Effects of temperature increase and nutrient enrichment on phytoplankton functional groups in a Brazilian semi-arid reservoir

Abstract Aim Our study aimed to evaluate changes in the phytoplankton functional groups brought about by increases in temperature and nutrients predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario for semi-arid regions. Methods Two experiments were performed, one in the rainy season and another in the dry season. The nutrient enrichment was based on the annual mean values (August 2012-August 2013) of soluble reactive phosphorus and nitrate verified in the reservoir. The microcosms were exposed to two different temperatures, the five-year average of air temperature in the reservoir (control) and 4°C above the control temperature (warming). The experiment was conducted over 12 days; every three days water samples of approximately 60 mL in volume were taken from the reservoir for chemical and phytoplankton analysis. All species were classified by Reynolds Functional Groups (RFG). Results The functional groups H1, X1, LO and S1 were the most representative in both seasons (rainy and dry). Our results showed that bloom-forming cyanobacteria, in particular the species of functional groups H1 and M, commonly reported in reservoirs in semi-arid regions of Brazil, were not significantly benefited by the warming and nutrient enrichment. The recruitment of other blue-green species, as well as diatoms and green algae, could be observed. Conclusions The effects of warming and/or nutritional enrichment can change the structure of the phytoplankton community. However, as not expected as the pessimist scenario, in our study the bloom-forming phytoplankton functional groups did not show changes in relative biomass. Instead, the recruitment of diatoms and green algae currently found in enriched environments was verified, specifically in the rainy period, when nutrient dilution typically occurs.

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