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Martin Søndergaard

Effects of nutrient and water level changes on the composition and size structure of zooplankton communities in shallow lakes under different climatic conditions: a pan-European mesocosm experiment

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  • Ulku Nihan Tavsanoglu, Middle East Technical University
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  • Michal Sorf, Czech Academy of Sciences
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  • Konstantinos Stefanidis, Univ Patras, University of Patras, Dept Biol
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  • Sandra Brucet Balmana
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  • Semra Turkan, Hacettepe University
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  • Helen Agasild, Estonian University of Life Sciences
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  • Didier L. Baho, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Ulrike Scharfenberger, Leibniz Institut fur Gewasserokologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
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  • Josef Hejzlar, Czech Academy of Sciences
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  • Eva Papastergiadou, Univ Patras, University of Patras, Dept Biol
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  • Rita Adrian, Leibniz Institut fur Gewasserokologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
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  • David G Angeler, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Priit Zingel, Estonian University of Life Sciences
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  • Ayse Idil Cakiroglu, Middle East Technical University
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  • Arda Ozen, Cankiri Karatekin Univ, Cankiri Karatekin University, Dept Forest Engn
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  • Stina Drakare, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
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  • Martin Sondergaard
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Meryem Beklioglu, Middle East Technical University

Lentic ecosystems act as sentinels of climate change, and evidence exists that their sensitivity to warming varies along a latitudinal gradient. We assessed the effects of nutrient and water level variability on zooplankton community composition, taxonomic diversity and size structure in different climate zones by running a standardised controlled 6-months (May to November) experiment in six countries along a European north-south latitudinal temperature gradient. The mesocosms were established with two different depths and nutrient levels. We took monthly zooplankton samples during the study period and pooled a subsample from each sampling to obtain one composite sample per mesocosm. We found a significant effect of temperature on the community composition and size structure of the zooplankton, whereas no effects of water depth or nutrient availability could be traced. The normalised size spectrum became flatter with increasing temperature reflecting higher zooplankton size diversity due to higher abundance of calanoid copepods, but did not differ among depths or nutrient levels. Large-bodied cladocerans such as Daphnia decreased with temperature. Taxonomic diversity was positively related to size diversity, but neither of the two diversity measures demonstrated a clear pattern along the temperature gradient nor with nutrient and water levels. However, genus richness decreased at the warm side of the temperature gradient. Our experiment generally supports recent empirically based findings that a continuing temperature increase may result in lower genus richness and lower abundance of large-sized zooplankton grazers, the latter likely resulting in reduced control of phytoplankton.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Ecology
Volume51
Issue2
Pages (from-to)257-273
Number of pages17
ISSN1386-2588
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

    Research areas

  • Climate change, Water level change, Zooplankton, Size structure, Mesocosms, MOSQUITOFISH GAMBUSIA-AFFINIS, MEDITERRANEAN SALT MARSHES, CONTRASTING TEMPERATURES, WORKSHOP CONCLUSIONS, BODY-SIZE, DIVERSITY, PLANKTON, FISH, IMPACTS, ECOSYSTEMS

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