Climate-induced shifts in an experimental phytoplankton community: a mechanistic approach

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Climate change is likely to have far-reaching effects on biotic interactions in aquatic ecosystems. We investigated the effect of different spring warming scenarios on the succession of three algal groups (cyanobacteria, diatoms and green algae) in 10-l microcosms. We fitted these microcosm data to a simple mechanistic model to estimate the effect of different climate warming scenarios on the population dynamics of these algal functional groups. Experimental and model results indicate that the different algal functional groups respond differently to climate warming under phosphorus-limited conditions. Whereas the successional sequence, from diatoms to green algae to cyanobacteria, was not affected by the different climate warming scenarios, cyanobacteria showed a stronger response to the different climate warming scenarios than diatoms or green algae. Both the growth rates and peak abundances of cyanobacteria were significantly higher in the average and warm spring scenarios than in the cold spring scenario. Our findings illustrate that integration of models and microcosm experiments are a useful approach in predicting the impacts of rising temperatures on the dynamics of phytoplankton communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-413
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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