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WP 4: Biological responses to environmental gradients within and between regions

Targets     Lead Contractor     Lead Partners    


Workpackages WP 1, WP 2 and WP 3 are concerned with the physical and chemical factors (both natural and anthropogenic) that set the environmental boundaries for life in mountain lakes. In workpackages WP 4 and WP 5 we focus on biology and aim to model species distribution and food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients. Although much biological data are available for individual sites, information at a regional scale is uneven within and between Lake Districts. In order to fulfil the main objective of the project we need comparable information along the main geographical and environmental gradients within Europe. Consequently we will undertake a thorough survey of between 10 and 50 lakes in each Lake District to assess the distribution of key organisms including those that provide a fossil record and thereby allow changes through time to be inferred. In addition quantitative sampling of bacterioplankton, phytoplankton and zooplankton will be carried out during the autumn overturn period to assess food-web health.

For each lake in the survey we will take samples for epilithic diatoms, benthic invertebrates, zooplankton, bacterial abundance, chlorophyll a, and water chemistry (major ions and nutrients, pH and alkalinity), and we will take short sediment cores. We will analyse two samples (top and bottom) from the sediment cores for diatoms, chironomids and pigments. The top sample of the core will be used to represent present conditions and the bottom sample will be used to represent reference pre-industrial conditions. We will use carbonaceous particle fly ash screening to ensure the bottom sample is of pre-industrial age.

Lead Contractor

  1. ECRC-UCL - Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London, UK

Lead Partners

  • UB-DE - Ecology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain

  • UiB - Department of Zoology, University of Bergen, Norway

  • HBI-ASCR - Hydrobiological Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Ceske Budjovice, Czech Republic

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