Potential effects of climate change and eutrophication on a large subtropical shallow lake

C.R. Fragoso, D.M.L. Motta Marques, T. Finkler Ferreira, J.H. Janse, E.H. van Nes

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59 Citations (Scopus)


In many aquatic ecosystems, increased nutrient loading has caused eutrophication, which is reflected in the trophic structure of the ecosystem. In Lake Mangueira, a large shallow subtropical lake in Brazil, nutrient loading has also increased, but it is still unclear what the effects of this increase will be and how this relates to climate change. To evaluate the effects of increased nutrient loadings in such large lake one would need to integrate hydrological and ecological processes into one model, an approach that has rarely been used before. Here, we apply different versions of a complex 3D ecological model, called IPH-TRIM3D-PCLake, which describes the integrated hydrodynamic, water-quality, and biological processes in the lake. First, the nutrient loadings from the watershed were estimated using a separate hydrological water quality model of the watershed based on field data. Second, we calibrated the 3D ecological model for a 6-year monitoring period in the lake using a simplified non-spatial version of the model. Finally, the calibrated ecological model was applied to evaluate the spatial explicit effects of different scenarios of land use, water pumping for irrigation, and climate change. On short term (1.5 year), the system seemed to be rather resilient, probably because of the lake size related to its high inertia. Our simulations indicated warming can increase water transparency in Lake Mangueira which may be related to two factors: (a) the current meso-oligotrophic state of the lake which may easily lead to nutrient limitation; and (b) submerged macrophytes grow during the whole season. The combined effect of climate change and increased nutrient loading, less strong than increased nutrient loading alone. The model can only be used for qualitative predictions of the effect of management scenarios, such as maintenance of water levels in the dry season, and water-pumping rules for irrigation in order to maintain the ecosystem structure and functions in the future under additional stress caused by increased use or climate change
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1348
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • north-atlantic oscillation
  • community structure
  • regime shifts
  • food webs
  • water flow
  • phytoplankton
  • ecosystem
  • dynamics
  • impacts
  • state


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