The interaction between climate warming and eutrophication to promote cyanobacteria is dependent on trophic state and varies among taxa

Anna Rigosi, Cayelan C. Carey, Bas W. Ibelings and Justin D. Brookes

Limnol. Oceanogr., 59(1), 2014, 99-114 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2014.59.01.0099

ABSTRACT: Cyanobacteria are predicted to increase due to climate and land use change. However, the relative importance and interaction of warming temperatures and increased nutrient availability in determining cyanobacterial blooms are unknown. We investigated the contribution of these two factors in promoting phytoplankton and cyanobacterial biovolume in freshwater lakes. Specifically, we asked: (1) Which of these two drivers, temperature or nutrients, is a better predictor of cyanobacterial biovolume? (2) Do nutrients and temperature significantly interact to affect phytoplankton and cyanobacteria, and if so, is the interaction synergistic? and (3) Does the interaction between these factors explain more of the variance in cyanobacterial biovolume than each factor alone? We analyzed data from > 1000 U.S. lakes and demonstrate that in most cases, the interaction of temperature and nutrients was not synergistic; rather, nutrients predominantly controlled cyanobacterial biovolume. Interestingly, the relative importance of these two factors and their interaction was dependent on lake trophic state and cyanobacterial taxon. Nutrients played a larger role in oligotrophic lakes, while temperature was more important in mesotrophic lakes: Only eutrophic and hyper-eutrophic lakes exhibited a significant interaction between nutrients and temperature. Likewise, some taxa, such as Anabaena, were more sensitive to nutrients, while others, such as Microcystis, were more sensitive to temperature. We compared our results with an extensive literature review and found that they were generally supported by previous studies. As lakes become more eutrophic, cyanobacteria will be more sensitive to the interaction of nutrients and temperature, but ultimately nutrients are the more important predictor of cyanobacterial biovolume.

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