This project aims to assess how stoichiometry and nutritional quality (measured by concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids, PUFA) of plankton communities in the Baltic coastal ecosystems will alter with increases in inputs of terrestrial organic matter (tOM) and nutrients, and decreases in salinity associated with regional hydrological changes under climate change. By comparing data from clear-water and brown bays used to represent current environmental conditions in current and future climate, respectively, we will specifically address the questions: (Q1) How do stoichiometry and PUFA composition of different seston size classes respond to increases in freshwater inputs and associated tOM and nutrients? (Q2) How is seston stoichiometry coupled with its PUFA composition, and how will this relationship change with nutrient limitation and bacterial to primary production ratios? (Q3) What are the consequences of seston changes for stoichiometric balance and nutritional quality of zooplankton? (Q4) How will the climate-change induced responses of plankton communities vary temporally (i.e. from early to late summer)?
Umeå Marine Sciences Centre