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The importance of terrestrial resource subsidies for shredders in open-canopy streams revealed by stable isotope analysis
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences.
2011 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 56, no 3, p. 470-480Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Allochthonous detritus is the major source of energy in forested streams, but less is known of the importance of terrestrial subsidies to open-canopy streams. Here, we used stable isotope analysis to assess the importance of allochthonous versus autochthonous energy sources to invertebrate shredders in four open-canopy streams in Sweden. Shredders and potential food sources were analysed at both open sites and those with deciduous trees in the riparian zone.2. Mixing models showed that allochthonous coarse particulate organic matter was the most important energy source to shredders at both the open and wooded sites, suggesting that terrestrial subsidies may be an important process in open-canopy streams, just as they are in forested streams.3. However, shredders at open sites had a larger proportion of biofilm in their diet than at wooded sites, indicating an ability of shredders to adjust their diet with food availability.4. We also used the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures to assess the size of the feeding niche of shredders. Feeding on both allochthonous and autochthonous sources at open sites was reflected in a larger feeding niche than at wooded sites for one of the three species analysed. There was substantial overlap of the feeding niche among shredder species, indicating a high functional redundancy within this guild.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 56, no 3, p. 470-480
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Science, Aquatic Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-2993DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02512.xScopus ID: 2-s2.0-79551676593OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-2993DiVA, id: diva2:312268
Available from: 2010-04-23 Created: 2010-04-23 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, IreneHerrmann, Jan

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