Navigation Links
Study links ecosystem changes in temperate lakes to climate warming
Date:12/16/2008

Unparalleled warming over the last few decades has triggered widespread ecosystem changes in many temperate North American and Western European lakes, say researchers at Queen's University and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

The team reports that striking changes are now occurring in many temperate lakes similar to those previously observed in the rapidly warming Arctic, although typically many decades later. The Arctic has long been considered a "bellwether" of what will eventually happen with warmer conditions farther south.

"Our findings suggest that ecologically important changes are already under way in temperate lakes," says Queen's Biology research scientist, Dr. Kathleen Ruhland, from the university's Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL) and lead author of the study.

The research was recently published in the international journal Global Change Biology. Also on the team are Biology professor John Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, and Andrew Paterson, a research scientist at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and an adjunct professor at Queen's.

One of the biggest challenges with environmental studies is the lack of long-term monitoring data, Dr. Ruhland notes. "We have almost no data on how lakes have responded to climate change over the last few decades, and certainly no data on longer term time scales," she says. "However, lake sediments archive an important record of past ecosystem changes by the fossils preserved in mud profiles."

The scientists studied changes over the last few decades in the species composition of small, microscopic algae preserved in sediments from more than 200 lake systems in the northern hemisphere. These algae dominate the plankton that float at or near the surface of lakes, and serve as food for other larger organisms.

Striking ecosystem changes were recorded from a large suite of lakes from Arctic, alpine and temperate ecozones in North America and western Europe. Aquatic ecosystem changes across the circumpolar Arctic were found to occur in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. These were similar to shifts in algal communities, indicating decreased ice cover and related changes, over the last few decades in the temperate lakes.

"As expected, these changes occurred earlier by about 100 years in highly sensitive Arctic lakes, compared with temperate regions," says Dr. Smol, recipient of the 2004 Herzberg Gold Medal as Canada's top scientist.

In a detailed study from Whitefish Bay, Lake of the Woods, located in northwestern Ontario, strong relationships were found between changes in the lake algae and long-term changes in air temperature and ice-out records. The authors believe that, although the study was focused on algae preserved in lake sediments, changes to other parts of the aquatic ecosystem are also likely (for example algal blooms and deep-water oxygen levels).

"The widespread occurrence of these trends is particularly troubling as they suggest that climatically-induced ecological thresholds have already been crossed, even with temperature increases that are below projected future warming scenarios for these regions," adds Dr. Paterson. The authors warn that if the rate and magnitude of temperature increases continue, it is likely that new ecological thresholds will be surpassed, many of which may be unexpected.

"We are entering unchartered territory, the effects of which can cascade throughout the entire ecosystem," concludes Dr. Smol.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nancy Dorrance
nancy.dorrance@queensu.ca
Queen's University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study of placenta unexpectedly leads to cancer gene
2. New study pardons the misunderstood egg
3. Ocean fish farming harms wild fish, study says
4. Proactive care saves lives of seniors, study finds
5. Orangutans spontaneous whistling opens new chapter in study of evolution of speech
6. First-ever socioeconomic study on coral reefs points to challenges of coastal resource management
7. Study reveals effects of unconscious exposure to advertisements
8. Rice University study finds possible clues to epilepsy, autism
9. Researchers study virus with unusual properties
10. Nanotechnology culture war possible, says Yale study
11. Gene therapy corrects sickle cell disease in laboratory study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study links ecosystem changes in temperate lakes to climate warming
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 19, 2017 Sensory Inc ... and security for consumer electronics, and i ... systems and cybersecurity solutions, today announced a global ... financial institutions worldwide to bolster security of data ... secure user authentication platforms they offer, innerCore now ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 MedNet Solutions , an ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is proud to ... for the organization in terms of corporate growth, ... products and services. The company,s exceptional achievements can ... iMedNet ™ – ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... , Jan. 12, 2017  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... (ctDNA) technologies, today announced that it has signed agreements ... and the Middle East ... milestone marks the first wave of international distribution agreements ... and blood samples. The initial partners will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Type, Application - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022" ... ... is projected to reach $15,737 million by 2022 from $6,521 in ... Omic technologies segment accounted for more than half ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... and HOUSTON , Jan. 19, ... today announced the formation of its Medical/Clinical Advisory ... and industry veterans who enhance the range and ... accelerates development of its novel prenatal diagnostic tests.  ... clinical and strategic guidance for the company,s product ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... DUBLIN , Jan 19, 2017 Research and ... has announced the addition ... - Material, Application - Forecast to 2025" report to ... The report provides a detailed analysis on current ... Market forecasts till 2025, using estimated market values as the base numbers ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... product vigilance software to leading biopharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and regulators, is ... fully 21 CFR Part 11-compliant email client designed to provide product vigilance departments ...
Breaking Biology Technology: