Diversity at the community level

Standard plankton monitoring misses most of the relevant temporal and spatial dynamics. In a rapidly changing world, innovative approaches to ecosystem monitoring and its integration with ecosystem models are required. Ideally what would be needed is an automated, stand alone system for sampling, cell counting and classification of phytoplankton. Recent developments in scanning flowcytometry may offer these requirements in a single instrument, called Cytobuoy. CytoBuoy data may allow the detection of detailed patterns in plankton community dynamics as a first step towards understanding biodiversity and its drivers; it provides a context for further experimental study of causal mechanisms. In our study together with Eawag the dynamics in phytoplankton communities are described both in terms of their functional and taxonomic diversity. We seek evidence for abiotic filters and the impact of species interactions as drivers of community assembly by studying community wide distributions of phytoplankton functional traits. Arguably functional diversity has a more direct relationship with ecosystem-functioning and services than taxonomic diversity. High frequency, automated monitoring of the functional community structure has been set up for Lake Greifensee (Eawag) and is in preparation for Lake Geneva. Here we will integrate the high frequency, but spatially limited monitoring with remote sensing (in collaboration with EPFL).

Representative publications

Pomati, F., Jokela, J., Simona, M., Veronesi, M.,& Ibelings, B.W. An automated platform for phytoplankton ecology and aquatic ecosystems monitoring. Environmental Science & Technology 45: 9658–9665

Pomati, F., Matthews, B., Jokela, J., Schildknecht A., & Ibelings, B.W. Effects of re-oligotrophication and climate warming on plankton richness and community stability in a deep mesotrophic lake. Oikos 121, 1317-1327

Pomati, F., Kraft, N.J.B., Posch, T., Eugster, B., Jokela, J. & Ibelings, B.W. Trait-based analysis of natural phytoplankton communities: spring bloom dynamics in Lake Zurich (Switzerland) (submitted)