A new global study sheds light on how interactions between specific characteristics of catchments, such as carbon and pollution, affect aquatic plant diversity and function in freshwater environments.
Human activities and climate change are affecting aquatic plants in ways we are only just beginning to understand. Photo by Ruben Rodriguez Olivares/EBD-CSIC
Driving these changes are human activity and associated pollution: “Anthropogenic changes as a consequence of deforestation, cultivation of land, application of nitrate fertilizers, and reduced atmospheric acid deposition are causing large-scale increases in bicarbonate concentrations,” says the study.
One of the study’s conclusions is that higher bicarbonate concentrations will markedly change species’ composition by allowing tall, fast-growing bicarbonate users to colonize and suppress smaller species adapted to the use of CO2 alone.
Vestergaard says the research “captures the collective effort of a global team of researchers over the past two decades.”