Warming threatens ecosystems of springs

Springs and mires consisting of several springs are diverse habitats, and valuable to conserve. Their survival is completely dependent on ground water. Recent research shows that ground waters, like lakes and rivers, are vulnerable to changes caused by climate warming.

The University of Oulu ecology research group and researcher doctor Jussi Jyväsjärvi led a recent joint Finnish-Swedish study  on water temperature changes in 66 Fennoscandian springs between 1968-2012. According to their findings, as many as 82 % of these springs became warmer during this period.

This study is the first to show that climate change endangers the diversity of ecosystems dependent on ground waters.

Postdoctoral researcher Jussi Jyväsjärvi says that Finnish biological data shows that only a few degrees of warming in the waters may diminish the number of plant and invertebrate species which have adapted to a cold spring habitat. This causes weakening of diversity, and plant and animal species becoming similar in the upper water reaches.

Judging by the current discharge scenarios, spring waters will become warmer by several degrees during the next few decades.

The results of the study were published in Global Change Biology journal on 6 November 2015.



Last updated: 16.11.2015