivers, including changes in CO 2, temperature, and pH, in different combinations, we show that the number as well as the identities of drivers explain shifts in population growth rates. This is because the biotic response to multiple environmental drivers depends on the response to the single dominant driver, and the chance of a driver of large effect being present increases with the number of drivers. Interactions between drivers slightly counteract the expected drop in growth. Our results demonstrate that population growth declines in a predictable way with the number of environmental drivers, and provide an empirically supported model for scaling up from studies on organismal responses to single drivers to predict responses to large numbers of environmental drivers.

Details

Authors
External organisations
  • University of Edinburgh
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-897
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume5
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 21
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Externally publishedYes