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An ecological and methodological assessment of benthic gross primary production in northern lakes
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5102-4289
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2858-6299
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
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2022 (English)In: Ecosphere, ISSN 2150-8925, E-ISSN 2150-8925, Vol. 13, no 3, article id e3973Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Benthic gross primary production (GPP) is often the most important part of aquatic food webs in northern lakes, which are gradually warming and receiving increased terrestrial colored dissolved organic carbon loadings due to global change. Yet, measurements of benthic GPP are fairly uncommon, and methods and unit dimensions of benthic GPP are unstandardized and rarely compared. In this study, we measured benthic GPP in 27 headwater lakes from three regions in northern Sweden and analyzed potential constraining drivers of benthic GPPz rates at discrete depths and estimates of benthic GPP averages across the whole lake, as well as across the littoral zone. We also compared in situ measurements of benthic GPP averages across the whole lake with modeled values using the “autotrophic structuring model.” We found that benthic GPPz rates were best explained by, and positively related to, available light (i.e., a function of depth and water color) and temperature. Benthic GPP averages across the whole lake, on the contrary, were best explained by the relative size of the littoral area, which is a measure that combines lake bathymetry and water color. The comparison between in situ measured and modeled estimates of benthic GPP averages across the whole lake revealed that (1) the autotrophic structuring model underestimates GPP at low values and overestimates GPP at high values compared with measured data, and that (2) measured values were related to temperature, which is not included as a variable in the autotrophic structuring model. Considering future predicted changes impacting northern latitude lakes, our results suggest that increased lake water temperatures can to some extent mitigate the negative impacts of reduced light availability from lake browning on benthic GPPz rates. The combined impact of these changes on benthic GPP averages across the whole lake will depend on, and be moderated by, lake bathymetry determining the relative size of the littoral area.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2022. Vol. 13, no 3, article id e3973
Keywords [en]
dissolved organic carbon, freshwater, gross primary production, littoral, soft sediments, upscaling
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-193804DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.3973ISI: 000776290300038Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85127526261OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-193804DiVA, id: diva2:1656539
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationEcosystem dynamics in the Baltic Sea in a changing climate perspective - ECOCHANGESwedish Research Council FormasAvailable from: 2022-05-06 Created: 2022-05-06 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Impacts of global change on primary production in northern lakes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Impacts of global change on primary production in northern lakes
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Globala förändringars påverkan på primärproduktionen i nordliga sjöar
Abstract [en]

Algae are primary producers, a major component of the aquatic foodweb, and changes in primary production affect aquatic ecology in general. Global changes such as warming, recovery of acidification and changes in land-use have caused warming and browning of northern lakes. Warming is a direct effect of increasing air temperatures, whereas browning is mainly caused by increasing amounts of terrestrially derived colored dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Altogether, such global changes impact important environmental drivers for aquatic gross primary production (GPP). Increased temperatures and nutrient supplementation by DOC at low concentrations enhance GPP, but the browning by DOC at high concentrations inhibits GPP by light reduction, resulting in contrasting controls of global changes on primary production in northern lakes. Primary producers grow in two distinct habitats; free-floating algae (phytoplankton) and stationary periphytic (attached) algae that are restricted to use the light that reaches them. Periphyton includes algae growing on submerged surfaces ranging from nutrient-poor rocks to nutrient-rich sediments (here: benthic algae), and both often exceed pelagic GPP but are overlooked and often simply excluded from algal biomass estimates.

In this thesis, I investigate how global change influences key environmental drivers of GPP, and how those changes impact GPP in the benthic and pelagic habitat, and the sum and partitioning of GPP between these habitats (the autrotrophic structuring). I do this by interpreting a dataset with GPP measurements in several lakes over the Swedish Arctic, subarctic and boreal landscape that representa wide range of DOC concentrations. I also assess to what extent temperature and DOC impact periphytic algae growth on plastic strips in an experimental study where DOC and temperature are manipulated in 20 ponds. Besides assessing the direct impacts of changes in nutrients and light climate associated with changes in DOC, I assess indirect impacts of global changes on primary production, e.g., through intensified warming, CO2 supersaturation, changes in pH, and the role of landscape processes and properties.

Results confirm that DOC is dominant in structuring GPP in northern lakes by light inhibition, nutrient supplementation, indirect warming of surface waters, and additionally by CO2 fertilization. In addition, warming can enhance growth rates, but thermal compensation can also lead to reduced algae growth. Moreover, periphytic GPP of algae growing on both soft nutrient-rich sediments and nutrient-poor plastic strips GPP was generally much higher than pelagic GPP, and should thus not be excluded in studies assessing global change impacts on GPP. DOC affects the total GPP, as well as the autotrophic structuring in northern lakes, and likely also higher trophic levels productivity and community composition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2022. p. 30
Keywords
Primary production, global change, warming, browning, lake, carbon dioxide, organic carbon, inorganic carbon, boreal, arctic, DOC, DIC, CO2, allochthonous organic carbon, benthic, periphyton
National Category
Physical Geography Ecology
Research subject
environmental change; environmental science; biology; climate change
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-194523 (URN)978-91-7855-813-1 (ISBN)978-91-7855-812-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-06-03, S205, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 2016.0083
Available from: 2022-05-13 Created: 2022-05-09 Last updated: 2022-05-24Bibliographically approved

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Puts, IsoldeBergström, Ann-KristinVerheijen, HendricusNorman, SvenAsk, Jenny

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