Predicted warming and browning affect timing and magnitude of plankton phenological events in lakes: a mesocosm study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1. Aquatic ecosystems in Northern Europe are expected to face increases in temperature and water colour (TB) in future. While effects of these factors have been studied separately, it is unknown whether and how a combination of them might affect phenological events and trophic interactions. 2. In a mesocosm study, we combined both factors to create conditions expected to arise during the coming century. We focused on quantifying effects on timing and magnitude of plankton spring phenological events and identifying possible mismatches between resources (phytoplankton) and consumers (zooplankton). 3. We found that the increases in TB had important effects on timing and abundance of different plankton groups. While increased temperature led to an earlier peak in phytoplankton and zooplankton and a change in the relative timing of different zooplankton groups, increased water colour reduced chlorophyll-a concentrations. 4. Increased TB together benefitted cladocerans and calanoid copepods and led to stronger top-down control of algae by zooplankton. There was no sign of a mismatch between primary producers and grazers as reported from other studies. 5. Our results point towards an earlier onset of plankton spring growth in shallow lakes in future with a stronger top-down control of phytoplankton by zooplankton grazers.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • climate change, lakes, phenology, phytoplankton, spring, temperature, water colour, zooplankton
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-695
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch