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Article

Lake Ecosystem Robustness and Resilience Inferred from a Climate-Stressed Protistan Plankton Network

1
Department of Ecology, University of Kaiserslautern, D-67633 Kaiserslautern, Germany
2
Limnological Station, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Zurich, CH-8802 Zurich, Switzerland
3
Laboratory of Soil Biodiversity, University of Neuchâtel, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
4
Research Department for Limnology, University of Innsbruck, A-5310 Mondsee, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Veljo Kisand and Kasia Piwosz
Microorganisms 2021, 9(3), 549; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9030549
Received: 30 January 2021 / Revised: 17 February 2021 / Accepted: 1 March 2021 / Published: 6 March 2021
Network analyses of biological communities allow for identifying potential consequences of climate change on the resilience of ecosystems and their robustness to resist stressors. Using DNA metabarcoding datasets from a three-year-sampling (73 samples), we constructed the protistan plankton co-occurrence network of Lake Zurich, a model lake ecosystem subjected to climate change. Despite several documentations of dramatic lake warming in Lake Zurich, our study provides an unprecedented perspective by linking changes in biotic association patterns to climate stress. Water temperature belonged to the strongest environmental parameters splitting the data into two distinct seasonal networks (October–April; May–September). The expected ecological niche of phytoplankton, weakened through nutrient depletion because of permanent thermal stratification and through parasitic fungi, was occupied by the cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens and mixotrophic nanoflagellates. Instead of phytoplankton, bacteria and nanoflagellates were the main prey organisms associated with key predators (ciliates), which contrasts traditional views of biological associations in lake plankton. In a species extinction scenario, the warm season network emerged as more vulnerable than the cold season network, indicating a time-lagged effect of warmer winter temperatures on the communities. We conclude that climate stressors compromise lake ecosystem robustness and resilience through species replacement, richness differences, and succession as indicated by key network properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: protist plankton communities; lake ecosystem; co-occurrence networks; climate change protist plankton communities; lake ecosystem; co-occurrence networks; climate change
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    Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.4481852
    Link: https://zenodo.org/record/4481852
    Description: Table S1: Time-series data of environmental parameters, Table S2: Network properties of environmental parameter nodes in both seasons, Figure S1: NMDS of environmental parameter time-series data.
MDPI and ACS Style

Forster, D.; Qu, Z.; Pitsch, G.; Bruni, E.P.; Kammerlander, B.; Pröschold, T.; Sonntag, B.; Posch, T.; Stoeck, T. Lake Ecosystem Robustness and Resilience Inferred from a Climate-Stressed Protistan Plankton Network. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 549. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9030549

AMA Style

Forster D, Qu Z, Pitsch G, Bruni EP, Kammerlander B, Pröschold T, Sonntag B, Posch T, Stoeck T. Lake Ecosystem Robustness and Resilience Inferred from a Climate-Stressed Protistan Plankton Network. Microorganisms. 2021; 9(3):549. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9030549

Chicago/Turabian Style

Forster, Dominik, Zhishuai Qu, Gianna Pitsch, Estelle P. Bruni, Barbara Kammerlander, Thomas Pröschold, Bettina Sonntag, Thomas Posch, and Thorsten Stoeck. 2021. "Lake Ecosystem Robustness and Resilience Inferred from a Climate-Stressed Protistan Plankton Network" Microorganisms 9, no. 3: 549. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9030549

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