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Grass, mosses, algae or leaves? Food preference among shredders from open-canopy streams
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
2010 (English)In: Aquatic Ecology, ISSN 1386-2588, E-ISSN 1573-5125, Vol. 44, no 1, p. 195-203Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Shredder feeding is a vital process in making decomposition products available to biota in streams. To investigate which food sources shredders in open-canopy streams exploit, we conducted a feeding preference experiment with the invertebrate detritivores Limnephilus bipunctatus and Nemoura sp., which are commonly found in open-canopy streams on the Swedish island of A-land in the southern Baltic Sea. Leaves of birch, Swedish whitebeam, and shrubby cinquefoil; dead and fresh grass; water moss; and algae were offered to the shredders in multi- and single treatments. We hypothesized that food with high nutritional value would be preferred. Both taxa preferred leaves of shrubby cinquefoil, a bush common in the riparian zone of A-land streams; additionally Nemoura sp. also chose algae. Dead grass, the most abundant food source in the streams during the whole year, was the least consumed food type. The fresh food types had highest nutritional value, measured as carbon to nitrogen content. Therefore, food quality could not alone explain the preference of shrubby cinquefoil. However, among the detritus type offered, shrubby cinquefoil had the highest nutritional value. Shrubby cinquefoil may constitute one important energy source to these open-canopy stream ecosystems and may be essential in maintaining an abundant shredder community in these streams. Thus, the results of this study indicate that detrital resources are indeed important in open-canopy stream systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 44, no 1, p. 195-203
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Science, Aquatic Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-2025DOI: 10.1007/s10452-009-9268-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-2025DiVA, id: diva2:309073
Available from: 2010-04-06 Created: 2010-04-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Revealing the role of shredders and detritus in open-canopy, intermittent streams
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Revealing the role of shredders and detritus in open-canopy, intermittent streams
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many streams run through naturally-unforested, agricultural, and residential landscapes and thus do not have closed riparian canopies. Little is known of food web dynamics and ecosystem function in such open-canopy streams. Similarly, our knowledge of ecosystem processes in intermittent streams and effects of drought on stream ecosystem function are limited, despite that predictions of climate change effects include increased frequency and duration of droughts in freshwaters. The aim of my thesis was to increase our knowledge of invertebrate shredder assemblages and ecosystem function in open-canopy intermittent streams and to reveal the role of terrestrial organic matter in open-canopy streams. Invertebrate shredders, as primary consumers of detritus, significantly contribute to the ecosystem function decomposition of organic matter. Thereby, shredders are important vectors for transferring detrital energy into stream food webs.

I found high-density and species-rich shredder assemblages in three open-canopy intermittent streams on the island of Öland in the southern Baltic Sea, Sweden. My results showed that terrestrially derived organic matter was the shredder’s main food source and the amount of high-quality CPOM potentially limited shredder production. However, through supplementing their feeding with algae, a high shredder production, similar to production estimates in forested permanent streams, could be maintained in these open-canopy intermittent streams. Instead, my results indicate that the primary physical factor constraining shredder production in intermittent streams is the length of the summer drought period. Furthermore, drying simulated as decreasing water levels in an experiment, decreased invertebrate shredder feeding activity and consequently, the breakdown rate of organic matter. Drying also altered a caddisfly shredders’ life cycle phenology and such evident induction of earlier pupation due to drying has not been shown for aquatic insects earlier.

Food webs and ecosystem function and processes in open-canopy and intermittent streams deserve further attention, especially as these types of streams are very common worldwide. My findings indicate that the energy base in open-canopy streams may be terrestrially derived organic matter, as in forested streams, but constraints imposed by habitat traits and differences in organic matter input size may have significant consequences on stream productivity. My results may be important for increased understanding of potential effects of land use changes (i.e. forestry, agriculture, urbanization) and environmental changes (i.e. climate change) on stream ecosystems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University Press, 2010
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 18/2010
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Science, Aquatic Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-2996 (URN)978-91-86491-23-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-28, Fullriggaren, Landgången 4, Kalmar, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-04-23 Created: 2010-04-23 Last updated: 2010-04-23Bibliographically approved

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Leberfinger, KarolinaBohman, Irene

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