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  • Brutemark, Andreas; Vandelannoote, Angelique; Engström-Öst, Jonna; Suikkanen, Sanna (2015)
    Salinity is one of the main factors that explain the distribution of species in the Baltic Sea. Increased precipitation and consequent increase in freshwater inflow is predicted to decrease salinity in some areas of the Baltic Sea. Clearly such changes may have profound effects on the organisms living there. Here we investigate the response of the commonly occurring cyanobacterium Dolichospermum spp. to three salinities, 0, 3 and 6. For the three strains tested we recorded growth, intracellular toxicity (microcystin) and allelopathic properties. We show that Dolichospermum can grow in all the three salinities tested with highest growth rates in the lowest salinity. All strains showed allelopathic potential and it differed significantly between strains and salinities, but was highest in the intermediate salinity and lowest in freshwater. Intracellular toxin concentration was highest in salinity 6. In addition, based on monitoring data from the northern Baltic Proper and the Gulf of Finland, we show that salinity has decreased, while Dolichospermum spp. biomass has increased between 1979 and 2013. Thus, based on our experimental findings it is evident that salinity plays a large role in Dolichospermum growth, allelopathic properties and toxicity. In combination with our long-term data analyses, we conclude that decreasing salinity is likely to result in a more favourable environment for Dolichospermum spp. in some areas of the Baltic Sea.
  • Spilling, Kristian; Paul, Allanah J.; Virkkala, Niklas; Hastings, Tom; Lischka, Silke; Stuhr, Annegret; Bermudez, Rafael; Czerny, Jan; Boxhammer, Tim; Schulz, Kai G.; Ludwig, Andrea; Riebesell, Ulf (2016)
    Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are reducing the pH in the world's oceans. The plankton community is a key component driving biogeochemical fluxes, and the effect of increased CO2 on plankton is critical for understanding the ramifications of ocean acidification on global carbon fluxes. We determined the plankton community composition and measured primary production, respiration rates and carbon export (defined here as carbon sinking out of a shallow, coastal area) during an ocean acidification experiment. Mesocosms (similar to 55 m(3)) were set up in the Baltic Sea with a gradient of CO2 levels initially ranging from ambient (similar to 240 mu atm), used as control, to high CO2 (up to similar to 1330 mu atm). The phytoplankton community was dominated by dinoflagellates, diatoms, cyanobacteria and chlorophytes, and the zooplankton community by protozoans, heterotrophic dinoflagellates and cladocerans. The plankton community composition was relatively homogenous between treatments. Community respiration rates were lower at high CO2 levels. The carbon-normalized respiration was approximately 40% lower in the high-CO2 environment compared with the controls during the latter phase of the experiment. We did not, however, detect any effect of increased CO2 on primary production. This could be due to measurement uncertainty, as the measured total particular carbon (TPC) and combined results presented in this special issue suggest that the reduced respiration rate translated into higher net carbon fixation. The percent carbon derived from microscopy counts (both phyto- and zooplankton), of the measured total particular carbon (TPC), decreased from similar to 26% at t0 to similar to 8% at t31, probably driven by a shift towards smaller plankton (<4 mu m) not enumerated by microscopy. Our results suggest that reduced respiration leads to increased net carbon fixation at high CO2. However, the increased primary production did not translate into increased carbon export, and consequently did not work as a negative feedback mechanism for increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration.
  • Aarnio, Sonja; Soininen, Janne (2021)
    Local biodiversity has traditionally been estimated with taxonomic diversity metrics such as species richness. Recently, the concept of biodiversity has been extended beyond species identity by ecological traits determining the functional role of a species in a community. This interspecific functional diversity typically responds more strongly to local environmental variation compared with taxonomic diversity, while taxonomic diversity may mirror more strongly dispersal processes compared with functional metrics. Several trait-based indices have been developed to measure functional diversity for various organisms and habitat types, but studies of their applicability on aquatic microbial communities have been underrepresented. We examined the drivers and covariance of taxonomic and functional diversity among diatom rock pool communities on the Baltic Sea coast. We quantified three taxonomic (species richness, Shannon's diversity, and Pielou's evenness) and three functional (functional richness, evenness, and divergence) diversity indices and determined abiotic factors best explaining variation in these indices by generalized linear mixed models. The six diversity indices were highly collinear except functional evenness, which merely correlated significantly with taxonomic evenness. All diversity indices were always explained by water conductivity and temperature-sampling month interaction. Taxonomic diversity was further consistently explained by pool distance to the sea, and functional richness and divergence by pool location. The explained variance in regression models did not markedly differ between taxonomic and functional metrics. Our findings do not clearly support the superiority of neither set of diversity indices in explaining coastal microbial diversity, but rather highlight the general overlap among the indices. However, as individual metrics may be driven by different factors, the greatest advantage in assessing biodiversity is nevertheless probably achieved with a simultaneous application of the taxonomic and functional diversity metrics.