Aquatic Sciences

, 80:34 | Cite as

Responses of primary producers in shallow lakes to elevated temperature: a mesocosm experiment during the growing season of Potamogeton crispus

  • Beibei Hao
  • Anna Fabrin Roejkjaer
  • Haoping Wu
  • Yu CaoEmail author
  • Erik Jeppesen
  • Wei LiEmail author
Research Article


Climate warming may influence the relationship among macrophyte–periphyton–phytoplankton and change the producer community structure in shallow lakes, as elevated temperature has been suggested to promote the dominance of phytoplankton. We performed a 5-month experiment (starting in winter, December) to elucidate the responses of three phototrophic communities (macrophyte—Potamogeton crispus, periphyton, phytoplankton) and their interactions to elevated temperature (4.5 °C) under eutrophic, subtropical conditions. The biomass and composition of periphyton were not significantly affected by increased temperature, while the biomass of phytoplankton increased with a shift in phytoplankton composition towards higher dominance of chlorophytes and cyanobacteria. Warming also reduced the survival of P. crispus and accelerated the decline of P. crispus. At both ambient and heated temperatures, a shift occurred at the end of the experiment from a clear-state dominated by P. crispus to a clear-state dominated by filamentous algae and warming facilitated this shift. Our results thus indicated that, when submerged macrophytes diminished or disappeared, filamentous algae exhibited functional compensation that maintained low phytoplankton development, primarily at elevated temperatures.


Climate warming Periphyton Phytoplankton Filamentous algae Primary producers 



This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFA0601000), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31500296, 31670368) and by the UCAS Joint PhD Training Program. EJ was supported by the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 ( We thank Wenmin Huang, Hui Shao and Zhi Li for their assistance with the experiment. We thank Dr. Anne Mette Poulsen for English editing.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversitySilkeborgDenmark
  4. 4.Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research (SDC)University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Hubei Key Laboratory of Wetland Evolution and Ecological Restoration, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina

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