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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-70
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2020-70
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  02 Jun 2020

02 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Long term trends in aquatic diversity, productivity and stability: a 15,800 year multidecadal diatom study from Lake Baikal, southern Siberia

Anson W. Mackay1, Vivian A. Felde2, David W. Morley1, Natalia Piotrowska3, Patrick Rioual4, Alistair W. R. Seddon2, and George E. A. Swann5 Anson W. Mackay et al.
  • 1Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, UCL, London UK, WC1E 6BT
  • 2Department of Biological Sciences, and Bjerknes Centre of Climate Research, University of Bergen, PO Box 7803, Bergen 5020, Norway
  • 3Department of Radioisotopes, Institute of Physics - CSE, Silesian University of Technology, Konarskiego 22B, 44-100 Gliwice, Poland
  • 4Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology & Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. box 9825, Beijing 100029, China
  • 5School of Geography, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK

Abstract. Biological diversity is inextricably linked to community stability and ecosystem functioning, but our understanding of these relationships in freshwater ecosystems are largely based on short-term observational, experimental, and modelling approaches. Using a multidecadal diatom record for the past 15,800 years from Lake Baikal, we investigate how three ecosystem components – diversity, productivity, and stability – have responded to climate changes on long-timescales. In addition, we investigate how the relationships between diversity, productivity and stability have changed through time in response to these changes. We show that abrupt changes in diatom stability and diversity during the late glacial and early Holocene are part of a network of responses across southern Siberia as a result of extrinsically-forced climate instability. Productivity – diversity relationships were strongly coupled during the late glacial, which we suggest is linked to resource availability, but showed little relationship during the Holocene, perhaps due to few resources being limiting for extended periods of time. For example, periods of low diatom diversity are associated with peak palaeoproductivity, and coincide with climate disturbance events. Such strong negative relationships may reflect resources becoming limiting during palaeoproductivity, leading to monospecific diatom blooms. While species fluctuations respond rapidly to changing resources during much of the Holocene, the ecosystem function of primary production appears to be relatively resilient. Our study provides important perspectives on lake community stability and ecosystem function in relation to rapid periods of climate change.

Anson W. Mackay et al.

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Short summary
Rapid climate change poses a threat to biological diversity. We therefore investigated algal biodiversity in Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest lake in the world, because algae sit at the base of aquatic foodwebs, and provide energy (in the form of primary production) for other organisms to use. We found that although species changed rapidly through time, due to climate disturbance events over the past 16,000 years, primary production was more resilient to change.
Rapid climate change poses a threat to biological diversity. We therefore investigated algal...
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