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Combining palaeo-ecology and aquatic sciences to assess ecosystem thresholds to changes in nutrient inputs and climate


Ecosystems can abruptly shift from one state to another contrasting state changing dominance of organisms and overall ecosystem behaviour. Regime shifts often occur after reaching an ecological threshold as driven by an external driver. Land use changes an d the associated increases in anthropogenic nutrient loadings in conjunction with climate are the major drivers of environmental change and have been shown to cause regime shifts in aquatic ecosystems. COMPACT will apply the knowledge of regime shifts from contemporary studies to identify and test for past regime shifts in aquatic ecosystems using data derived from palaeoecological studies analysed through meta-analysis and synthesis activities. This exercise will allow the identification of how these changes affect aquatic ecosystems. This knowledge is fundamental to predict future changes in aquatic ecosystems and to produce forecasts of how extant aquatic ecosystems are likely to respond to nutrient reductions associated with application of the EU Water Framework Directive. The research will be carried out at the GeoBiosphere Centre (CGB), Lund University. The CGB is a unique setting to promote the integrated study of Earth processes and their development in space and time. The research is relevant to European environmental policies, is cutting edge in its concepts and approach, and will act as an excellent platform to educate the next generation of young researchers in Europe. A vigorous multi-disciplinary training program will be established which include s new university courses centred on regime shifts and global environmental change, training, supervision of M.S. and Ph.D. students, synthesis activities through workshops and conferences, and public outreach in partnership with on-going activities at Lund University

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