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Erik Jeppesen

Temperature effects on periphyton, epiphyton and epipelon under a nitrogen pulse in low-nutrient experimental freshwater lakes

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The ongoing global climate change involves not only increased temperatures but may also produce more frequent extreme events, such as severe rainfall that could trigger a pulse of nutrients to lakes. In shallow lakes, this may affect primary producers through a number of direct and indirect mechanisms. We conducted a six-month mesocosm experiment to elucidate how periphyton (on inert substrata), epiphyton and epipelon biomass responded to a nitrogen (N) pulse, an approximately tenfold enrichment of the NO3-pool, under three contrasting warming scenarios: ambient temperature and ca. +3°C and ca. +4.5°C elevated temperatures (hereafter T1, T2 and T3). After the N pulse, we found a higher periphyton biomass at elevated than at ambient temperatures but no change in epiphyton biomass. Epipelon biomass was lower in T3 than in T1. Both periphyton and epiphyton biomasses correlated negatively with snail biomass, while epiphyton biomass correlated positively with light. Different responses to higher temperatures under short-term extreme nutrient loading conditions may be attributed to differences in the access to nutrient sources and light. Our data suggest that the biomass of periphyton in oligotrophic clear-water lakes will increase significantly under conditions exhibiting short-term extreme nutrient loading in a warmer climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-279
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Climate, Extreme event, Heated, Loading, Nutrient pulse

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