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Oecologia

pp 1–14 | Cite as

Response of a coastal Baltic Sea diatom-dominated phytoplankton community to experimental heat shock and changing salinity

  • Natassa StefanidouEmail author
  • Savvas Genitsaris
  • Juan Lopez-Bautista
  • Ulrich Sommer
  • Maria Moustaka-Gouni
Global change ecology – original research
  • 62 Downloads

Abstract

Climate change has been altering the ocean environment, affecting as a consequence the biological communities including microorganisms. We performed a mesocosm experiment to test whether biodiversity loss caused by one stressor would influence plankton community sensitivity to a subsequent stressor, as envisioned in Vinebrooke’s multiple stressor concept. A natural Baltic Sea diatom-dominated phytoplankton assemblage was used as a model system where we examined whether a preceding heat shock would affect the community’s response to changing salinity. Initially, the community was treated by a short-term temperature increase of 6 °C, which resulted in a loss of species compared to the control. Thereafter, the control and the heat-shocked communities were subject to a salinity change (− 5 psu, control, + 5 psu). The species Skeletonema dohrnii, Thalassiosira anguste-lineata, Thalassiosira nordenskioeldii, Chaetoceros socialis and Ditylum brightwellii were major components of the control and heat-shocked assemblages (> 80% of the total biomass). We examined the effect on species composition and biodiversity (morphospecies and operational taxonomic units (OTUs) related to phytoplankton) and on phytoplankton biomass. In addition, we explored the single species response of five dominant diatoms on these environmental perturbations. Our results showed that increased salinity significantly reduced the OTUs richness both in the control and the less diverse heated community as well as the phytoplankton biomass in the heated community. On the other hand, decreased salinity significantly increased species richness and phytoplankton biomass in both communities and OTUs richness in the control community. The five dominant diatoms reached their highest biomass under decreased salinity and responded negatively to increased salinity (lower biomass than ambient salinity). Contrary to Vinebrooke’s multiple stressor concept, there was no indication that the heat treatment had altered the community’s sensitivity to the salinity stress in our study system.

Keywords

Climate change Interactive effects 18S rRNA gene sequencing Mesocosms 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the editor and the two reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions that helped improve our manuscript. We are thankful to Prof. Konstantinos Ar. Kormas for providing the equipment to perform the nucleic acid extractions. We would like to thank T. Hansen, B. Gardeler and C. Meyer for technical support. The experiments are part of the BEN-Network (Non-random Biodiversity Experiments Network) initiated by A.M. Lewandowska (University of Helsinki, Tvärminne Zoological Station). Similar experiments using the same design are conducted on other marine sites.

Author contribution statement

NS, US, and MM-G designed the research and the experiment. NS and SG carried out the molecular and the bioinformatics analysis. NS carried out the experiment, the statistical analysis, and prepared the manuscript. NS, SG, JL-B, US, and MM-G revised the manuscript.

Funding

This research was implemented through IKY scholarships program and co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund–ESF) and Greek national funds through the action entitled “Scholarships program for postgraduates studies-2nd Study Cycle” in the framework of the Operational Program “Human Resources Development Program, Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) 2014–2020. This project was partially supported by the Alabama Greece Initiative, The University of Alabama.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

442_2019_4502_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (232 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 232 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.School of Economics, Business Administration & Legal StudiesInternational Hellenic UniversityThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  4. 4.Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany

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