Environmental variability in aquatic ecosystems: Avenues for future multifactorial experiments

Gerhard M., Koussoroplis A., Raatz M., Pansch C., Fey S. B., Vajedsamiei J., ...More

LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY LETTERS, vol.8, no.2, pp.247-266, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/lol2.10286
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, INSPEC, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.247-266
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The relevance of considering environmental variability for understanding and predicting biological responses to environmental changes has resulted in a recent surge in variability-focused ecological research. However, integration of findings that emerge across studies and identification of remaining knowledge gaps in aquatic ecosystems remain critical. Here, we address these aspects by: (1) summarizing relevant terms of variability research including the components (characteristics) of variability and key interactions when considering multiple environmental factors; (2) identifying conceptual frameworks for understanding the consequences of environmental variability in single and multi-factorial scenarios; (3) highlighting challenges for bridging theoretical and experimental studies involving transitioning from simple to more complex scenarios; (4) proposing improved approaches to overcome current mismatches between theoretical predictions and experimental observations; and (5) providing a guide for designing integrated experiments across multiple scales, degrees of control, and complexity in light of their specific strengths and limitations.