Ecological responses to experimental glacier-runoff reduction in alpine rivers

Réponse écologique à une réduction expérimentale des eaux de fonte du glacier dans les rivières alpines

Cauvy Fraunie, S. ; Andino, P. ; Espinosa, R. ; Calvez, R. ; Jacobsen, D. ; Dangles, O.

Type de document
Article de revue scientifique à comité de lecture
Langue
Anglais
Affiliation de l'auteur
IRD UMR EGCE GIF SUR YVETTE FRA ; PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA DEL ECUADOR ECU ; PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA DEL ECUADOR ECU ; IRD UMR GEAU MONTPELLIER FRA ; PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA DEL ECUADOR ECU ; IRD UMR EGCE GIF SUR YVETTE FRA
Année
2016
Résumé / Abstract
Glacier retreat is a worldwide phenomenon with important consequences for the hydrological cycle and downstream ecosystem structure and functioning. To determine the effects of glacier retreat on aquatic communities, we conducted a 4-year flow manipulation in a tropical glacier-fed stream. Compared with an adjacent reference stream, meltwater flow reduction induces significant changes in benthic fauna community composition in less than 2 weeks. Also, both algal and herbivore biomass significantly increase in the manipulated stream as a response to flow reduction. After the flow reduction ceased, the system requires 14–16 months to return to its pre-perturbation state. These results are supported by a multi-stream survey of sites varying in glacial influence, showing an abrupt increase in algal and herbivore biomass below 11% glacier cover in the catchment. This study shows that flow reduction strongly affects glacier-fed stream biota, prefiguring profound ecological effects of ongoing glacier retreat on aquatic systems.
Source
Nature Communications, vol. 7, 12025 p.

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