Effects of warming and nutrients on sediment community respiration in shallow lakes: an outdoor mesocosm experiment

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Freshwater Biology, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Volume 56, Number 3, p.437–447 (2011)




climate change; global warming; lake; respiration; sediment


Summary 1. Climate warming is expected to change respiration in shallow lakes but to an extent that depends on nutrient state. 2. We measured sediment respiration (SR) over the season in the dark on intact sediment cores taken from a series of flow-through, heated and unheated, nutrient-enriched and unenriched mesocosms. The natural seasonal temperature cycle ranged from 2 to 20 °C in the unheated mesocosms. In the heated mesocosms, the temperature was raised 4–6 °C above ambient temperatures, depending on season, following the A2 climate change scenario downscaled to the local position of the mesocosms, but enlarged by 50%. We further measured ecosystem respiration (ER) in the mesocosms based on semi-continuous oxygen measurements. 3. SR changed over the season and was approximately ten times higher in summer than in winter. SR showed no clear response to warming in the nutrient-enriched treatment, while it increased with warming in the unenriched mesocosms which also had lower fish densities. 4. ER was not affected by artificial warming or nutrient enrichment, but it was ten times higher in summer than in winter. 5. SR contributed 24–32% to ER. The SR:ER ratio was generally stimulated by warming and was higher in winter than in summer, especially in the nutrient-enriched mesocosms. 6. Our results indicate that climate warming may lead to higher SR, especially in clear, macrophyte-dominated systems. Moreover, the contribution of SR to ER will increase with higher temperatures, but decrease as the winters get shorter.