Lotic ecosystems have been recognized as extremely sensitive to climate change, because of the raising of water temperatures and the disruption of hydrologic cycles. Among rivers, mountain streams are particularly fragile since highest rates of climate change are occurring above the treeline. The aim of the study was to investigate the functional impact of droughts in three Alpine streams (Po, Pellice and Varaita - NW Italy), that are currently experiencing droughts during the summer season. In particular, using leaf litter bags of chestnut and oak we evaluated the CPOM degradation process in both perennial and recently intermittent reaches, by measuring the following: i) mass loss variations; ii) macroinvertebrate colonization patterns; iii) microbiota communities (fungi and bacteria) involved in the process. We hypothesized that the CPOM decomposition in sites with permanent flow would be driven by a relevant contribution of both macro- and micro-consumers. On the contrary, we expected that CPOM degradation in intermittent sites would be explained primarily by the role of microconsumers. With continued drought conditions and changing CPOM subsidies, the biodiversity, richness and density of colonizer communities could result in altered Alpine stream ecosystems.

Effects of climate change and drying conditions on CPOM processing in alpine streams (NW Italy)

Gruppuso L.
;
Doretto A.;Benbow M. E.;Bona F.;Fenoglio S.
2019

Abstract

Lotic ecosystems have been recognized as extremely sensitive to climate change, because of the raising of water temperatures and the disruption of hydrologic cycles. Among rivers, mountain streams are particularly fragile since highest rates of climate change are occurring above the treeline. The aim of the study was to investigate the functional impact of droughts in three Alpine streams (Po, Pellice and Varaita - NW Italy), that are currently experiencing droughts during the summer season. In particular, using leaf litter bags of chestnut and oak we evaluated the CPOM degradation process in both perennial and recently intermittent reaches, by measuring the following: i) mass loss variations; ii) macroinvertebrate colonization patterns; iii) microbiota communities (fungi and bacteria) involved in the process. We hypothesized that the CPOM decomposition in sites with permanent flow would be driven by a relevant contribution of both macro- and micro-consumers. On the contrary, we expected that CPOM degradation in intermittent sites would be explained primarily by the role of microconsumers. With continued drought conditions and changing CPOM subsidies, the biodiversity, richness and density of colonizer communities could result in altered Alpine stream ecosystems.
XV Incontro Dottorandi e Giovani Ricercatori in Ecologia e Scienze dei Sistemi Acquatici
Ostana (CN) - Italy
8 - 10/05/2019
Book of Abstracts XV Incontro Dottorandi e Giovani Ricercatori in Ecologia e Scienze dei Sistemi Acquatici
7
8
Climate change, Drying conditions, CPOM processing, Alpine streams
Gruppuso L., Doretto A., Rappocciolo M., Receveur J., Benbow M.E., Bona F., Fenoglio S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1801512
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