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Ecological effects of multiple stressors on a deep lake (Lago Maggiore, Italy) integrating neo and palaeolimnological approaches

Piero Guilizzoni, Suzanne N. Levine, Marina Manca, Aldo Marchetto, Andrea Lami, Walter Ambrosetti, Achim Brauer, Stefano Gerli, Elisabetta A. Carrara, Angelo Rolla, Licia Guzzella, Davide A.L. Vignati
  • Piero Guilizzoni
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy | p.guilizzoni@ise.cnr.it
  • Suzanne N. Levine
    Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Aiken Center University of Vermont, Burlington, United States
  • Marina Manca
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy
  • Aldo Marchetto
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy
  • Andrea Lami
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy
  • Walter Ambrosetti
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy
  • Achim Brauer
    GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 5.2 Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, Germany
  • Stefano Gerli
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy
  • Elisabetta A. Carrara
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy; Water Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia, Italy
  • Angelo Rolla
    National Research Council, Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE), Italy
  • Licia Guzzella
    National Research Council, The Water Research Institute (CNR-IRSA), UOS Brugherio, Italy
  • Davide A.L. Vignati
    National Research Council, The Water Research Institute (CNR-IRSA), UOS Brugherio, Italy

Abstract

To understand interactions of lake physical characteristics, trophic dynamics and climate in Lago Maggiore, we compare longterm limnological and meteorological monitoring data and results from sediment cores. We include analyses of nutrients, pigments, diatoms and cladoceran microfossils. Over the past decades, caloric content increased. Eutrophication from the 1960s to early 1980s was followed by oligotrophication. DDTs, PCBs and Hg showed high contamination in the ‘60s, compared to point source inputs in the ‘90s. Algal biomass was predicted by total pigments and some algal specific carotenoids. Following nutrient enrichment, Chydorus sphaericus, and total abundance of cladocerans changed inversely with trophic status. Fewer large Daphnia since the late ‘80s matched an increase in with subfossil Eubosmina mucro lengths. Both were explained by the 10-fold increase in Bythotrephes longimanus from 1987 to 1993, when an increase of its mean annual population density occurred during warmer winter and springs. Bythotrephes remained abundant and further increased during the following 10 years as water temperature increased. We conclude that warmer water affects food chains indirectly by changing habitat use and predator-prey interactions. Relative abundances of Daphnia and its peak population density in the warm year of the oligotrophic period (2003) were close to the record from the mesotrophic period in 1982, supporting the hypothesis that warming can produce a eutrophication-like signal. The study illustrates the complexity of biological responses to synchronous changes in multiple drivers (e.g., eutrophication, fish introduction, ban of fish harvesting, chemical pollution, and climate) and, despite this complexity, how Lago Maggiore responded to multiple stressors.

Keywords

human impact, climate change, palaeolimnology, time series.

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Submitted: 2011-11-23 09:00:17
Published: 2012-01-19 00:00:00
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Copyright (c) 2012 Piero Guilizzoni, Suzanne N. Levine, Marina Manca, Aldo Marchetto, Andrea Lami, Walter Ambrosetti, Achim Brauer, Stefano Gerli, Elisabetta A. Carrara, Angelo Rolla, Licia Guzzella, Davide A.L. Vignati

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