Climate change is likely to have large impacts on freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem function, especially in cold-water streams. Ecosystem metabolism is affected by water temperature and discharge, both of which are expected to be affected by climate change and, thus, require long-term monitoring to assess alterations in stream function. This study examined ecosystem metabolism in two branches of a trout stream in Minnesota, USA over 3 years. One branch was warmer, allowing the examination of elevated temperature on metabolism. Dissolved oxygen levels were assessed every 10 min from spring through fall in 2017–2019. Gross primary production (GPP) was higher in the colder branch in all years. GPP in both branches was highest before leaf-out in the spring. Ecosystem respiration (ER) was greater in the warmer stream in two of three years. Both streams were heterotrophic in all years (net ecosystem production—NEP < 0). There were significant effects of temperature and light on GPP, ER, and NEP. Stream discharge had a significant impact on all GPP, ER, and NEP in the colder stream, but only on ER and NEP in the warmer stream. This study indicated that the impacts of temperature, light, and discharge differ among years, and, at least at the local scale, may not follow expected patterns.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited