5 years ago

Climate change and Saharan dust drive recent cladoceran and primary production changes in remote alpine lakes of Sierra Nevada, Spain

Adam Jeziorski, John P. Smol, Carmen Pérez-Martínez, Kathleen M. Rühland, Laura Jiménez
Recent anthropogenic climate change and the exponential increase over the past few decades of Saharan dust deposition, containing ecologically important inputs of phosphorus (P) and calcium (Ca), are potentially affecting remote aquatic ecosystems. In this study, we examine changes in cladoceran assemblage composition and chlorophyll-a concentrations over the past ~150 years from high-resolution, well-dated sediment cores retrieved from six remote high mountain lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern Spain, a region affected by Saharan dust deposition. In each lake, marked shifts in cladoceran assemblages and chlorophyll-a concentrations in recent decades indicate a regional-scale response to climate and Saharan dust deposition. Chlorophyll-a concentrations have increased since the 1970s, consistent with a response to rising air temperatures and the intensification of atmospheric deposition of Saharan P. Similar shifts in cladoceran taxa across lakes began over a century ago, but have intensified over the past ~50 years, concurrent with trends in regional air temperature, precipitation, and increased Saharan dust deposition. An abrupt increase in the relative abundance of the benthic cladoceran Alona quadrangularis at the expense of Chydorus sphaericus, and a significant increase in Daphnia pulex gr. was a common trend in these softwater lakes. Differences in the magnitude and timing of these changes are likely due to catchment and lake-specific differences. In contrast with other alpine lakes that are often affected by acid deposition, atmospheric Ca deposition appears to be a significant explanatory factor, amongst others, for the changes in the lake biota of Sierra Nevada that has not been previously considered. The effects observed in Sierra Nevada are likely occurring in other Mediterranean lake districts, especially in soft water, oligotrophic lakes. The predicted increases in global temperature and Saharan dust deposition in the future will further impact the ecological condition of these ecosystems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13878

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