Warmer waters will affect aquatic species. Some species might actually like a few degrees more (like me when I try to swim in Cornwall), while some might be very stressed by warmer temperatures. But what happens when species must compete against each other? I studied how competition between phytoplankton species might change with water temperature and nutrients; and how the traits of the species might help predict “who wins” in a warmer world.
In a world that is warming at unprecedented rates, aquatic ecosystems are affected down to their very foundations, where microscopically small phytoplankton fuel food webs and are major contributors to biogeochemical cycles. We isolated green algae from a mixed, semi-natural mesocosm community after a decade of experimental warming, and find them strikingly different from their ambient-evolved counterparts.
My friend Elisa Schaum talks about our discoveries in a blog post previously published in Nature Ecology and Evolution Community