Eutrophication poses a threat to lake ecosystem services provisioning worldwide. When eutrophic lakes are connected to other water systems, either through water flows, or through organismal movement and dispersal, their excess nutrients affect nearby lakes too. Understanding nutrient transport dynamics in lake meta-ecosystems is not trivial, as it encompasses the complexity of ecosystems themselves (i.e., food web dynamics, nutrient cycling) and the transport between ecosystems. Hitherto, it remains unknown how heterogeneity in lake meta-ecosystems affects their ecological resilience. We argue that scientists and water managers would benefit from the use of meta-ecosystem models while unravelling meta-ecosystem complexity. To this end, we converted lake ecosystem model PCLake+ into lake meta-ecosystem model PCLakeS+. We showed that the spatial configuration of a lake meta-ecosystem influences its ecological dynamics, and that nutrient transport depends heavily on food web processes. We conclude that PCLakeS+ is suitable for exploring meta-ecosystem concepts for science and water management.
|Date made available||06 May 2021|