Ecological impacts of global warming and water abstraction on lakes and reservoirs due to changes in water level and related changes in salinity

Abstract

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released in September 2014, unprecedented changes in temperature and precipitation patterns have been recorded globally in recent decades and further change is predicted to occur in the near future, mainly as the result of human activity. In particular, projections show that the Mediterranean climate zone will be markedly affected with significant implications for lake water levels and salinity. This may be exacerbated by increased demands for irrigation water. Based on long-term data from seven lakes and reservoirs covering a geographical gradient of 52° of latitudes and a literature review, we discuss how changes in water level and salinity related to climate change and water abstraction affect the ecosystem structure, function, biodiversity and ecological state of lakes and reservoirs. We discuss mitigation measures to counteract the negative effects on ecological status that are likely to result from changes in climate and water abstraction practices. Finally, we highlight research required to improve knowledge of the impacts of anthropogenically induced changes on lake water level and consequent changes in salinity.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by FP7/ENV-2009-1 under grant agreement 244121 (REFRESH Project—http://www.refresh.ucl.ac.uk/), the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 (http://www.mars-project.eu), the Danish projects CIRCE, CRES and CLEAR2 (a Villum Kann Rasmussen Centre of Excellence project), the Middle East Technical University’s METU-BAP programme o (BAP-07-02-2009) supporting research on Lake Eymir, TÜBİTAK-ÇAYDAĞ (Project nos: 105Y332 and 110Y125), the grant IUT21-02 from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research supporting the Lake Võrtsjärv studies and the Brazilian grant MCT/FINEP/CT—HIDRO (Edital 04/2005) supporting research on Lake Cruzeta through the project BEER-RN. Analysis of long-term data in Lake Biviere di Gela was possible thanks to a grant from the University of Palermo (2012-ATE-0148). TB and JC were supported by TÜBİTAK 2211 and 2215 Scholarship Programmes, respectively. FRSF was supported by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq/CT-HIDRO—Edital 040/2006). RFM’s contribution was supported by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (PNPD/CAPES). SB’s contribution was supported by the Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship no. 330249 (CLIMBING). We thank Anne Mette Poulsen for valuable editorial comments and Tinna Christensen for figure layout.

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Jeppesen, E., Brucet, S., Naselli-Flores, L. et al. Ecological impacts of global warming and water abstraction on lakes and reservoirs due to changes in water level and related changes in salinity. Hydrobiologia 750, 201–227 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-014-2169-x

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Keywords

  • Nutrients
  • Macrophytes
  • Fish
  • Plankton
  • Climate change
  • Hydrology
  • Biodiversity
  • Lake community structure