Cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies in Arctic and alpine lakes: implications of global change for remote lakes
Environmental change is continuing to affect the flow of nutrients, material and organisms across ecosystem boundaries. These cross-system flows are termed ecosystem subsidies. Here, we synthesize current knowledge of cross-ecosystem nutrient subsidies between remote lakes and their surrounding terrain, cryosphere, and atmosphere. Remote Arctic and alpine lakes are ideal systems to study the effects of cross ecosystem subsidies because (a) they are positioned in locations experiencing rapid environmental changes, (b) they are ecologically sensitive to even small subsidy changes, (c) they have easily defined ecosystem boundaries, and (d) a variety of standard methods exist that allow for quantification of lake subsidies and their impacts on ecological communities and ecosystem functions. We highlight similarities and differences between Arctic and alpine systems and identify current knowledge gaps to be addressed with future work. It is important to understand the dynamics of nutrient and material flows between lakes and their environments in order to improve our ability to predict ecosystem responses to continued environmental change.