Oecologia

, Volume 169, Issue 1, pp 245–256 | Cite as

To bloom or not to bloom: contrasting responses of cyanobacteria to recent heat waves explained by critical thresholds of abiotic drivers

  • Veronika Huber
  • Carola Wagner
  • Dieter Gerten
  • Rita Adrian
Global change ecology - Original research paper

Abstract

Past heat waves are considered harbingers of future climate change. In this study, we have evaluated the effects of two recent Central European summer heat waves (2003 and 2006) on cyanobacterial blooms in a eutrophic, shallow lake. While a bloom of cyanobacteria developed in 2006, consistent with our expectations, cyanobacterial biomass surprisingly remained at a record-low during the entire summer of 2003. Critical thresholds of abiotic drivers extracted from the long-term (1993–2007) data set of the studied lake using classification tree analysis (CTA) proved suitable to explain these observations. We found that cyanobacterial blooms were especially favoured in 2006 because thermal stratification was critically intense (Schmidt stability >44 g cm cm−2) and long-lasting (>3 weeks). Our results also suggest that some cyanobacterial species (Anabaena sp.) benefitted directly from the stable water column, whereas other species (Planktothrix sp.) took advantage of stratification-induced internal nutrient loading. In 2003, conditions were less favourable for cyanobacteria due to a spell of lower temperatures and stronger winds in mid-summer; as a result, the identified thresholds of thermal stratification were hardly ever reached. Overall, our study shows that extracting critical thresholds of environmental drivers from long-term records is a promising avenue for predicting ecosystem responses to future climate warming. Specifically, our results emphasize that not average temperature increase but changes in short-term meteorological variability will determine whether cyanobacteria will bloom more often in a warmer world.

Keywords

Climate change Cyanobacteria Heat wave Polymictic lake Thermal stratification 

Supplementary material

442_2011_2186_MOESM1_ESM.doc (687 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 687 kb)

References

  1. Berger C, Sweers HE (1988) The Ijsselmeer and its phytoplankton—with special attention to the suitability of the lake as a habitat for Oscillatoria agardhii Gom. J Plankton Res 10:579–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bormans M, Sherman BS, Webster IT (1999) Is buoyancy regulation in cyanobacteria an adaptation to exploit separation of light and nutrients? Mar Freshw Res 50:897–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Breiman L, Friedman J, Stone CJ, Olshen RA (1993) Classification and regression trees. Chapman and Hall, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  4. Butterwick C, Heaney SI, Talling JF (2005) Diversity in the influence of temperature on the growth rates of freshwater algae, and its ecological relevance. Freshw Biol 50:91–300Google Scholar
  5. Ciais P, Reichstein M, Viovy N, Granier A, Ogeé J, Allard V, Aubinet M, Buchmann N, Bernhofer C, Carrara A et al (2005) Europe-wide reduction in primary productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003. Nature 437:529–533PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Daufresne M, Bady P, Fruget JF (2007) Impacts of global changes and extreme hydroclimatic events on macroinvertebrate community structures in the French Rhone River. Oecologia 151:544–559PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Nobel WT, Matthijs HCP, Von Elert E, Mur LR (1998) Comparison of the light-limited growth of the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria Anabaena and Aphanizomenon. New Phytol 138:579–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Senerpont Domis LN, Mooij WM, Huisman J (2007) Climate-induced shifts in an experimental phytoplankton community: a mechanistic approach. Hydrobiologia 584:403–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De’Ath G, Fabricius KE (2000) Classification and regression trees: a powerful yet simple technique for ecological data analysis. Ecology 81:3178–3192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dokulil MT, Teubner K (2000) Cyanobacterial dominance in lakes. Hydrobiologia 438:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Downing JA, Watson SB, McCauley E (2001) Predicting cyanobacteria dominance in lakes. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 58:1905–1908CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Driescher E, Behrendt H, Schellenberger G, Stellmacher R (1993) Lake Müggelsee and its environment—natural conditions and anthropogenic impacts. Int Rev Gesamten Hydrobiol 78:327–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Elliott JA (2010) The seasonal sensitivity of cyanobacteria and other phytoplankton to changes in flushing rate and water temperature. Glob Change Biol 16:864–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fujimoto N, Sudo R, Sugiura N, Inamori Y (1997) Nutrient-limited growth of Microcystis aeruginosa and Phormidium tenue and competition under various N:P supply ratios and temperatures. Limnol Oceanogr 42:250–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huber V, Adrian R, Gerten D (2008) Phytoplankton response to climate warming modified by trophic state. Limnol Oceanogr 53:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huisman J, Hulot FD (2005) Population dynamics of harmful cyanobacteria. In: Huisman J, Matthijs PM, Visser PM (eds) Harmful cyanobacteria. Springer SBM, Heidelberg, pp 143–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huisman J, Sharples J, Stroom JM, Visser PM, Kardinaal WEA, Verspagen JMH, Sommeijer B (2004) Changes in turbulent mixing shift competition for light between phytoplankton species. Ecology 85:2960–2970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Huisman J, Matthijs PM, Visser PM (eds) (2005) Harmful cyanobacteria. Springer SBM, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  19. Hyenstrand P, Blomquist P, Pettersson A (1998) Factors determining cyanobacterial success in aquatic systems—a literature review. Arch Fuer Hydrobiol Spec Issues Adv Limnol 51:41–62Google Scholar
  20. Ibelings BW, Mur LR, Walsby AE (1991) Diurnal changes in buoyancy and vertical-distribution in populations of Microcystis in two shallow lakes. J Plankton Res 13:419–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jankowski T, Livingstone DM, Buhrer H, Forster R, Niederhauser P (2006) Consequences of the 2003 European heat wave for lake temperature profiles, thermal stability, and hypolimnetic oxygen depletion: implications for a warmer world. Limnol Oceanogr 51:815–819CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jöhnk KD, Huisman J, Sharples J, Sommeijer B, Visser PM, Stroom JM (2008) Summer heatwaves promote blooms of harmful cyanobacteria. Glob Change Biol 14:495–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Köhler J, Hilt S, Adrian R, Nicklisch A, Kozerski HP, Walz N (2005) Long-term response of a shallow, moderately flushed lake to reduced external phosphorus and nitrogen loading. Freshw Biol 50:1639–1650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kozerski HP, Behrendt H, Köhler J (1999) The N and P budget of the shallow, flushed lake Müggelsee: retention, external and internal load. Hydrobiologia 408:159–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Meehl GA, Tebaldi C (2004) More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science 305:994–997PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Paerl HW (1988) Growth and reproductive strategies of freshwater blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria). In: Sandgreen CD (ed) Growth and reproductive strategies of freshwater phytoplankton. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Paerl HW, Huisman J (2008) Blooms like it hot. Science 320:57–58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schär C, Jendritzky G (2004) Climate change: hot news from summer 2003. Nature 432:559–560PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schär C, Vidale P, Luthi D, Frei C, Haberli C, Liniger M, Appenzeller C (2004) The role of increasing temperature variability in European summer heatwaves. Nature 427:332–336PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Scheffer M, Rinaldi S, Gragnani A, Mur LR, van Nes EH (1997) On the dominance of filamentous cyanobacteria in shallow, turbid lakes. Ecology 78:272–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith VH (1983) Low nitrogen to phosphorus ratios favor dominance by blue-green algae in lake phytoplankton. Science 221:669–671PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Smith VH, Schindler DW (2009) Eutrophication science: where do we go from here? Trends Ecol Evol 24:201–207PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Soranno PA (1997) Factors affecting the timing of surface scums and epilimnetic blooms of blue-green algae in a eutrophic lake. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 54:1965–1975Google Scholar
  34. Struzewska J, Kaminski JW (2008) Formation and transport of photooxidants over Europe during the July 2006 heat wave—observations and GEM-AQ model simulations. Atmospheric Chem Phys 8:721–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wagner C, Adrian R (2009) Cyanobacteria dominance: quantifying the effect of climate change. Limnol Oceanogr 54:2460–2468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wilhelm S, Adrian R (2007) Long-term response of Dreissena polymorpha larvae to physical and biological forcing in a shallow lake. Oecologia 151:104–114PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wilhelm S, Adrian R (2008) Impact of summer warming on the thermal characteristics of a polymictic lake and consequences for oxygen, nutrients and phytoplankton. Freshw Biol 53:226–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wilhelm S, Hintze T, Livingstone DM, Adrian R (2006) Long-term response of daily epilimnetic temperature extrema to climate forcing. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 63:2467–2477CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronika Huber
    • 1
    • 4
  • Carola Wagner
    • 2
  • Dieter Gerten
    • 3
  • Rita Adrian
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research WarnemündeRostockGermany
  3. 3.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany

Personalised recommendations