Aquatic Communities

Aquatic insect communities are unlikely to be directly influenced by increased CO2 as much as terrestrial systems are. However, the increased litterfall associated with forest productivity is likely to increase allochthonous (i.e., leaf fall from riparian zones) litter input into forest streams and lakes. Such increased litter input is likely to increase stream insect populations. Litter quality itself, because it does not generally differ between ambient and elevated CO2 treatments, is unlikely to affect aquatic decomposer communities. This has been verified by adding litter from ambient and elevated CO2 to laboratory microcosms (simulated treeholes) and examining effects on eastern treehole mosquitoes, Aedes triseriatus. No differences in mosquito development time or survival were found. However, the elevated water temperatures and precipitation may increase the abundance of disease vectors such as mosquitoes. On the other hand, some cold water species may be reduced in abundance.

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