Browsing by Subject "Environmental change"

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  • Kalliokoski, Tuomo; Makela, Annikki; Fronzek, Stefan; Minunno, Francesco; Peltoniemi, Mikko (2018)
    We are bound to large uncertainties when considering impacts of climate change on forest productivity. Studies formally acknowledging and determining the relative importance of different sources of this uncertainty are still scarce, although the choice of the climate scenario, and e.g. the assumption of the CO2 effects on tree water use can easily result in contradicting conclusions of future forest productivity. In a large scale, forest productivity is primarily driven by two large fluxes, gross primary production (GPP), which is the source for all carbon in forest ecosystems, and heterotrophic respiration. Here we show how uncertainty of GPP projections of Finnish boreal forests divides between input, mechanistic and parametric uncertainty. We used the simple semi-empirical stand GPP and water balance model PRELES with an ensemble of downscaled global circulation model (GCM) projections for the 21st century under different emissions and forcing scenarios (both RCP and SRES). We also evaluated the sensitivity of assumptions of the relationships between atmospheric CO2 concentration (C-a), photosynthesis and water use of trees. Even mean changes in climate projections of different meteorological variables for Finland were so high that it is likely that the primary productivity of forests will increase by the end of the century. The scale of productivity change largely depends on the long-term C-a fertilization effect on GPP and transpiration. However, GCM variability was the major source of uncertainty until 2060, after which emission scenario/pathway became the dominant factor. Large uncertainties with a wide range of projections can make it more difficult to draw ecologically meaningful conclusions especially on the local to regional scales, yet a thorough assessment of uncertainties is important for drawing robust conclusions.
  • Lehtonen, Topi K.; Wong, Bob B. M.; Kvarnemo, Charlotta (2016)
    Background: Parental allocation and reproductive success are often strongly influenced by environmental factors. In this respect, salinity is a key factor influencing species distributions and community structure in aquatic animals. Nevertheless, the effects of salinity on reproductive behaviours are not well known. Here, we used the sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus), a small fish inhabiting a range of different salinities, to experimentally assess the effects of changes in salinity on nesting behaviour, a key component of reproduction in sand gobies and many other taxa. Results: We found that salinity levels influenced some aspects of male nesting behaviour (i.e. nest entrance size) but not others (i.e. latency to build a nest, choice of nest site, sand on top of nest) and that small and large individuals were differently affected. In particular, the importance of body size in adjustment of nest entrance depended on the salinity level. Conclusion: The results support the prediction that geographically widespread aquatic species, such as sand gobies, are able to perform well under a range of salinity levels. The phenotype by environment interaction found between male size and behavioural responses to salinity can, in turn, help to explain the notable variation observed in nest-building (and other) behaviours closely linked to reproduction.
  • Taipale, S. J.; Vuorio, K.; Strandberg, U.; Kahilainen, K. K.; Jarvinen, M.; Hiltunen, M.; Peltomaa, E.; Kankaala, P. (2016)
    Fish are an important source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for birds, mammals and humans. In aquatic food webs, these highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) are essential for many physiological processes and mainly synthetized by distinct phytoplankton taxa. Consumers at different trophic levels obtain essential fatty acids from their diet because they cannot produce these sufficiently de novo. Here, we evaluated how the increase in phosphorus concentration (eutrophication) or terrestrial organic matter inputs (brownification) change EPA and DHA content in the phytoplankton. Then, we evaluated whether these changes can be seen in the EPA and DHA content of piscivorous European perch (Perca fluviatilis), which is a widely distributed species and commonly consumed by humans. Data from 713 lakes showed statistically significant differences in the abundance of EPA- and DHA-synthesizing phytoplankton as well as in the concentrations and content of these essential fatty acids among oligo-mesotrophic, eutrophic and dystrophic lakes. The EPA and DHA content of phytoplankton biomass (mg HUFA g(-1)) was significantly lower in the eutrophic lakes than in the oligo-mesotrophic or dystrophic lakes. We found a strong significant correlation between the DHA content in the muscle of piscivorous perch and phytoplankton DHA content (r = 0.85) as well with the contribution of DHA-synthesizing phytoplankton taxa (r = 0.83). Among all DHA-synthesizing phytoplankton this correlation was the strongest with the dinoflagellates (r = 0.74) and chrysophytes (r = 0.70). Accordingly, the EPA + DHA content of perch muscle decreased with increasing total phosphorus (r(2) = 0.80) and dissolved organic carbon concentration (r(2) = 0.83) in the lakes. Our results suggest that although eutrophication generally increase biomass production across different trophic levels, the high proportion of low-quality primary producers reduce EPA and DHA content in the food web up to predatory fish. Ultimately, it seems that lake eutrophication and brownification decrease the nutritional quality of fish for human consumers. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Kivilä, Elissa Henriikka; Luoto, Tomi P.; Rantala, Marttiina V.; Nevalainen, Liisa (2020)
    High latitude freshwater systems are facing changes in catchment-mediated allochthonous input, as well as physical and chemical controls triggered by on-going climate change, which may alter their carbon processing and ecological characteristics. To explore changes in chironomid functional responses and carbon utilization in relation to longterm environmental change, we studied a sediment core covering ca. 2000 years from a tundra lake in northern Finland, which was analysed for sediment geochemistry, isotopic composition of chironomid remains and their functional assemblages. We aimed to relate changes in chironomid functional feeding assemblages and resource utilization, based on Bayesian stable isotope modelling, and determined that the long-term resource utilization was more controlled by sediment geochemistry (resource availability) and climatic variables, reflecting changes in habitat and lake ontogeny, rather than the functional feeding assemblage composition. Change horizons were observed for both sediment geochemistry and functional assemblage composition. However, different timing of these changes suggests different drivers affecting the dynamics of primary production and chironomid community functionality. We also compared the recent warming period to Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), observing divergent patterns, which suggests that MCA may not be a good analogue for changes induced by on-going climate warming.
  • Saarinen, Anne; Candolin, Ulrika (2020)
    Anthropogenic eutrophication is altering aquatic environments by promoting primary production. This influences the population dynamics of consumers through bottom-up effects, but the underlying mechanisms and pathways are not always clear. To evaluate and mitigate effects of eutrophication on ecological communities, more research is needed on the underlying factors. Here we show that anthropogenic eutrophication increases population fecundity in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) by increasing the number of times females reproduce-lifetime fecundity-rather than instantaneous fecundity. When we exposed females to nutrient-enriched waters with enhanced algal growth, their interspawning interval shortened but the size of their egg clutches, or the size of their eggs, did not change. The shortening of the interspawning interval was probably caused by higher food intake, as algae growth promotes the growth of preferred prey populations. Enhanced female lifetime fecundity could increase offspring production and, hence, influence population dynamics. In support of this, earlier studies show that more offspring are emerging in habitats with denser algae growth. Thus, our results stress the importance of considering lifetime fecundity, in addition to instantaneous fecundity, when investigating the impact of human-induced eutrophication on population processes. At a broader level, our results highlight the importance of following individuals over longer time spans when evaluating the pathways and processes through which environmental changes influence individual fitness and population processes.
  • Lehikoinen, Aleksi; Linden, Andreas; Karlsson, Mans; Andersson, Arne; Crewe, Tara L.; Dunn, Erica H.; Gregory, George; Karlsson, Lennart; Kristiansen, Vidar; Mackenzie, Stuart; Newman, Steve; Roer, Jan Erik; Sharpe, Chris; Sokolov, Leonid V.; Steinholtz, Asa; Stervander, Martin; Tirri, Ina-Sabrina; Tjornlov, Rune Skjold (2019)
    Climate change has been shown to shift the seasonal timing (i.e. phenology) and distribution of species. The phenological effects of climate change on living organisms have often been tested using first occurrence dates, which may be uninformative and biased. More rarely investigated is how different phases of a phenological sequence (e.g. beginning, central tendency and end) or its duration have changed over time. This type of analysis requires continuous observation throughout the phenological event over multiple years, and such data sets are rare. In this study we examined the impact of temperature on long-term change of passage timing and duration of the spring migration period in birds, and which species' traits explain species-specific variation. Data used covered 195 species from 21 European and Canadian bird observatories from which systematic daily sampling protocols were available. Migration dates were negatively associated with early spring temperature and timings had in general advanced in 57 years. Short-distance migrants advanced the beginning of their migration more than long-distance migrants when corrected for phylogenic relatedness, but such a difference was not found in other phases of migration. The advancement of migration has generally been greater for the beginning and median phases of migration relative to the end, leading to extended spring migration seasons. Duration of the migration season increased with increasing temperature. Phenological changes have also been less noticeable in Canada even when corrected for rate of change in temperature. To visualize long-term changes in phenology, we constructed the first multi-species spring migration phenology indicator to describe general changes in median migration dates in the northern hemisphere. The indicator showed an average advancement of one week during five decades across the continents (period 1959-2015). The indicator is easy to update with new data and we therefore encourage future research to investigate whether the trend towards longer periods of occurrence or emergence in spring is also evident in other migratory populations. Such phenological changes may influence detectability in monitoring schemes, and may have broader implications on population and community dynamics.
  • Candolin, Ulrika; Voigt, Heinz-Rudolf (2020)
    Human activity is altering the dynamics of populations through effects on fecundity, mortality and migration. An increased abundance of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in the Baltic Sea has been attributed to a human-caused decline of top predators. However, recent research indicates that a top-down effect cannot fully explain the population growth, but the contribution of a bottom-up effect has not been investigated. Yet, anthropogenic eutrophication has increased algae biomass at the spawning sites of the stickleback and, thus, the abundance of benthic prey. We investigated if increased fecundity could have contributed to the population growth of the stickleback by analysing a two decade time series of stickleback abundance, fecundity, and body size at three spawning sites. The results show an increase in the proportion of gravid females in the populations, which correlates with the population growth. In particular, the proportion of gravid females late in the spawning season has increased, which indicates enhanced food intake at the sites during the spawning season. Thus, a bottom-up effect could have contributed to the growth of the populations by increasing the number of egg clutches females produce. These results stress the importance of considering both bottom-up and top-down processes when investigating the mechanisms behind human impact on population dynamics.
  • Kendal, Dave; Raymond, Christopher M. (2019)
    Despite rich theorisation on the structure and content of people’s values and great interest in the concept of value change, there is currently little coordinated understanding of how people’s values might shift over time. This paper draws upon different value traditions in a multi-level framework that articulates possible pathways of value change within individuals and groups and within a social–ecological context. Individual- and group-level values may change in response to events over an individual’s life course or changes in the social–ecological context that people are living in. Group-level values may also change as the composition of individuals within a social group change. These pathways are likely to act differently on values conceived as guiding principles (transcendental values) and values that people assign to people, places, or things around them (contextual values). We present a research agenda to develop a better understanding of these pathways: assessing the associations between value change and demographic change in a highly mobile world; developing a theoretical and empirical basis for understanding value shifts associated with social–ecological and land-use change; clearer identification of the groups of people that are subject to proposed mechanisms explaining value shifts; and bridging psychological framing of values to other more embodied understandings that may be better placed to explain value shift in the context of social–ecological change.