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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:00pm - 4:15pm
SYMPOSIA-16: Lakes as Experimental Systems for Spatial Early Warning Signals

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AUTHORS: Vince L. Butitta, Stephen R. Carpenter, Luke C. Loken – Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Michael L. Pace, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; Emily H. Stanley, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

ABSTRACT: Advancements in ecological theory have benefited greatly from whole-ecosystem experimentation, particularly in lakes. Lakes provide well-defined boundaries, are highly dynamic in time and space, and are relatively easy to replicate. Experimentation, however, has been an underutilized tool in the attempts to understand ecosystem resilience. Much recent work in ecosystem resilience has focused on detecting early warning signals of weakening resilience prior to experiencing an abrupt transition to an alternative ecosystem regime. In our study, we experimentally tested the detectability of theoretically predicted early warning signals during a whole-lake manipulation. We induced a cyanobacteria bloom by adding nutrients to an experimental lake and mapped fine-resolution spatial patterning of cyanobacteria using a mobile sensor platform. Prior to the bloom, we detected spatial early warning signals based on variance and spatial autocorrelation, as well as a new index based on the extreme values. This successful detection of spatial early warning indicators in a lake manipulation despite its fluid nature suggests the potential utility of spatial metrics for signaling ecological thresholds in other ecosystems.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:00pm - 4:15pm CDT
Grant Park Parlor