Aquatic ecosystems are particularly susceptible to climate change. In collaboration with Tom Pinceel at KU Leuven and Bram Vanschoenwinkel at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, I’ve been involved with several studies on the effect of climate change of freshwater ecosystems.
We showed how invertebrates in temporary aquatic habitats are vilnerable to climate change. Not only will ponds be at greater risk of drying, the demographic resilience of species are jeopardised by higher temperatures. This creates a double-wammy for the biodiversity in temproary ponds and wetlands.
From a human perspective, I have also found that rural communities who depend most on wetland ecosystem service tend to be the same people who are degrading these ecosystems. However, they tend to underestimate their own negative impacts, preferring to blame others instead. This creates governance challenges in the sustainable management of communal wetlands.
Buschke, F.T., Esterhuyse, S., Kemp. M.E., Seaman, M.T., Brendonck, L. & Vanschoenwinkel, B. (2013) The dynamics of mountain rock pools – Are aquatic and terrestrial habitats alternative stable states? Acta Oecologica, 47, 24-29. (Link)