As a result of an up to 5°C increase in water temperatures over the next few years, this pioneering study shows an increase in the regression rate of benthic primary producers, a deterioration in ecological status and the appearance of eutrophication processes in many coastal lagoons. Notable effects include the proliferation of jellyfish.
The work, recently published in the Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science magazine and financed by the Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Water, represents the first data-based assessment of the vulnerability of the lagoon’s entire coastal ecosystem to a probable environmental change and eutrophication. According to the researchers, it is “essential” to know the interactions between the processes for identifying future impacts and establishing effective coastal planning and management measures.
“If climate change predictions come true, the current state of the Mar Menor lagoon could collapse due to proliferations of phytoplankton and floating macroalgae”, Javier Lloret, one of the study's researchers, explained to SINC. He talked about a profound deterioration of the entire ecosystem “through the appearance of eutrophication processes with high concentrations of nutrients”.
The research, applicable to other lagoons, forecasts that the global climate will have a “high” effect on coastal lagoons, which are considered “one of the most fragile marine environments to these changes”, Lloret pointed out. Among the most harmful effects, scientists highlight the increase in water temperature, a rise in sea level of at least a 50 cm, changes in the hydrodynamism of water masses and in the water’s salinity, as well as an increase in dissolved carbon dioxide, frequency of extreme climatic events and appearance of eutrophication processes.
Proliferation of jellyfish due to climate change
One of the main consequences of an increase in lagoon temperatures is the proliferation of jellyfish, which represent “an example of the alteration of the system’s trophic state and instability of parameters for the lagoon”, indicated the researcher from the Ecology and Hydrology Department at the University of Murcia.
In addition, the study highlighted that a loss of benthic macrophytes and appearance of eutrophication processes could result in “a substantial decrease in the quality of the lagoon’s habitat with unforeseen consequences for the biological diversity of its communities”. To this is added the possible reduction in the amount of light reaching the beds of the Mar Menor lagoon due to the proliferation of phytoplankton.
“This reduction is the result of the combined effect of the rise in sea level and decrease in the transparency of the water column caused by an increase in the entry of nutrients and dissolved solids”, Lloret added. The biomass of the Caulerpa prolifera macroalgae, which covers 91.7% of the lagoon's beds and is below 5 metres in depth, is responsible for maintaining a positive carbon balance. However, most of this biomass would be affected, even with death, due to a reduction in photosynthesis with an increase of water temperature over 30ºC.
The Mar Menor lagoon has ecological characteristics of high productivity and biological diversity as a result of being separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a 22 km long, 100 m to 1,200 m wide sand bar. Designated by the United Nations as a ‘Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance’, the coastal lagoon is, however, vulnerable to eutrophication due to the rise in population along the coast and use of fertilisers for agriculture.
Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness
02.04.2019 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Deep decarbonization of industry is possible with innovations
25.03.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
For the first time, physicists at the University of Basel have succeeded in measuring the magnetic properties of atomically thin van der Waals materials on the nanoscale. They used diamond quantum sensors to determine the strength of the magnetization of individual atomic layers of the material chromium triiodide. In addition, they found a long-sought explanation for the unusual magnetic properties of the material. The journal Science has published the findings.
The use of atomically thin, two-dimensional van der Waals materials promises innovations in numerous fields in science and technology. Scientists around the...
Flexible, organic and printed electronics conquer everyday life. The forecasts for growth promise increasing markets and opportunities for the industry. In Europe, top institutions and companies are engaged in research and further development of these technologies for tomorrow's markets and applications. However, access by SMEs is difficult. The European project SmartEEs - Smart Emerging Electronics Servicing works on the establishment of a European innovation network, which supports both the access to competences as well as the support of the enterprises with the assumption of innovations and the progress up to the commercialization.
It surrounds us and almost unconsciously accompanies us through everyday life - printed electronics. It starts with smart labels or RFID tags in clothing, we...
The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.
Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.
Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
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26.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy