Effects of warming, climate extremes and phosphorus enrichment on the growth, sexual reproduction and propagule carbon and nitrogen stoichiometry of Potamogeton crispus L.

Research paper by Jun J Xu, Tao T Wang, Jorge J García Molinos, Chao C Li, Bowen B Hu, Meng M Pan, Min M Zhang

Indexed on: 13 Feb '20Published on: 12 Feb '20Published in: Environment International


Contemporary evidence suggests that submerged macrophytes are experiencing a global decline due to the multiple compounding anthropogenic stressors impacting shallow lake ecosystems. Eutrophication and climate change are two main widespread, often co-occurring stressors, yet evidence concerning their interactive effects on aquatic plants remains partial and fragmented. Predicting the response of submerged aquatic vegetation to the combined effects of nutrient pollution and compound climate warming (mean + variability) is therefore crucial for the conservation and management of these valuable and vulnerable ecosystems. Here, we present the results of an outdoor mesocosm experiment examining the combined effects of nutrient enrichment (phosphorus addition) and warming (a 4 °C increase in mean temperature above present ambient conditions applied as either a constant increase or a variable increase ranging between 0 and 8 °C to mimic the effect of extreme events but keeping an equivalent total amount of warming) on Potamogeton crispus L. Warming accelerated the growth and senescence of P. crispus suggesting a more important role in maintaining the clear water state in winter-early spring but concomitant to possible earlier turbid states in summer. Warming also consistently advanced the flowering phenology but had no significant effect on flowering duration. There were no significant differences in the life cycle between the two warming treatments, while phosphorus addition also had little effect. However, under phosphorus enrichment, P. crispus increased sexual reproduction investment producing higher seed setting rate per infructescence. In contrast, warming, especially variable warming, may decrease sexual reproduction investment by reducing the number of infructescences. Seed and turion stoichiometry were altered by the combination of warming and phosphorus addition, but the changes were complex and difficult to interpret. Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.