Environmental Impacts—Lake Ecosystems

Author(s): Adrian, R., D.O. Hessen, T. Blenckner, H. Hillebrand, S. Hilt, E. Jeppesen, D.M. Livingstone, D. Trolle.
In: M. Quante, F. Colijn (Eds.), North Sea Region Climate Change Assessment. Springer International Publishing, pp. 315 – 340.
Year: 2016
Type: Book chapter
Theme affiliation: Marine
Link to centre authors: Blenckner, Thorsten
Full reference: Adrian, R., D.O. Hessen, T. Blenckner, H. Hillebrand, S. Hilt, E. Jeppesen, D.M. Livingstone, D. Trolle. 2016. Environmental impacts - Lake ecosystems. In M. Quante, F. Colijn (Eds.), North Sea Region Climate Change Assessment. Springer International Publishing, pp. 315 – 340.

Summary

The North Sea region contains a vast number of lakes; from shallow, highly eutrophic water bodies in agricultural areas to deep, oligotrophic systems in pristine high-latitude or high-altitude areas. These freshwaters and the biota they contain are highly vulnerable to climate change. As largely closed systems, lakes are ideally suited to studying climate-induced effects via changes in ice cover, hydrology and temperature, as well as via biological communities (phenology, species and size distribution, food-web dynamics, life-history traits, growth and respiration, nutrient dynamics and ecosystem metabolism). This chapter focuses on change in natural lakes and on parameters for which their climate-driven responses have major impacts on ecosystem properties such as productivity, community composition, metabolism and biodiversity. It also points to the importance of addressing different temporal scales and variability in driving and response variables along with threshold-driven responses to environmental forces. Exceedance of critical thresholds may result in abrupt changes in particular elements of an ecosystem. Modelling climate-driven physical responses like ice-cover duration, stratification periods and thermal profiles in lakes have shown major advances, and the chapter provide recent achievements in this field for northern lakes. Finally, there is a tentative summary of the level of certainty for key climatic impacts on freshwater ecosystems. Wherever possible, data and examples are drawn from the North Sea region.

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