PROJECTE Alteration of carbon sinks and sources in shrinking inland waters Alter-C


Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI), Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCIN), Ref. PID2020-114024GB-C32




Universitat de Barcelona


Dr. Rafael Marcé


Dr. Daniel Mercado


145.200.- Eur

In many regions of the world, inland waters are currently shrinking due to the combined effects of climate change, water abstraction and other human activities. The sections of river networks showing temporary waters expand and stay dry for longer, lakes and ponds dry out exposing vast areas of formerly flooded sediments, and the water surface of reservoirs shrinks to show larger drawdown areas or to vanish altogether when dams are decommissioned. These emerged sediments are prone to terrestrialization (growth of ephemeral or permanent vegetation). Moreover, the reduced water levels and increased water residence time shifts aquatic metabolism favoring anaerobic metabolic pathways, In parallel, the geochemistry of the system is affected by the alteration of the water budget, modifying the dynamics of mineral precipitation and dissolution between water column and sediments. Consequently, we expect a strong impact of shrinking on the ability of inland waters to sequester carbon (C) from the atmosphere, a relevant service that these ecosystems provide to humans.
The aim of coordinated project Alter-C is to understand how C sinks and sources in inland waters are affected by shrinking in present and future conditions. Alter-C combines state-of-the-art methodologies with an integrative perspective, including river networks, lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, in an ambitious research program that considers the main drivers of inland waters shrinking: climate change, water abstraction, and dam decommissioning.


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