Shifts in phytoplankton species richness and biomass along a latitudinal gradient – consequences for relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Special Issue: Plankton Dynamics in a Fast Changing World
Volume 58, Issue 3, pages 612–623, March 2013
How to Cite
WEYHENMEYER, G. A., PETER, H. and WILLÉN, E. (2013), Shifts in phytoplankton species richness and biomass along a latitudinal gradient – consequences for relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Freshwater Biology, 58: 612–623. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2012.02779.x
- Issue published online: 6 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2012
- (Manuscript accepted 27 February 2012)
- climate change;
- ecosystem functioning;
1. Analysing phytoplankton community data from 205 small, mainly oligotrophic Swedish lakes along a 13° latitudinal gradient, we found that the duration of the open-water season (DT > 0) was best related to phytoplankton species richness and biomass, probably because DT > 0 can be used as a proxy for nutrient concentrations, as well as for light and temperature conditions in lakes.
2. The relationships between DT > 0 and phytoplankton species richness and biomass were not linear but showed significant shifts, that is, richness suddenly doubled at DT > 0 = 170 days and phytoplankton biomass began to strongly increase at DT > 0 around 220 days.
3. The doubling in species richness corresponded to a change in the seasonal plankton succession from one to two peaks per year, and the shift in biomass corresponded to a shift in nutrient concentrations.
4. The geographical differences in richness and biomass shifts resulted in an exponential biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship along a DT > 0 gradient.
5. We conclude that phytoplankton species richness and biomass are driven by different environmental factors, resulting in a nonlinear biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship. The shape of the diversity–functioning relationship varies along with variations in environmental drivers, which is of highest importance for ongoing discussions about impacts of global change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.