Phytoplankton response to a changing climate in lakes in northern Sweden
Sammanfattning: In a climate change perspective, increased air temperatures are already a reality and are expected to increase even more in the future, especially in areas at high latitudes. The present thesis therefore addresses the influence of climate change on the physical properties and the phytoplankton communities of typical small and oligotrophic lakes in northern Sweden (62-64?N). In the first part of the study, we found a significant trend (10 lakes from 1916 to 2010) of ice break-ups occurring increasingly earlier. The timing of ice break-up was strongly influenced by the April air temperature indicating that expected increases in air temperature in the future will also result in an earlier ice break-up. We also used concentrations of chlorophyll a (chl a) as estimations of phytoplankton biomass and discovered a positive relationship between surface water temperature and concentrations of chl a in Lake Remmaren (from 1991 to 2008). The second part of the thesis focuses on climatic conditions and cyanobacteria abundance in three small, oligotrophic lakes in northern Sweden; Lake Remmaren, Lake S. Bergsjön and Lake Gransjön. The concentration and relative abundance of cyanobacteria differ between 2011 and 2012, with different climatic conditions. The "warm" year of 2011 had higher concentrations and relative abundance of cyanobacteria than the "cold" year of 2012. Trends in increasing surface water temperatures as well as increasing abundance of cyanobacteria in August were found in Lake Remmaren (from 1988 to 2011). The direct or indirect effects of warming had a positive effect on the cyanobacteria abundance, since nutrients (Tot N and Tot P) did not display an increasing trend in Lake Remmaren. An analysis on the composition of phytoplankton species in Lake Remmaren, Lake S. Bergsjön and Lake Gransjön revealed that the cyanobacteria Merismopedia sp. was more common in 2011 than 2012. If different cyanobacteria become more common in oligotrophic lakes in the future, the functioning of lake ecosystems may be impacted. Small zooplankton eats small phytoplankton and if smaller phytoplankton species, e.g. cyanobacteria, increase at the expense of other phytoplankton groups, an extra step in the food chain might be added. Less energy might be transferred to the upper levels because many cyanobacteria contain toxic compounds and are less edible than other phytoplankton groups. An increase of toxic containing cyanobacteria in lakes can also make lakes less attractive for recreational purposes in the future.
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