Global change effects on plankton community structure and trophic interactions in a Patagonian freshwater eutrophic system

Abstract

The short- and mid-term effects of a simulated global change scenario (i.e., Future) of increased nutrients, acidification, and solar radiation, in the presence or absence of grazers, were evaluated on a freshwater plankton community of Patagonia, Argentina. We used a cluster experimental design with microcosms incubated outdoors simulating the in situ (i.e., Present) and the Future conditions. Short-term changes in net productivity and respiration, together with mid-term changes in the community (abundance, biomass, and phytoplankton cell size) were measured. Phytoplankton had lower net productivity and higher respiration and zooplankton had, in general, higher respiration under the Future than that under the Present condition when organisms were exposed to UVR. The mid-term impacts of the Future condition were neither significant on zooplankton abundances, nor in phytoplankton abundances, biomass, and cell size. Nevertheless, the zooplankton–phytoplankton interaction strength was greater under the Future condition. Zooplankton exerted a strong top-down pressure, regardless of the experimental scenarios, grazing preferentially on small phytoplankton cells, thus decreasing their abundances and biomass. Overall, there were significant short-term impact of our Future global change scenario; however, its effects on mid-term time scales were not significant, and indeed, the zooplankton top-down pressure was the main driver that shaped the phytoplankton community.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica—ANPCyT (PICT 2012-0271 and PICT 2013-0208), and the Fundación Playa Unión. MJC was supported by the Ministerio de Educación, the Cultura y Deporte of Spain (‘Formación de Profesorado Universitario’ PhD fellowship—FPU12/01 243, and the short-term placement fellowship—EST13/0666), and the Campus de Excelencia Internacional, the Universidad de Granada (CeiBiotic-UGR, call 2015). The authors appreciate the comments of two anonymous reviewers, which helped us to improve the manuscript. The authors thank the Cooperativa Eléctrica y de Servicios de Rawson for providing the building’s infrastructure to carry out these experiments. This is Contribution N° 167 of Estación de Fotobiología Playa Unión.

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Correspondence to Macarena S. Valiñas.

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Guest editors: Beatriz E. Modenutti & Esteban G. Balseiro / Andean Patagonian Lakes as Sensor of Global Change

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Valiñas, M.S., Villafañe, V.E., Cabrerizo, M.J. et al. Global change effects on plankton community structure and trophic interactions in a Patagonian freshwater eutrophic system. Hydrobiologia 816, 61–77 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-017-3272-6

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Keywords

  • Acidification
  • Nutrients
  • Phytoplankton
  • Solar radiation
  • Zooplankton