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Heated bay off Sweden’s coast potentially shows how ecosystems are affected by future global warming

source : phys.org

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Alpha diversities of the microbial community in the soil water and sediment from the field (coastal bays) and after 9 days of incubation at the different incubation temperatures (6–35 °C). Shannon’s H alpha diversity index (A, C) values ​​and Shannon’s H flatness (B, D) for the bottom water (A, B; n = 9 field and n = 3 per incubated temperature) and surface sediment (C, D; n = 9 field and n = 3 per incubated temperature). The orange (heated bay) blue (control space) points show the mean plus standard deviation calculated from n = 9 and n = 3 replicates per bay, respectively. The blue and orange lines with gray shaded areas show the trendline added using the R geom_smooth function and the linear model (lm) method. Credit: The ISME magazine (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41396-023-01395-z

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Alpha diversities of the microbial community in the soil water and sediment from the field (coastal bays) and after 9 days of incubation at the different incubation temperatures (6–35 °C). Shannon’s H alpha diversity index (A, C) values ​​and Shannon’s H flatness (B, D) for the bottom water (A, B; n = 9 field and n = 3 per incubated temperature) and surface sediment (C, D; n = 9 field and n = 3 per incubated temperature). The orange (heated bay) blue (control space) points show the mean plus standard deviation calculated from n = 9 and n = 3 replicates per bay, respectively. The blue and orange lines with gray shaded areas show the trendline added using the R geom_smooth function and the linear model (lm) method. Credit: The ISME magazine (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41396-023-01395-z

Research at a long-term warmed bay near Oskarshamn, southeastern Sweden, provides a rare insight into how the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea will be affected by climate change. Here, cooling water from the nearby nuclear power plant has increased the average temperature by an average of 5°C over the past 50 years. New research shows that this long-term warming puts pressure on important bacteria and makes the ecosystem more vulnerable.

The combination of a warmer and more volatile climate expected in the future in the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea poses problems for the bacterial communities living in the seabed sediments, whose functions are crucial for maintaining stability in the ecosystem.

When average temperatures rise, the bacteria lose their ability to adapt to sudden temperature changes, such as heat waves, according to a new experimental study published in The ISME magazine.

“Despite the fact that it has been 50 years since temperatures in the Bay increased, the bacterial communities we study have not fully adapted to the warmer climate. They are under constant stress, which makes them less good at dealing with sudden changes in temperature.” ‘ says Anders Forsman, professor in the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences and one of the co-authors of the study.

Simulating future weather phenomena

In the study, researchers examined how microorganisms living in the sediment of the long-term heated bay respond to simulated heat waves in a laboratory environment. For nine days, samples were exposed to temperatures between 6°C and 35°C while the activity in the bacterial communities was studied in detail. The patterns were compared to samples from a nearby, untouched bay that was also included in the experiment.

“Much of the research into the effects of climate change in aquatic environments has been conducted in a laboratory setting, studying individual or single species in detail. The long-term warming in this bay allows us to study an entire ecosystem in a realistic future scenario” , says professor and co-author Mark Dopson.

The results show that the composition, species richness and productivity of bacterial communities in the heated bay do not respond to temperature in the same way as in the adjacent bay, where average temperatures are more normal. One reason is that the bacteria have limited resources.

More information:
Laura Seidel et al., Climate change-related warming reduces thermal sensitivity and alters metabolic activity of coastal benthic bacterial communities, The ISME magazine (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41396-023-01395-z

Magazine information:
ISME magazine

source : phys.org

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