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.
Sinking groundwater levels threaten the vitality of riverine ecosystems
04.10.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.
The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...
Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...
How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.
How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?
A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.
Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What...
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics.
The team found signatures of axion particles composed of Weyl-type electrons (Weyl fermions) in the correlated Weyl semimetal (TaSe₄)₂I. At room temperature,...
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