How will multiple stressors impact cold-water lake food webs and their salmonid fishes? (COLDWEBS)

Main funder

Funder's project number: 340901

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 447 650,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2021

Project end date: 31/08/2026


How natural environmental factors and multiple human stressors interact to affect individuals, species populations, communities and ecosystems are fundamental ecological questions, whose understanding is a necessity for sustainable management of natural resources. A particularly promising way to improve understanding of environmental and anthropogenic drivers is to recognize interaction networks in ecological communities and their importance for ecosystem function, resilience and services. Mobile generalist consumers play a particularly important role in food webs and studies of their responses, such as altered density and resource use, is a powerful approach to understanding natural processes and predicting the consequences of human impacts on ecosystems. This is also the case with highly valued salmonid fishes in cold-water, high-latitude and alpine lakes that are vulnerable to rapid environmental changes including climate change, species invasions, habitat degradation and decreased water quality. However, the direct and indirect responses of cold-water lake food webs and salmonid populations to multiple human impacts remain poorly understood. Here, I will study the large-scale effects of natural environmental factors (e.g. ecosystem size, community composition and productivity) and multiple human stressors (e.g. invasive species, hydropower operations and fishing) on food webs and salmonid populations in cold-water lakes using stable isotope and survey fishing data collected from over 100 lakes across Fennoscandia. First, the empirical food web and fish population data allow me to model how natural and anthropogenic factors affect energy flow pathways, food-chain length, and niche width and overlap of fish populations in cold-water lakes. Secondly, I will develop a theoretical allometric trophic network (ATN) model to identify mechanisms that may induce future ecosystem-level regime shifts following species invasions, fishing and abiotic environmental changes in cold-water lakes. Lastly, based on project findings and a meta-analysis of previous research, I will develop guidelines for best practice solutions to mitigate human impacts on cold-water lake food webs and salmonids. This project builds on my special expertise with cold-water lakes and cutting-edge research methods that facilitate innovative scientific study of human–nature interactions and sustainable management of natural resources in cold and remote regions.

Principal Investigator

Other persons related to this project (JYU)

Primary responsible unit

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Last updated on 2022-24-08 at 00:01