Climate change is evolving so fast that the related adverse effects on the environment are becoming noticeable. Thus, there is an urgent need to explore and understand the effects generated by multiple extreme climatic events (MECEs) on marine ecosystem functioning and the services provided. Accordingly, we combined long-term in-situ empirical observations in the Mediterranean Sea with a mesocosm manipulation to investigate the concurrence of increasing temperature and hypoxia events. By focussing on a foundation mussel species, we were able to detect several cascade events triggered by a mass mortality event caused by stressful temperature and oxygen conditions, and resulting in a loss of ecosystem services. The measured rates of chlorophyll-a, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids - in both particulate and sedimentary organic matter - were used as proxies of ecosystem functioning during pre- and post- disturbance events (MECEs). In the past, MECEs were crucial for individual performance, mussel population dynamics and biomass. Their effect propagated along the ecological hierarchy negatively affecting the associated community and ecosystem. Our results suggest that the protection and/or restoration of coastal areas requires careful consideration of ecosystem functioning. Significance statement: Our decadal time-series recorded by a near-term ecological forecasting network of thermal sensor allowed us to record and monitor multiple extreme climatic events (MECEs; heat wave and hypoxia events), warning on the environmental change recorded on a pond system. By integrating observational and manipulative approaches, we showed how a MECE triggered cascade events, from individual-based impaired functioning up to biodiversity loss (community composition and structure changes). Our results emphasize the key role played by a foundation species in driving ecosystem functioning, and the synergistic effects of climatic drivers acting simultaneously.

Sara' G., Giommi C., Giacoletti A., Conti E., Mulder C., Mangano M.C. (2021). Multiple climate-driven cascading ecosystem effects after the loss of a foundation species. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 770, 144749 [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144749].

Multiple climate-driven cascading ecosystem effects after the loss of a foundation species

Sara' G.;Giommi C.;Giacoletti A.;Mangano M. C.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Climate change is evolving so fast that the related adverse effects on the environment are becoming noticeable. Thus, there is an urgent need to explore and understand the effects generated by multiple extreme climatic events (MECEs) on marine ecosystem functioning and the services provided. Accordingly, we combined long-term in-situ empirical observations in the Mediterranean Sea with a mesocosm manipulation to investigate the concurrence of increasing temperature and hypoxia events. By focussing on a foundation mussel species, we were able to detect several cascade events triggered by a mass mortality event caused by stressful temperature and oxygen conditions, and resulting in a loss of ecosystem services. The measured rates of chlorophyll-a, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids - in both particulate and sedimentary organic matter - were used as proxies of ecosystem functioning during pre- and post- disturbance events (MECEs). In the past, MECEs were crucial for individual performance, mussel population dynamics and biomass. Their effect propagated along the ecological hierarchy negatively affecting the associated community and ecosystem. Our results suggest that the protection and/or restoration of coastal areas requires careful consideration of ecosystem functioning. Significance statement: Our decadal time-series recorded by a near-term ecological forecasting network of thermal sensor allowed us to record and monitor multiple extreme climatic events (MECEs; heat wave and hypoxia events), warning on the environmental change recorded on a pond system. By integrating observational and manipulative approaches, we showed how a MECE triggered cascade events, from individual-based impaired functioning up to biodiversity loss (community composition and structure changes). Our results emphasize the key role played by a foundation species in driving ecosystem functioning, and the synergistic effects of climatic drivers acting simultaneously.
2021
Settore BIO/07 - Ecologia
Sara' G., Giommi C., Giacoletti A., Conti E., Mulder C., Mangano M.C. (2021). Multiple climate-driven cascading ecosystem effects after the loss of a foundation species. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 770, 144749 [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144749].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/584252
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