Aquatic ecosystems will in the future face simultaneous threats from several environmental drivers such as changes in climate and watercolour (“brownification”). These threats will not be independent, but will act in concert leading to unpredictable, non-intuitive and hitherto unknown synergistic effects on species interactions, ultimately affecting ecosystem functioning of aquatic systems and their usefulness as resources for humans.
The understanding of complex and synergistic effects among environmental threats is the single most important challenge for the future in order to retain the ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems and their potential as natural resources. So far few investigations have studied the interactive effects of such multiple environmental drivers on aquatic systems. Our project is using a combination of field monitoring and large-scale experiments to improve our understanding of how our “future water” will function. In the experimental facility, located close to the Ecology Building, Lund Univeristy, we can adjust e.g. temperature regimes and follow responses among organisms, but also changes in ecosystem services, and can thereby predict future climate induced effects on water quality. Specifically we focus on the development of nuisance cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins at different temperature scenarios. This knowledge can then be used by decision makers and societal planners for safeguarding our water resources in future climate change scenarios. Our large-scale experimental studies are closely interlinked with changes in natural ecosystems in e.g. Lake Ringsjön and Lake Krankesjön, southern Sweden. In Lake Ringsjön we also study how degraded ecosystems can be restored, by e.g. biomanipulation through fish removal, and thereby made useful for provision of drinking water, fishing and recreation