Short-term effects of winter warming and acidification on phytoplankton growth and mortality: more losers than winners in a temperate coastal lagoon
CIMA researchers Rita Domingues, Helena Galvão and Ana Barbosa, in collaboration with Vanda Brotas from the Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), just published an article focused on the isolated and interactive effects of warming and acidification on phytoplankton growth and mortality in the Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, in a winter situation. This study employed an experimental approach with microcosm experiments and manipulation of temperature and concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), to evaluate the effects on phytoplankton growth rates, production, community structure, and grazing exerted by microzooplankton. Results showed that, overall, growth and grazing decreased with increasing temperature, but these effects were alleviated in some phytoplankton groups by increased CO2. Warming benefited only the smaller-sized phytoplankton, such as cyanobacteria, and acidification was beneficial for diatoms. These results suggest that the winter phytoplankton community from the Ria Formosa is well adapted to ambient conditions, and warming may have, on the short-term, negative effects that can be alleviated by acidification. Climate change-related variables, such as temperature and CO2, are usually approached from an adaptive, long-term context, but they also vary on shorter time scales. Therefore, the study of phytoplankton plastic responses will provide a basic understanding of ecological and physiological mechanisms that may further impact phytoplankton acclimation and adaptation to future environmental change.
The article is published in Hydrobiologia and is available here: