Project

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The impact of cyanobacterial blooms triggered by nutrient pollution on aquatic environments in the context of climate change

Applicant Spaak Pieter
Number 142165
Funding scheme Romanian-Swiss Research Programme (RSRP)
Research institution Aquatische Umweltanalytik EAWAG
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.01.2013 - 31.12.2015
Approved amount 359'423.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Ecology
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology

Keywords (8)

toxins; waste; pollutants; climate-change; harmful bloom; monitoring; risk; cyanobacteria

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Exzessive Nährstoffbelastung führte weltweit zur Eutrophierung von Seen, die durch den Bau von Kläranlagen in vielen Ländern wieder umgekehrt wurde. In anderen Ländern wie zum Beispiel Rumänien hingegen leiden die Seen heutzutage immer noch unter den Folgen der Wasserverschmutzung. Die Donau, der zweitgrößte Fluss Europas, bildet am Schwarzen Meer ein Delta von internationaler Bedeutung. Ihre Verschmutzung (insbesondere vor 1990) führte zur Eutrophierung der Seen im Delta.
Lay summary

Es gibt Hinweise darauf, dass Eutrophierung und Klimawandel die Entwicklung von Cyanobakterien mit zum Teil stark schädlichen Auswirkungen auf das Ökosystem begünstigen. Dynamik und ökologischer Kontext solcher Blüten sind aber nur selten dokumentiert. Deshalb ist das Ziel dieses Projekts mit Hilfe von Sediment-Analysen und Feldstudien: das Auftreten von i) Cyanobakterienblüten und von ii) toxischen Genen, sowie iii) ihre Auswirkungen auf das, ans Donaudelta angepasste Zooplankton zu untersuchen.

Kenntnis über das Entstehen von Cyanobakterien in der Vergangenheit ist entscheidend um das Risiko für schädliche Blüten im Kontext von Umweltveränderungen und ihre Folgen für die Seen und deren Nahrungsnetze abzuschätzen.

Diese Methode werden wir im seit mehr als 40 Jahren intensiv studierten Greifensee (Schweiz) entwickeln. Ausserdem werden wir umfangreiche Daten im rumänischen Teil vom Donaudelta erheben, um Zusammenhänge zwischen dem Auftreten von Cyanobakterienblüten und Umweltfaktoren zu bestimmen.

Unser "Wissen über die Vergangenheit“ wird uns somit lernen „Wissen über die Zukunft“ zu erlangen und zu prüfen, ob für das untersuchte Ökosystem ein Risiko in Bezug auf schädliche Cyanobakterienblüten besteht. Unsere Daten werden auch die Möglichkeit bieten, die zukünftige Entwicklung zu prognostizieren und Strategien und Maßnahmen zu entwickeln, um Risiken von Cyanobakterienblüten in Zukunft zu verringern.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.12.2012

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Long Term Diversity and Distribution of Non-photosynthetic Cyanobacteria in Peri-Alpine Lakes
Monchamp Marie-Eve, Spaak Piet, Pomati Francesco (2019), Long Term Diversity and Distribution of Non-photosynthetic Cyanobacteria in Peri-Alpine Lakes, in Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, 1-11.
Homogenization of lake cyanobacterial communities over a century of climate change and eutrophication
Monchamp Marie-Eve, Spaak Piet, Domaizon Isabelle, Dubois Nathalie, Bouffard Damien, Pomati Francesco (2018), Homogenization of lake cyanobacterial communities over a century of climate change and eutrophication, in Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2(2), 317-324.
Sedimentary and egg-bank DNA from 3 European lakes reveal concurrent changes in the composition and diversity of cyanobacterial and Daphnia communities
Monchamp Marie-Eve, Enache Ioana, Turko Patrick, Pomati Francesco, Rîşnoveanu Geta, Spaak Piet (2017), Sedimentary and egg-bank DNA from 3 European lakes reveal concurrent changes in the composition and diversity of cyanobacterial and Daphnia communities, in Hydrobiologia, 800(1), 155-172.
Individual-level trait diversity predicts phytoplankton community properties better than species richness or evenness
Fontana Simone, Thomas Mridul Kanianthara, Moldoveanu Mirela, Spaak Piet, Pomati Francesco (2017), Individual-level trait diversity predicts phytoplankton community properties better than species richness or evenness, in The ISME Journal, 12(2), 356-366.
Sedimentary DNA Reveals Cyanobacterial Community Diversity over 200 Years in Two Perialpine Lakes
Monchamp Marie-Eve, Walser Jean-Claude, Pomati Francesco, Spaak Piet (2016), Sedimentary DNA Reveals Cyanobacterial Community Diversity over 200 Years in Two Perialpine Lakes, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82(21), 6472-6482.
Cyanobacteria Affect Fitness and Genetic Structure of Experimental Daphnia Populations
Drugă Bogdan, Turko Patrick, Spaak Piet, Pomati Francesco (2016), Cyanobacteria Affect Fitness and Genetic Structure of Experimental Daphnia Populations, in Environmental Science & Technology, 50(7), 3416-3424.
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS CONTROLLING CILIATES IN SHALLOW LAKES OF THE DANUBE DELTA – SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY
DUMITRACHE A., MOLDOVEANU M., POSTOLACHE C., SANDU C., FLORESCU L. (2015), ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS CONTROLLING CILIATES IN SHALLOW LAKES OF THE DANUBE DELTA – SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY, in Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology Rhodes, Gre, 1-5.
Clonal structure and depth selection during a Caullerya mesnili epidemic in a hybridizing population of the Daphnia longispina complex
Tardent Nadine, Tellenbach Christoph, Turko Patrick, Spaak Piet, Clonal structure and depth selection during a Caullerya mesnili epidemic in a hybridizing population of the Daphnia longispina complex, in Hydrobiologia.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Nelson Hairston / Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Dr Bas Ibelings / NIOO Wageningen Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Institute of Biology, Bucharest Romania (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof Brett A Neilan, University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Meeting of the SIL Plankton Ecology Group Talk given at a conference Causes and consequences of parasite epidemics in a Daphnia hybrid species complex: the role of cyanobacteria 22.11.2015 Guangzhou, China Monchamp Marie-Eve; Spaak Pieter;
SETAC GLB Tagung, Talk given at a conference Cyanobacterien und Daphnia-Parasiten Epidemien, 07.09.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Spaak Pieter;
Second EMBO Conference on Aquatic Microbial Ecology: SAME-14 Talk given at a conference Long-term changes in cyanobacterial community structure in response to environmental change. 23.08.2015 Uppsala, Sweden Spaak Pieter; Monchamp Marie-Eve;
9th Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences (SEFS9) Talk given at a conference Investigating long-term cyanobacterial response to eutrophication and re-oligotrophication using eDNA in lakes sediments 05.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Spaak Pieter; Monchamp Marie-Eve;
2015 Aquatic Sciences Meeting (ASLO) Poster Investigating long-term cyanobacterial response to eutrophication and re-oligotrophication using genetic and monitoring data 22.01.2015 Grenada, Spain Monchamp Marie-Eve; Spaak Pieter;
10th Symposium on Cladocera Talk given at a conference Diversity and distribution of Daphnia species across the Danube Delta lakes 28.09.2014 Lednice, Czech Republic Spaak Pieter;
EMBO Conference on the Mighty Daphnia: Past, Present and Future Poster The impact of cyanobacterial blooms: present and past 19.01.2014 Birmingham, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Spaak Pieter;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Der Wasserfloh: Modelorganismus in der Umweltforschung International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Diversity lost for ever SNF Research Magazin Horizons 103 German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Vom Netz zum Laserstrahl Hightech in der Greifenseeforschung German-speaking Switzerland 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
125211 The impact of abiotic factors on hybrid Daphnia populations across the Alps: are pollution effects irreversible? 01.10.2009 Interdisciplinary projects
135750 Host - parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia, the role of variable environments: part 2. 01.01.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
166628 Host-parasite interactions in hybridizing Daphnia, from correlations to experiments 01.01.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

BackgroundNutrient pollution that started in the fifties led to eutrophication of lakes all over the world. The construction of waste water treatment plants has reversed this pattern in many countries (e.g. Switzerland) while in other countries (e.g. Romania) lakes still suffer under the consequences of water pollution. The Danube, the second largest river of Europe forms a delta of international importance at the confluence with the Black Sea. Pollution of the Danube, especially before 1990, led to eutrophication of the shallow lakes that, combined with climate change, favoured the development of massive cyanobacterial blooms that currently affect the seasonal succession of plankton and macrophyte communities. This has consequences for fish populations and the whole food web and potential impact on livestock- and human health. The dynamics and environmental context of these blooms is only documented in exceptional cases. Monitoring lakes throughout their phases of pollution and recovery takes decennia and requires a large investment in terms of personnel and resources. Datasets that allow to follow the history of cyanobacterial blooms in polluted lakes are rare, and totally missing for the Danube Delta - a biodiversity hotspot and UNESCO World Heritage Site of global importance.Aims and methodsThe goal of this research project is to reconstruct: i) the history of cyanobacterial blooms, ii) the occurrence of toxic genes from lake sediments, and iii) the effects of cyanobacteria on locally adapted zooplankton in the Danube Delta. Knowledge about this history is crucial to predict the risk for harmful cyanobacterial blooms in the context of environmental change and their consequences for lake food webs. The formerly hyper-eutrophied lake Greifensee, Switzerland, is an ideal study site to develop the method to reconstruct cyanobacterial blooms from sediment cores: historical data are available for zoo- and phytoplankton and for the population structure of the waterflea Daphnia. This is a key organism in aquatic food webs as it eats the algae and serves as fish food. Extensive field data will be collected from lake complexes in the Romanian part of the Danube Delta, to assess the occurrence of harmful cyanobacterial blooms. Since detailed long-term monitoring data are missing from those lakes, from sediment cores we will 1) reconstruct cyanobacterial bloom dynamics by lipid biomarkers, 2) evaluate the presence of toxic genes by PCR, 3) resurrect Daphnia from resting eggs, and 4) test pre- and post-eutrophication Daphnia populations for local adaptation to cyanobacterial blooms in laboratory experiments. For this work we apply for 1 PhD position at Eawag and two PhD students at IBB, furthermore we request funds to support the Romanian research team.Expected valueThe method we aim to develop in our project will be of high value for water managers in European countries, and especially in eastern European countries where eutrophication of lakes and rivers is still a high concern. The Danube Delta serves as an excellent case study. Sediments act as archives from which valuable information about the past can be extracted and analysed, overcoming the lack of expensive long-term monitoring programs that cannot be afforded. Our data will allow “learning from the past, preserving for the future”. We will assess whether the studied ecosystems are under risk with respect to harmful cyanobacterial blooms and our data will provide the possibility to forecast future developments, to develop protection strategies and to take measures to reduce risks in the future.
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