Project 10

Mitigating negative impacts of extreme events on the sustained provision of lake ecosystem services

Based in: Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)

Objectives: This project will support stakeholders through development of measures that mitigate the negative consequences of extreme events, including toxic cyanobacterial blooms, and runoff induced high nutrient loads. Lowering the trophic status of surface waters is expected to increase resilience against predicted global warming and therewith reduce problematic cyanobacterial blooms. Cost-efficient mitigation calls for a tailor made benefit oriented restoration plan, building on an arsenal of restoration techniques, combined with innovative techniques. A very promising way of moving lakes to an oligo/mesotrophic state is by using geo-engineering techniques that reduce cyanobacterial biomass and bioavailable phosphorus. The overall objective of the project is to test the hypothesis that such rehabilitated waters are not only more resilient to increased water temperatures, but also to pulsed inflows of nutrients. Experiments will be conducted in highly controlled indoor mesocosms – so called “Limnotrons” – that all will start eutrophic, including nutrient rich sediments: half will be treated (rehabilitated) and exposed to four temperatures ranging from low summer (20°C), normal (23°C), warm (26°C) and extreme (29°C). Effects of heat wave events and pulsed summer rain events (dilution and nutrient enrichments) will be studied. In addition, to gain a better understanding of cost-efficient mitigation, the early stage researcher  will have access to HFM data of the catchment area Mark-Vliet-Dintel, and Volkerakzoommeer-Binnenschelde, two areas where rehabilitation projects are ongoing. To detect the negative impacts of episodic events on these degraded systems, a modelling framework will be developed. The results will give a much needed management perspective of both the Dutch water board Brabantse Delta as well as the drinking water company ATLL.

This student will be primarily based in the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Netherlands, supervised by Dr Lisette de Senerpont Domis, and will be co-supervised by and spend study time with Dr Miquel Lurling, Wageningen University, and Dr. Rafa Marcé, Catalan Institute for Water Research, Spain. The PhD will be co-awarded by University of Girona (ES) and Wageningen University (NL).