NKFIH FK 132142 (2019-2023)

Benthic algal composition-extreme climatic events’ relations in the Carpathian Basin

Project leader: Viktória B-Béres

In the last decades, drought duration and severity were increased in the Carpathian Basin endangering natural (biological) and human systems in different ways. Although temporary streams occur in many climate regions, they are widespread in semi-arid to Mediterranean regions. But the even hotter and drier summer and fall predicted in climate change scenarios for the continental region may result an increase in number of intermittent streams. Benthic algae as primary producers have essential role in food web and energy transfer, and their assemblages indicate effectively the changes in environmental conditions. However, only a little information is available how drought modifies community structure and function in biofilm, especially in the continental region. This gap has opened up new perspectives in diatom and community based researches. Thus in this project, drought effects on benthic diatom assemblages will be studied in the Carpathian Basin (i) both in perennial and in intermittent small streams; (ii) in lowland and also in hilly small watercourses; and (iii) during flowing and dry phases in the intermittent streams. In addition, diatom-based water quality will be also assessed. Our results will provide detailed knowledge and improved understanding about diatom communities-extreme climate events relations (basic research approach). Furthermore, our high-value results could also be the basis of strategic decisions, both from conservation biological and economical point of views (applied research approach).