Monitoring and understanding impacts of environmental change on alpine and peri-alpine freshwater ecosystems
Presenta: Andreas Bruder
Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)
Freshwater ecosystems of the Southern Alps are simultaneously affected by eutrophication, acidification and climate change with strong impacts on their biota and functioning. SUPSIs limnology/hydrogeology group is addressing these issues in research and monitoring programmes encompassing a range of ecosystem types and organism groups. The principal goal of this seminar is to provide an overview of our main research activities focusing on: i) the consequences of environmental change on the ecology and key ecosystem processes of Lago Lugano. Since the 1980s, the lake has been subjected to a restoration program focusing on reductions in external phosphorus loading to reduce its trophic state. While the restoration program has been successful, our long-term data shows that the consequences on key parameters of the planktonic community are difficult to predict; ii) the impacts of atmospheric pollutants on the high-alpine catchment of Lago Nero (central Alps). This lake is affected by high inputs of atmospheric pollutants, which have potentially acidifying and eutrophying effects on the ecosystem. Furthermore, based on its thermal characteristics, the lake may be particularly sensitive to increases in temperature as a consequence of climate change; and iii) on the consequences of anthropogenic impacts on stream ecosystems based on novel molecular tools for aquatic fungi (hyphomycetes). This group of higher fungi plays pivotal roles in the functioning of food-webs in forested streams through their role in litter decomposition.
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