Summer cyanobacterial blooms in the Baltic Sea - implications for copepod recruitment

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University

Sammanfattning: During summer, the Baltic Sea is subjected to the world’s largest cyanobacterial blooms. These blooms are linked to eutrophication and raise many questions concerning their effects on the ecosystem. To understand their impacts on the food web dynamics, it is essential to assess growth responses of grazers to these cyanobacteria. In the northern Baltic proper, copepods are the most important herbivores providing an essential link between the primary producers and higher trophic levels. In this Thesis, Papers I & II evaluate methods to estimate copepod growth in response to feeding conditions in situ. The most conspicuous diazotrophic filamentous cyanobacterium in the Baltic Sea is Nodularia spumigena, a producer of nodularin which is highly toxic to vertebrates, yet its ecological role is largely unknown. In Paper III, reciprocal interactions between cyanobacteria, sympatric algae and copepods are studied. The results suggest that nodularin is likely involved in allelopathic interactions, but it is not an inducible defense against grazers. Furthermore, the results of Papers IV & V, indicate that natural assemblages of N. spumigena and Anabaena spp. may support copepod reproduction and that total diazotrophic filamentous cyanobacteria appear to provide a beneficial feeding environment for the feeding stages of copepod nauplii, most probably by stimulating the microbial communities that nauplii feed upon. Since cyanobacterial blooms are projected to increase due to global climate change, the combined effects of toxic cyanobacteria, ocean acidification and global warming predicted for year 2100 are further investigated on copepods in Paper IV. Taken together, these studies indicate that filamentous diazotrophic cyanobacteria contribute to sustaining secondary productivity and have potential implications of management practices with respect to combating eutrophication, global climate change and sustaining fish feeding conditions.