Lakes in trouble: Understanding the effect of climate change on threatened ecosystem services of eutrophicated aquatic systems

Clean water and the wide range of ecosystem services provided by water resources are vital to the wellbeing of humankind. As a consequence of increasing nutrient loads, the eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems is a global problem. The impacts of global change on nutrient cycles and hydrological processes affect the functions balance and water quality of ecosystems.

The research project combines hydrological, biological and biogeochemical processes and changes predicted to threaten in the near future by comparing the processes of two large shallow lakes that are geographically different but function in a similar way: Lake Pyhäjärvi in Säkylä, Finland, and Lake Taihu in southeast China. The overall research approach covers the eutrophication history of the two lakes by means of palaeolimnological and long-term monitoring data and compares it with the present state and predictions about eutrophication and loading development. The aim is to increase bilateral and international collaboration with a view to restoring vital water resources and promoting restoration and protection.

The key objectives of the project are: 1) to improve possibilities to secure ecosystem services in the lakes Taihu and Pyhäjärvi also in climate change, 2) to increase our knowledge and understanding of lake processes by analysing datasets, 3) to improve possibilities to adjust restoration methods to the level required by climate change, and 4) to increase cooperation in aquatic research between China and Finland. The aim is to achieve these objectives by specifying long-term changes in the biological system in the reference lakes and by studying the significance of internal nutrient load in changing wind conditions and its impact on eutrophication and the ecosystem structure. Another aim is to assess the balancing significance of aquatic plants to nutrient dynamics in situations caused by climate change and eutrophication.

The research team actively cooperates with leading-edge research institutes. The team involves representatives from Pyhäjärvi Institute, the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku, the Finnish Environment Institute and Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology of China (NIGLAS). The aim of the project is to increase long-term cooperation and to create model solutions for maintaining and restoring ecosystem services particularly in China and Finland but globally as well.

Last modified 17 Jul 2015
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