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Using Springs as Sentinels of Climate Change in Nature Parks North and South of the Alps: A Critical Evaluation of Methodological Aspects and Recommendations for Long-Term Monitoring

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BIOME Lab, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences—BiGeA, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy
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Research & Collections Department (Limnology & Phycology), MUSE—Museo delle Scienze, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3, 38123 Trento, Italy
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Climate Centre, Bavarian Environment Agency, Hans-Högn-Straße 12, 95030 Hof/Saale, Germany
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Berchtesgaden National Park, Doktorberg 6, 83471 Berchtesgaden, Germany
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Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald, Freyunger Straße 2, 94481 Grafenau, Germany
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Area Ricerca Scientifica Ed Educazione Ambientale, Parco Naturale Adamello-Brenta, Via Nazionale 24, 38080 Strembo, TN, Italy
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LBV (Bavarian Association for the Protection of Nature and Biodiversity), 91161 Hilpoltstein, Germany
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Integrative Taxonomy Lab GmbH, 4153 Reinach, Switzerland
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Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 27, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
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Institute of Hydrobiology of NAS of Ukraine, Geroiv Stalingrada 12, 04210 Kyiv, Ukraine
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Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Gregor-Mendel-Straße 33/DG, 1180 Vienna, Austria
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Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Risk, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Grindelberg 5, 20144 Hamburg, Germany
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Department of Evolution and Ecology, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28E, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Richard C. Smardon and Marina Marcella Manca
Water 2022, 14(18), 2843; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182843
Received: 16 June 2022 / Revised: 22 August 2022 / Accepted: 8 September 2022 / Published: 12 September 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Water and Climate Change)
Spring ecosystems are diverse transition zones between ground- and surface-water habitats. Due to their characteristics and vulnerable species assemblages, springs are considered indicator systems for monitoring environmental change. In particular, climate change is expected to alter spring-ecosystem features, such as water temperature and discharge, affecting otherwise typically stable biotic and abiotic conditions. However, reliable trend-development recognition and analysis require a uniform methodology and comparable data series over long periods of time. Spring research findings in the Berchtesgaden National Park and the Adamello-Brenta Nature Park have been consolidated to develop methodological recommendations to create lasting societal-added value. The successful transfer of the methodology to the Bavarian Forest National Park and the experienced contribution of the Bavarian Association for the Protection of Nature (Bavarian Climate Alliance) strongly improved method validations. Our resulting, newly developed recommendations for long-term spring monitoring have a focus on climate change impacts and aim at providing a decision-making basis for establishing programs in similar ecological and climatic zones. Uniform site-selection criteria and selected climate-sensitive parameters are indicated. This includes documenting the spring’s environment and structure, measuring abiotic parameters, and determining selected floristic and faunistic groups. We recommend measurement and sampling-survey intervals ranging from 3(4) times yearly to every 5 years, depending on the parameter. We further suggest a database system that integrates all monitoring parameters to ensure consistent data management and storage. Analysing the data resulting from our new holistic spring monitoring methodology should provide critical knowledge about putatively changing ecosystems that can then be used as evidence of climate-change impact on spring ecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: springs; climate-change effects; monitoring; long-term ecological research; discharge; temperature; biodiversity; Berchtesgaden National Park; Adamello-Brenta Nature Park; Bavarian Forest National Park springs; climate-change effects; monitoring; long-term ecological research; discharge; temperature; biodiversity; Berchtesgaden National Park; Adamello-Brenta Nature Park; Bavarian Forest National Park
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cantonati, M.; Lichtenwöhrer, K.; Leonhardt, G.; Seifert, L.; Mustoni, A.; Hotzy, R.; Schubert, E.; Blattner, L.; Bilous, O.; Lotz, A.; Poschlod, B.; Gerecke, R. Using Springs as Sentinels of Climate Change in Nature Parks North and South of the Alps: A Critical Evaluation of Methodological Aspects and Recommendations for Long-Term Monitoring. Water 2022, 14, 2843. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182843

AMA Style

Cantonati M, Lichtenwöhrer K, Leonhardt G, Seifert L, Mustoni A, Hotzy R, Schubert E, Blattner L, Bilous O, Lotz A, Poschlod B, Gerecke R. Using Springs as Sentinels of Climate Change in Nature Parks North and South of the Alps: A Critical Evaluation of Methodological Aspects and Recommendations for Long-Term Monitoring. Water. 2022; 14(18):2843. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182843

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cantonati, Marco, Kurt Lichtenwöhrer, Gabi Leonhardt, Linda Seifert, Andrea Mustoni, Ralf Hotzy, Eva Schubert, Lucas Blattner, Olena Bilous, Annette Lotz, Benjamin Poschlod, and Reinhard Gerecke. 2022. "Using Springs as Sentinels of Climate Change in Nature Parks North and South of the Alps: A Critical Evaluation of Methodological Aspects and Recommendations for Long-Term Monitoring" Water 14, no. 18: 2843. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182843

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