Recent climate-driven, physico-chemical changes documented in aquatic systems throughout the world are expected to intensify in the future. Specifically, changes in key environmental attributes of aquatic systems, such as water quantity, clarity, temperatures, ice cover, seasonal flow regimes, external loading, and oxygen content, will undoubtedly have a broad set of direct and indirect ecological consequences. Some anticipated impacts may be similar across different aquatic ecosystems, while others may be system-specific. Here, we review the potential effects of climatic changes for different freshwater habitats within the state of Indiana, USA, a Midwestern state with diverse land and water features. Given this heterogeneity and that the state is among the southernmost states of the US Midwest, evaluation of freshwater habitats of Indiana provides a useful perspective on potential impacts of climate change. In our study, we first review expected or anticipated changes to physico-chemical and habitat conditions in wetlands, lotic systems, small glacial lakes and Lake Michigan. We then highlight anticipated responses of select aquatic biota to these changes. We describe how climatic changes may interact with other anthropogenic stressors affecting freshwater habitats and consider the potential for evolutionary adaptation of freshwater aquatic organisms to mediate any responses. Given anticipated changes, we suggest aquatic ecosystem managers take a precautionary approach broadly applicable in temperate regions to (a) conserve a diversity of aquatic habitats, (b) enhance species diversity and both inter- and intra-population genetic variation, and (c) limit stressors which may exacerbate the risk of decline for aquatic biota.
freshwater ecosystems, lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, mussels, fish, invertebrates
Date of this Version
Available for download on Monday, November 09, 2020