Separating effects of climatic drivers and biotic feedbacks on seasonal plankton dynamics: no sign of trophic mismatch
2014 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 59, no 10, 2204-2220 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Climate change may impact most strongly on temperate lake plankton communities in spring, when light availability and water temperature change rapidly due to thermal stratification. Effects of changing light and temperature on one food-web component transfer to other components, producing a complex interplay between physical drivers and biotic feedbacks. Understanding this interplay is important, because altered climate regimes could result in phenological mismatch between the phytoplankton spring bloom and the timing of maximum food requirements of grazers. To separate direct effects of light and temperature on spring plankton dynamics from effects mediated through micro- and mesograzer feedbacks, we manipulated water temperature, stratification depth and presence/absence of the mesograzer Daphnia in lake mesocosms. In early spring, stratification depth and water temperature directly influenced the light supply to phytoplankton and the growth rates of all plankton groups. Subsequently, indirect effects, including light-dependent food supply to grazers and temperature-dependent grazing pressure, became increasingly important. Phytoplankton and Daphnia peaked earlier in warmer treatments and reached higher peaks when stratification depth was shallower. Ciliates responded positively to increased food density and higher temperature and subsequently affected the taxonomic composition, but not the total biomass, of phytoplankton. In the absence of Daphnia, phytoplankton did not enter a distinct clear water phase. When present, Daphnia caused an extended clear water phase, maintaining phytoplankton and ciliates at low levels throughout early summer and suppressing all direct effects of physical drivers on these plankton groups. Our Daphnia treatments mimicked the high and low fish predation settings of the largely descriptive, recently revised Plankton Ecology Group (PEG) model of seasonal plankton succession and explored their responses to climate change scenarios. The results largely support the PEG model, but attribute greater importance to early season temperature effects and later season grazing effects of Daphnia. In warmer treatments, the timing of phytoplankton and zooplankton peaks tended to be more closely coupled, and temperature did not affect the height of zooplankton peaks. In line with other experiments, these results do not support the widely held concern that warming may create a trophic mismatch between phytoplankton and zooplankton and reduce spring zooplankton production.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 59, no 10, 2204-2220 p.
mesocosm experiment, plankton succession, stratification depth, trophic mismatch, water mperature
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-95863DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12424ISI: 000342758300016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-95863DiVA: diva2:782470