A mesocosm experiment to measure impacts of climate change
Both the ongoing global warming and the removal of top-predators modify trophic interactions in marine food webs.
As evolutionary adaptations in three-spined stickleback (hereafter stickleback) morphology can affect the behavior of the individuals, the ecosystem effects of the recent drastic increase in stickleback abundance in the Baltic Sea may depend on the morphotype-prevalence.
Aims, questions, issues
Questions we want to adress:
how evolutionary adaptations in a meso-predator affect traits in benthic food web
whether warming modifies these responses
How to answer those questions?
At Askö Laboratory in Sweden, we conducted a mesocosm experiment with three trophic levels in ambient and warmed (+4°C) water:
meso-pradators (fully and partially plated sticklebacks),
meso-grazers (gastropod, amphipod and isopod grazers) and
macroalgal foundation species (Fucus vesiculosus and F. radicans)
We assessed how warming, stickleback presence and morphotype altered traits at each trophic level.