A study recently published in Nature Climate Change examined how lakes would be affected by raising temperatures. The team of researchers from University of Lund (Sweden) state that lake’s biodiversity would account for most of the processes that would take place if climate becomes warmer.
At the Department of Biology at Lund University, scientists have been heavily involved in predicting future outlook for world’s water resources. The study in question reveals that the difference in reaction to climate change will differ between lakes, depending on the dominant organisms living in them.
According to Professor Lars-Anders Hansson, if there is no fish in the lake, algal blooms cannot be expected, however this is definitely not the case with water bodies where fish is abundant and warmer climate would mean increase in population and higher consumption of zooplankton (a.k.a. crustaceans).
Precisely the amount of zooplankton is what prevents the so-called eutrophication (algal bloom) from happening, by controlling the multiplication of the algae. Professor Hansson warns that we have to be prepared for dealing with increasing number of blooms in the future.
In his opinion, it is even more concerning that warmer temperature will create perfect conditions for development of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. The algal blooms formed by cyanobacteria, are often very strong and toxic, hence being the cause for most major problems in lakes and oceans.
Furthermore, it is expected that leaching of rich in humus water from forests and agricultural lands would increase. It is expected that within the next 80 to 100 years, climate change would cause an increase in temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius, however some environmental processes are already changing.
Lars-Anders Hansson emphasizes that the concern should be directed towards the synergies created due to the interaction between changing processes. At the Department of Biology, the team is already setting up experiments to test these impacts on water quality and organisms.