Ecology of Lakes in Boreal and Arctic Environments
Milla Rautio, Ph.D.
My research aims to improve our understanding of the links between carbon, microbial processes, zooplankton communities and food webs in boreal and arctic lakes. Aquatic systems worldwide receive large amounts of organic carbon from terrestrial sources. This external (“allochthonous”) organic carbon has an influence on the physical and chemical properties of freshwater ecosystems, and consequences for biological communities and food web structures. My lab evaluates how landscape and hydrology control the amount and biological availability of carbon in lakes, how the external carbon changes the optical properties of water and how organisms react to different light milieus, and how microbial and plankton communities assimilate different types of carbon and transfer them to higher organisms. The research is carried out along a gradient from boreal forest to shrub tundra and to the high arctic polar desert, spanning a dissolved organic carbon gradient of < 0.5 – > 50 mg C/L. We are developing an expanded and updated characterization of northern aquatic ecosystems, with a special focus on under ice conditions.
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