Science.gov

Sample records for antarctic food web

  1. Penguin eggshell membranes reflect homogeneity of mercury in the marine food web surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Brasso, Rebecka L; Polito, Michael J; Lynch, Heather J; Naveen, R; Emslie, Steven D

    2012-11-15

    Remote regions such as the Antarctic have become increasingly important for investigations into far-reaching anthropogenic impacts on the environment, most recently in regard to the global mercury cycle. Spatial patterns of mercury availability in four regions of the Antarctic Peninsula were investigated using three species of sympatrically breeding Pygoscelis penguins as biomonitors. Eggshells with intact membranes from Adélie, Gentoo, and Chinstrap penguins were collected at 24 breeding colonies in the South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, eastern Antarctic Peninsula, and western Antarctic Peninsula during the 2006/2007 austral summer. In addition, we compared eggshell membrane mercury concentrations with eggshell stable isotope values (δ(15)N and δ(13)C) to determine if species-specific trophic or foraging habitat preferences influenced female mercury exposure prior to breeding. With few exceptions, mercury concentrations were found to be fairly homogeneous throughout the Antarctic Peninsula suggesting little spatial variation in the risk of exposure to dietary mercury in this food web. Mercury concentrations in Gentoo and Adélie penguins were similar while Chinstrap penguins tended to have higher eggshell membrane mercury concentrations than their congeners. However, inter and intra-specific differences in eggshell membrane mercury concentration were not related to eggshell δ(15)N or δ(13)C values, a likely result of all three species foraging at similar trophic positions. The lack of regional-scale differences in mercury availability in this marine ecosystem may be a reflection of generally uniform atmospheric deposition and upwelling of regionally homogeneous deep water rather than from geographically distinct point sources. PMID:23069932

  2. Effects of sea-ice extent and krill or salp dominance on the Antarctic food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loeb, V.; Siegel, V.; Holm-Hansen, O.; Hewitt, R.; Fraser, W.; Trivelpiece, W.; Trivelpiece, S.

    1997-06-01

    Krill (Euphausia superba) provide a direct link between primary producers and higher trophic levels in the Antarctic marine food web. The pelagic tunicate Salpa thompsoni can also be important during spring and summer through the formation of extensive and dense blooms. Although salps are not a major dietary item for Antarctic vertebrate predators,, their blooms can affect adult krill reproduction and survival of krill larvae. Here we provide data from 1995 and 1996 that support hypothesized relationships between krill, salps and region-wide sea-ice conditions,. We have assessed salp consumption as a proportion of net primary production, and found correlations between herbivore densities and integrated chlorophyll-a that indicate that there is a degree of competition between krill and salps. Our analysis of the relationship between annual sea-ice cover and a longer time series of air temperature measurements, indicates a decreased frequency of winters with extensive sea-ice development over the last five decades. Our data suggest that decreased krill availability may affect the levels of their vertebrate predators. Regional warming and reduced krill abundance therefore affect the marine food web and krill resource management.

  3. Productivity and linkages of the food web of the southern region of the western Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ballerini, Tosca; Hofmann, Eileen E.; Ainley, David G.; Daly, Kendra; Marrari, Marina; Ribic, Christine A.; Smith, Walker O.; Steele, John H.

    2014-03-01

    The productivity and linkages in the food web of the southern region of the west Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf were investigated using a multi-trophic level mass balance model. Data collected during the Southern Ocean Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics field program were combined with data from the literature on the abundance and diet composition of zooplankton, fish, seabirds and marine mammals to calculate energy flows in the food web and to infer the overall food web structure at the annual level. Sensitivity analyses investigated the effects of variability in growth and biomass of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and in the biomass of Antarctic krill predators on the structure and energy fluxes in the food web. Scenario simulations provided insights into the potential responses of the food web to a reduced contribution of large phytoplankton (diatom) production to total primary production, and to reduced consumption of primary production by Antarctic krill and mesozooplankton coincident with increased consumption by microzooplankton and salps. Model-derived estimates of primary production were 187-207 g C m-2 y-1, which are consistent with observed values (47-351 g C m-2 y-1). Simulations showed that Antarctic krill provide the majority of energy needed to sustain seabird and marine mammal production, thereby exerting a bottom-up control on higher trophic level predators. Energy transfer to top predators via mesozooplanton was a less efficient pathway, and salps were a production loss pathway because little of the primary production they consumed was passed to higher trophic levels. Increased predominance of small phytoplankton (nanoflagellates and cryptophytes) reduced the production of Antarctic krill and of its predators, including seabirds and seals.

  4. Winter and spring controls on the summer food web of the coastal West Antarctic Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Saba, Grace K; Fraser, William R; Saba, Vincent S; Iannuzzi, Richard A; Coleman, Kaycee E; Doney, Scott C; Ducklow, Hugh W; Martinson, Douglas G; Miles, Travis N; Patterson-Fraser, Donna L; Stammerjohn, Sharon E; Steinberg, Deborah K; Schofield, Oscar M

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms by which climate variability affects multiple trophic levels in food webs is essential for determining ecosystem responses to climate change. Here we use over two decades of data collected by the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program (PAL-LTER) to determine how large-scale climate and local physical forcing affect phytoplankton, zooplankton and an apex predator along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). We show that positive anomalies in chlorophyll-a (chl-a) at Palmer Station, occurring every 4-6 years, are constrained by physical processes in the preceding winter/spring and a negative phase of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). Favorable conditions for phytoplankton included increased winter ice extent and duration, reduced spring/summer winds, and increased water column stability via enhanced salinity-driven density gradients. Years of positive chl-a anomalies are associated with the initiation of a robust krill cohort the following summer, which is evident in Adélie penguin diets, thus demonstrating tight trophic coupling. Projected climate change in this region may have a significant, negative impact on phytoplankton biomass, krill recruitment and upper trophic level predators in this coastal Antarctic ecosystem. PMID:25000452

  5. Ecological Controls on Biogeochemical Fluxes in the Western Antarctic Peninsula: Long-Term Observations and Inverse Food Web Model Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ducklow, H. W.; Sailley, S. F.; Stammerjohn, S. E.; Saba, G. K.; Doney, S. C.

    2014-12-01

    Sea ice in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region is both highly variable and rapidly changing. In the Palmer Station region, the ice season duration has decreased by 92 days since 1978. The sea-ice changes affect ocean stratification and freshwater balance; and in turn impact every component of the polar marine ecosystem. Long-term observations from the WAP shelf region show a pattern of chlorophyll (Chl) variability with three to five years of negative Chl anomalies interrupted by one or two years of positive anomalies. Observations and results from an inverse food-web model show that these low and high Chl regimes differed significantly from each other, with high primary productivity and net community production (NCP) associated with the high Chl years and vice-versa. Gross primary production averaged 40 mmolC m-2 d-1 in the low Chl years and 100 mmolC m-2 d-1 in the high Chl years, with 30-40% going to NCP across regimes. Only the food web in the southern region in high Chl years was dominated by large phytoplankton and krill, whereas in in all other cases, foodwebs were dominated by small phytoplankton and microzooplankton. These contrasts were strongest between the northern, low Chl years and southern, high Chl years, consistent with earlier north to south observations of sea ice and ecosystem change along the WAP. The relative importance of major bulk carbon flows did not differ substantially between high and low Chl years. Both the northern/low Chl and southern/high Chl regimes had roughly equal proportions of NCP, although its composition reflected shifts in dominance by large versus small plankton. These results suggest that food webs dominated by smaller phytoplankton and grazers have pathways that funnel production into NCP, and likely, export.

  6. Fun With Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Karl D.

    1977-01-01

    Explains an upper elementary game of tag that illustrates energy flow in food webs using candy bars as food sources. A follow-up field trip to a river and five language arts projects are also suggested. (CS)

  7. Community food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2002-01-01

    Community food webs describe the feeding relationships, or trophic interactions, between the species of an ecological community. Both the structure and dynamics of such webs are the focus of food web research. The topological structures of empirical food webs from many ecosystems have been published on the basis of field studies and they form the foundation for theory concerning the mean number of trophic levels, the mean number of trophic connections versus number of species, and other food web measures, which show consistency across different ecosystems. The dynamics of food webs are influenced by indirect interactions, in which changes in the level of a population in one part of the food web may have indirect effects throughout the web. The mechanisms of these interactions are typically studied microcosm experiments, or sometimes in-field experiments. The use of mathematical models is also a major approach to understanding the effects of indirect interactions. Both empirical and mathematical studies have revealed important properties of food webs, such as keystone predators and trophic cascades.

  8. Properties of food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Pimm, S.L.

    1980-04-01

    On the assumption that systems of interacting species, when perturbed from equilibrium, should return to equilibrium quickly, one can predict four properties of food webs: (1) food chains should be short, (2) species feeding on more than one trophic level (omnivores) should be rare, (3) those species that do feed on more than one trophic level should do so by feeding on species in adjacent trophic levels, and (4) host-parasitoid systems are likely to be exceptions to (1)-(3) when interaction coefficients permit greater trophic complexity. By generating random, model food webs (with many features identical to webs described from a variety of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems), it is possible to generate expected values for the number of trophic levels and the degree of omnivory within webs. When compared with these random webs, real world webs are shown to have fewer trophic levels, less omnivory, and very few omnivores feeding on nonadjacent trophic levels. Insect webs are shown to have a greater degree of omnivory than other webs. The confirmation of all these predictions from stability analyses suggests that system stability places necessary, though not sufficient, limitations on the possible shapes of food webs.

  9. Shifts in Ross Sea food web structure as indicated by δ15N and δ13C values of fossil Antarctic seals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leopold, A.; Brault, E.; McMahon, K.

    2013-12-01

    As climate change continues to mount, there is a growing need for understanding its effects on biological-physical interactions of marine ecosystems. Assessing the effects of anthropogenic activities on the coastal marine ecosystem involves understanding the underlying mechanisms driving these changes as well as establishing baselines of the natural system. Preliminary findings have indicated shifts in bulk carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) isotopic values of southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) samples, collected in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica in the Ross Sea region, over approximately the last 7,000 years. These shifts could result from 1) seals changing their foraging location and/or diet over this time, 2) climate change-induced shifts in the biogeochemistry at the base of the food web, or 3) some combination of both processes. We explored the patterns of long-term change in Ross Sea food web structure by examining the stable isotope values of three top predators in this system, Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii), leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx), and crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus). Fossil seal samples were collected in the Dry Valleys during the austral summer of 2012/13 and then analyzed for bulk C and N isotopes via an elemental analyzer/isotope-ratio mass spectrometer (EA/IRMS). Our initial findings indicate that C isotopic values of fossil seal samples from Weddell, leopard, and crabeater seals were more enriched than isotopic values of modern seals of the same species (e.g., δ13C = -22.79 × 0.92 ‰ and -26.71 × 0.50 ‰ for fossil and modern crabeater seals, respectively). Given the relatively consistent diet of crabeater seals, these findings suggest a shift in baseline food web structure occurred over the last 10,000 years, either through changes in foraging location or local shifts in biogeochemistry. For all species, N isotopic values are widely variable (e.g., 7.28 to 16.0 δ15N ‰ for the Weddell seal), which may be a result of

  10. The Great Lakes Food Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Marjane L.

    1997-01-01

    Presents a play for students in grades four to nine that incorporates the scientific names, physical characteristics, feeding habits, interactions, and interdependence of the plants and animals that make up the Great Lakes food web to facilitate the learning of this complex system. Includes a Great Lakes food web chart. (AIM)

  11. The use of stable isotopes for food web analysis.

    PubMed

    Wada, E; Mizutani, H; Minagawa, M

    1991-01-01

    General aspects in isotope biogeochemistry was summarized with emphasis on delta 15N and delta 13C contents in plants and animals in natural ecosystems. In the estuary, the variation of isotope ratios were principally governed by the mixing of land-derived organic matter, marine phytoplankton, and seagrasses. A clear cut linear relationship between animal delta 15N and its trophic level was obtained in the Antarctic food chain system. Several current efforts to use the stable isotopes for food web analysis were demonstrated for some terrestrial and marine systems as well as human food web. PMID:1910519

  12. Insect symbionts in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Lee M.

    2016-01-01

    Recent research has shown that the bacterial endosymbionts of insects are abundant and diverse, and that they have numerous different effects on their hosts' biology. Here we explore how insect endosymbionts might affect the structure and dynamics of insect communities. Using the obligate and facultative symbionts of aphids as an example, we find that there are multiple ways that symbiont presence might affect food web structure. Many symbionts are now known to help their hosts escape or resist natural enemy attack, and others can allow their hosts to withstand abiotic stress or affect host plant use. In addition to the direct effect of symbionts on aphid phenotypes there may be indirect effects mediated through trophic and non-trophic community interactions. We believe that by using data from barcoding studies to identify bacterial symbionts, this extra, microbial dimension to insect food webs can be better elucidated. This article is part of the themed issue ‘From DNA barcodes to biomes’. PMID:27481779

  13. Insect symbionts in food webs.

    PubMed

    McLean, Ailsa H C; Parker, Benjamin J; Hrček, Jan; Henry, Lee M; Godfray, H Charles J

    2016-09-01

    Recent research has shown that the bacterial endosymbionts of insects are abundant and diverse, and that they have numerous different effects on their hosts' biology. Here we explore how insect endosymbionts might affect the structure and dynamics of insect communities. Using the obligate and facultative symbionts of aphids as an example, we find that there are multiple ways that symbiont presence might affect food web structure. Many symbionts are now known to help their hosts escape or resist natural enemy attack, and others can allow their hosts to withstand abiotic stress or affect host plant use. In addition to the direct effect of symbionts on aphid phenotypes there may be indirect effects mediated through trophic and non-trophic community interactions. We believe that by using data from barcoding studies to identify bacterial symbionts, this extra, microbial dimension to insect food webs can be better elucidated.This article is part of the themed issue 'From DNA barcodes to biomes'. PMID:27481779

  14. Modeling the microbial food web.

    PubMed

    Ducklow, H W

    1994-09-01

    Models of the microbial food web have their origin in the debate over the importance of bacteria as an energetic subsidy for higher trophic levels leading to harvestable fisheries. Conceptualization of the microbial food web preceded numerical models by 10-15 years. Pomeroy's work was central to both efforts. Elements necessary for informative and comprehensive models of microbial loops in plankton communities include coupled carbon and nitrogen flows utilizing a size-based approach to structuring and parameterizing the food web. Realistic formulation of nitrogen flows requires recognition that both nitrogenous and nonnitrogenous organic matter are important substrates for bacteria. Nitrogen regeneration driven by simple mass-specific excretion constants seems to overestimate the role of bacteria in the regeneration process. Quantitative assessment of the link-sink question, in which the original loop models are grounded, requires sophisticated analysis of size-based trophic structures. The effects of recycling complicate calculation of the link between bacteria or dissolved organic matter and mesozooplankton, and indirect effects show that the link might be much stronger than simple analyses have suggested. Examples drawn from a series of oceanic mixed layer plankton models are used to illustrate some of these points. Single-size class models related to traditional P-Z-N approaches are incapable of simulating bacterial biomass cycles in some locations (e.g., Bermuda) but appear to be adequate for more strongly seasonal regimes at higher latitudes. PMID:24186459

  15. Where are the parasites in food webs?

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    This review explores some of the reasons why food webs seem to contain relatively few parasite species when compared to the full diversity of free living species in the system. At present, there are few coherent food web theories to guide scientific studies on parasites, and this review posits that the methods, directions and questions in the field of food web ecology are not always congruent with parasitological inquiry. For example, topological analysis (the primary tool in food web studies) focuses on only one of six important steps in trematode life cycles, each of which requires a stable community dynamic to evolve. In addition, these transmission strategies may also utilize pathways within the food web that are not considered in traditional food web investigations. It is asserted that more effort must be focused on parasite-centric models, and a central theme is that many different approaches will be required. One promising approach is the old energetic perspective, which considers energy as the critical resource for all organisms, and the currency of all food web interactions. From the parasitological point of view, energy can be used to characterize the roles of parasites at all levels in the food web, from individuals to populations to community. The literature on parasite energetics in food webs is very sparse, but the evidence suggests that parasite species richness is low in food webs because parasites are limited by the quantity of energy available to their unique lifestyles. PMID:23092160

  16. Phytoplankton fuels Delta food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jassby, Alan D.; Cloern, James E.; Muller-Solger, A. B.

    2003-01-01

    Populations of certain fishes and invertebrates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have declined in abundance in recent decades and there is evidence that food supply is partly responsible. While many sources of organic matter in the Delta could be supporting fish populations indirectly through the food web (including aquatic vegetation and decaying organic matter from agricultural drainage), a careful accounting shows that phytoplankton is the dominant food source. Phytoplankton, communities of microscopic free-floating algae, are the most important food source on a Delta-wide scale when both food quantity and quality are taken into account. These microscopic algae have declined since the late 1960s. Fertilizer and pesticide runoff do not appear to be playing a direct role in long-term phytoplankton changes; rather, species invasions, increasing water transparency and fluctuations in water transport are responsible. Although the potential toxicity of herbicides and pesticides to plank- ton in the Delta is well documented, the ecological significance remains speculative. Nutrient inputs from agricultural runoff at current levels, in combination with increasing transparency, could result in harmful al- gal blooms. 

  17. Climate change: A rewired food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blanchard, Julia L.

    2015-11-01

    Climate change is causing large fish species to move into arctic marine environments. A network analysis finds that these fishes, with their generalist diets, add links to the existing food web that may alter biodiversity and web stability.

  18. Parasites in marine food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2013-01-01

    Most species interactions probably involve parasites. This review considers the extent to which marine ecologists should consider parasites to fully understand marine communities. Parasites are influential parts of food webs in estuaries, temperate reefs, and coral reefs, but their ecological importance is seldom recognized. Though difficult to observe, parasites can have substantial biomass, and they can be just as common as free-living consumers after controlling for body mass and trophic level. Parasites have direct impacts on the energetics of their hosts and some affect host behaviors, with ecosystem-level consequences. Although they cause disease, parasites are sensitive components of ecosystems. In particular, they suffer secondary extinctions due to biodiversity loss. Some parasites can also return to a system after habitat restoration. For these reasons, parasites can make good indicators of ecosystem integrity. Fishing can indirectly increase or decrease parasite populations and the effects of climate change on parasites are likely to be equally as complex.

  19. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels. PMID:26571235

  20. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels. PMID:26571235

  1. Integrating food web diversity, structure and stability.

    PubMed

    Rooney, Neil; McCann, Kevin S

    2012-01-01

    Given the unprecedented rate of species extinctions facing the planet, understanding the causes and consequences of species diversity in ecosystems is of paramount importance. Ecologists have investigated both the influence of environmental variables on species diversity and the influence of species diversity on ecosystem function and stability. These investigations have largely been carried out without taking into account the overarching stabilizing structures of food webs that arise from evolutionary and successional processes and that are maintained through species interactions. Here, we argue that the same large-scale structures that have been purported to convey stability to food webs can also help to understand both the distribution of species diversity in nature and the relationship between species diversity and food web stability. Specifically, the allocation of species diversity to slow energy channels within food webs results in the skewed distribution of interactions strengths that has been shown to confer stability to complex food webs. We end by discussing the processes that might generate and maintain the structured, stable and diverse food webs observed in nature. PMID:21944861

  2. Food Chain to Food Web: A Natural Progression?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webb, Paul; Boltt, Gill

    1990-01-01

    Investigated is the ability of high school pupils and university students to answer questions based on relationships within food webs using sound ecological principles. Research methods used and the results of this study are discussed. (CW)

  3. Simple Rules Yield Complex Food Webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, Neo

    2003-03-01

    Several of the most ambitious theories in ecology describe food webs that document the structure of strong and weak trophic links among diverse assemblages of species. Early mechanism-based theory asserted that food webs have little omnivory and several properties that are independent of species richness. This theory was overturned by empirical studies that found food webs to be much more complex, but these studies did not provide mechanistic explanations for the complexity. Here we show that a remarkably simple model fills this scientific void by successfully predicting key structural properties of the most complex and comprehensive food webs in the primary literature. These properties include the fractions of species at top, intermediate and basal trophic levels, the means and variabilities of generality, vulnerability and food-chain length, and the degrees of cannibalism, omnivory, looping and trophic similarity. More recent tests using an expanded empirical base show that our model also successfully predicts the degrees of separation, degree distributions, and sensitivities to error and attack found in large complex food webs. Using only two empirical parameters, species number and connectance, our `niche model' extends the existing `cascade model' and improves its fit by constraining species to consume a contiguous sequence of prey in a one-dimensional trophic niche. The simplicity and success of the model has allowed new advances in the combined study of the structure and nonlinear dynamics of ecological networks.

  4. Parasites in the Wadden Sea food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thieltges, David W.; Engelsma, Marc Y.; Wendling, Carolin C.; Wegner, K. Mathias

    2013-09-01

    While the free-living fauna of the Wadden Sea has received much interest, little is known on the distribution and effects of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web. However, recent studies on this special type of trophic interaction indicate a high diversity of parasites in the Wadden Sea and suggest a multitude of effects on the hosts. This also includes effects on specific predator-prey relationships and the general structure of the food web. Focussing on molluscs, a major group in the Wadden Sea in terms of biomass and abundance and an important link between primary producers and predators, we review existing studies and exemplify the ecological role of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web. First, we give a brief inventory of parasites occurring in the Wadden Sea, ranging from microparasites (e.g. protozoa, bacteria) to macroparasites (e.g. helminths, parasitic copepods) and discuss the effects of spatial scale on heterogeneities in infection levels. We then demonstrate how parasites can affect host population dynamics by acting as a strong mortality factor, causing mollusc mass mortalities. In addition, we will exemplify how parasites can mediate the interaction strength of predator-prey relationships and affect the topological structure of the Wadden Sea food web as a whole. Finally, we highlight some ongoing changes regarding parasitism in the Wadden Sea in the course of global change (e.g. species introduction, climate change) and identify important future research questions to entangle the role of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web.

  5. Simple rules yield complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Williams, R J; Martinez, N D

    2000-03-01

    Several of the most ambitious theories in ecology describe food webs that document the structure of strong and weak trophic links that is responsible for ecological dynamics among diverse assemblages of species. Early mechanism-based theory asserted that food webs have little omnivory and several properties that are independent of species richness. This theory was overturned by empirical studies that found food webs to be much more complex, but these studies did not provide mechanistic explanations for the complexity. Here we show that a remarkably simple model fills this scientific void by successfully predicting key structural properties of the most complex and comprehensive food webs in the primary literature. These properties include the fractions of species at top, intermediate and basal trophic levels, the means and variabilities of generality, vulnerability and food-chain length, and the degrees of cannibalism, omnivory, looping and trophic similarity. Using only two empirical parameters, species number and connectance, our 'niche model' extends the existing 'cascade model and improves its fit ten-fold by constraining species to consume a contiguous sequence of prey in a one-dimensional trophic niche. PMID:10724169

  6. Simple rules yield complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Richard J.; Martinez, Neo D.

    2000-03-01

    Several of the most ambitious theories in ecology describe food webs that document the structure of strong and weak trophic links that is responsible for ecological dynamics among diverse assemblages of species. Early mechanism-based theory asserted that food webs have little omnivory and several properties that are independent of species richness. This theory was overturned by empirical studies that found food webs to be much more complex, but these studies did not provide mechanistic explanations for the complexity. Here we show that a remarkably simple model fills this scientific void by successfully predicting key structural properties of the most complex and comprehensive food webs in the primary literature. These properties include the fractions of species at top, intermediate and basal trophic levels, the means and variabilities of generality, vulnerability and food-chain length, and the degrees of cannibalism, omnivory, looping and trophic similarity. Using only two empirical parameters, species number and connectance, our `niche model' extends the existing `cascade model' and improves its fit ten-fold by constraining species to consume a contiguous sequence of prey in a one-dimensional trophic niche.

  7. Food Webs in an Estuary.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dunne, Barbara B.

    The Maryland Marine Science Education Project has produced a series of mini-units in marine science education for the junior high/middle school classroom. This unit focuses on food chains in an estuary. Although the unit specifically treats the Chesapeake Bay, it may be adapted for use with similar estuarine systems. In addition, the unit may be…

  8. IsoWeb: A Bayesian Isotope Mixing Model for Diet Analysis of the Whole Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Kadoya, Taku; Osada, Yutaka; Takimoto, Gaku

    2012-01-01

    Quantitative description of food webs provides fundamental information for the understanding of population, community, and ecosystem dynamics. Recently, stable isotope mixing models have been widely used to quantify dietary proportions of different food resources to a focal consumer. Here we propose a novel mixing model (IsoWeb) that estimates diet proportions of all consumers in a food web based on stable isotope information. IsoWeb requires a topological description of a food web, and stable isotope signatures of all consumers and resources in the web. A merit of IsoWeb is that it takes into account variation in trophic enrichment factors among different consumer-resource links. Sensitivity analysis using realistic hypothetical food webs suggests that IsoWeb is applicable to a wide variety of food webs differing in the number of species, connectance, sample size, and data variability. Sensitivity analysis based on real topological webs showed that IsoWeb can allow for a certain level of topological uncertainty in target food webs, including erroneously assuming false links, omission of existent links and species, and trophic aggregation into trophospecies. Moreover, using an illustrative application to a real food web, we demonstrated that IsoWeb can compare the plausibility of different candidate topologies for a focal web. These results suggest that IsoWeb provides a powerful tool to analyze food-web structure from stable isotope data. We provide R and BUGS codes to aid efficient applications of IsoWeb. PMID:22848427

  9. Linking structure and function in food webs: maximization of different ecological functions generates distinct food web structures.

    PubMed

    Yen, Jian D L; Cabral, Reniel B; Cantor, Mauricio; Hatton, Ian; Kortsch, Susanne; Patrício, Joana; Yamamichi, Masato

    2016-03-01

    Trophic interactions are central to ecosystem functioning, but the link between food web structure and ecosystem functioning remains obscure. Regularities (i.e. consistent patterns) in food web structure suggest the possibility of regularities in ecosystem functioning, which might be used to relate structure to function. We introduce a novel, genetic algorithm approach to simulate food webs with maximized throughput (a proxy for ecosystem functioning) and compare the structure of these simulated food webs to real empirical food webs using common metrics of food web structure. We repeat this analysis using robustness to secondary extinctions (a proxy for ecosystem resilience) instead of throughput to determine the relative contributions of ecosystem functioning and ecosystem resilience to food web structure. Simulated food webs that maximized robustness were similar to real food webs when connectance (i.e. levels of interaction across the food web) was high, but this result did not extend to food webs with low connectance. Simulated food webs that maximized throughput or a combination of throughput and robustness were not similar to any real food webs. Simulated maximum-throughput food webs differed markedly from maximum-robustness food webs, which suggests that maximizing different ecological functions can generate distinct food web structures. Based on our results, food web structure would appear to have a stronger relationship with ecosystem resilience than with ecosystem throughput. Our genetic algorithm approach is general and is well suited to large, realistically complex food webs. Genetic algorithms can incorporate constraints on structure and can generate outputs that can be compared directly to empirical data. Our method can be used to explore a range of maximization or minimization hypotheses, providing new perspectives on the links between structure and function in ecological systems. PMID:26749320

  10. DEEPWATER AND NEARSHORE FOOD WEB CHARACTERIZATIONS IN LAKE SUPERIOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Due to the difficulty associated with sampling deep aquatic systems, food web relationships among deepwater fauna are often poorly known. We are characterizing nearshore versus offshore habitats in the Great Lakes and investigating food web linkages among profundal, pelagic, and ...

  11. Mycoloop: chytrids in aquatic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Kagami, Maiko; Miki, Takeshi; Takimoto, Gaku

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are ecologically significant in various ecosystems through their role in shaping food web structure, facilitating energy transfer, and controlling disease. Here in this review, we mainly focus on parasitic chytrids, the dominant parasites in aquatic ecosystems, and explain their roles in aquatic food webs, particularly as prey for zooplankton. Chytrids have a free-living zoosporic stage, during which they actively search for new hosts. Zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size, shape, and nutritional quality. In the field, densities of chytrids can be high, ranging from 101 to 109 spores L−1. When large inedible phytoplankton species are infected by chytrids, nutrients within host cells are transferred to zooplankton via the zoospores of parasitic chytrids. This new pathway, the “mycoloop,” may play an important role in shaping aquatic ecosystems, by altering sinking fluxes or determining system stability. The grazing of zoospores by zooplankton may also suppress outbreaks of parasitic chytrids. A food web model demonstrated that the contribution of the mycoloop to zooplankton production increased with nutrient availability and was also dependent on the stability of the system. Further studies with advanced molecular tools are likely to discover greater chytrid diversity and evidence of additional mycoloops in lakes and oceans. PMID:24795703

  12. Mycoloop: chytrids in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Kagami, Maiko; Miki, Takeshi; Takimoto, Gaku

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are ecologically significant in various ecosystems through their role in shaping food web structure, facilitating energy transfer, and controlling disease. Here in this review, we mainly focus on parasitic chytrids, the dominant parasites in aquatic ecosystems, and explain their roles in aquatic food webs, particularly as prey for zooplankton. Chytrids have a free-living zoosporic stage, during which they actively search for new hosts. Zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size, shape, and nutritional quality. In the field, densities of chytrids can be high, ranging from 10(1) to 10(9) spores L(-1). When large inedible phytoplankton species are infected by chytrids, nutrients within host cells are transferred to zooplankton via the zoospores of parasitic chytrids. This new pathway, the "mycoloop," may play an important role in shaping aquatic ecosystems, by altering sinking fluxes or determining system stability. The grazing of zoospores by zooplankton may also suppress outbreaks of parasitic chytrids. A food web model demonstrated that the contribution of the mycoloop to zooplankton production increased with nutrient availability and was also dependent on the stability of the system. Further studies with advanced molecular tools are likely to discover greater chytrid diversity and evidence of additional mycoloops in lakes and oceans. PMID:24795703

  13. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A.

    2014-01-01

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence—a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce—is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May’s paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation. PMID:25468963

  14. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A

    2014-12-16

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence--a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce--is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May's paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation. PMID:25468963

  15. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links.

    PubMed

    Lafferty, Kevin D; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J; De Leo, Giulio; Dobson, Andrew P; Dunne, Jennifer A; Johnson, Pieter T J; Kuris, Armand M; Marcogliese, David J; Martinez, Neo D; Memmott, Jane; Marquet, Pablo A; McLaughlin, John P; Mordecai, Erin A; Pascual, Mercedes; Poulin, Robert; Thieltges, David W

    2008-06-01

    Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists. PMID:18462196

  16. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

    PubMed Central

    Lafferty, Kevin D; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J; De Leo, Giulio; Dobson, Andrew P; Dunne, Jennifer A; Johnson, Pieter T J; Kuris, Armand M; Marcogliese, David J; Martinez, Neo D; Memmott, Jane; Marquet, Pablo A; McLaughlin, John P; Mordecai, Erin A; Pascual, Mercedes; Poulin, Robert; Thieltges, David W

    2008-01-01

    Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists. PMID:18462196

  17. Current trends in food web theory report on a food web workshop. Environmental Sciences Division Publication No. 2224

    SciTech Connect

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Post, W.M.; Sugihara, G.

    1983-10-01

    This report summarizes the Food Web Workshop, held at Fontana Village Inn, October 25-27, 1982. The objective of the workshop was to review and assess recent progress in the understanding of ecological food webs. The workshop focused on three main areas: (1) what has been observed of food web patterns (food chain length, intervality, predator-prey ratios, etc.), (2) processes involved in food chains (energy flow and nutrient cycles), and (3) the dynamic behavior of food webs (Lyapunov stability, resilience, etc.). The introduction reviews some of the important contributions to food web theory during the past decade. The synopses of the presentations by invited speakers address many of the specific themes in current thought on food webs.

  18. Gaining insight into food webs reconstructed by the inverse method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kones, Julius K.; Soetaert, Karline; van Oevelen, Dick; Owino, John O.; Mavuti, Kenneth

    2006-04-01

    The use of the inverse method to analyze flow patterns of organic components in ecological systems has had wide application in ecological modeling. Through this approach, an infinite number of food web flows describing the food web and satisfying biological constraints are generated, from which one (parsimonious) solution is drawn. Here we address two questions: (1) is there justification for the use of the parsimonious solution or is there a better alternative and (2) can we use the infinitely many solutions that describe the same food web to give more insight into the system? We reassess two published food webs, from the Gulf of Riga in the Baltic Sea and the Takapoto Atoll lagoon in the South Pacific. A finite number of random food web solutions is first generated using the Monte Carlo simulation technique. Using the Wilcoxon signed ranks test, we cannot find significant differences in the parsimonious solution and the average values of the finite random solutions generated. However, as the food web composed of the average flows has more attractive properties, the choice of the parsimonious solution to describe underdetermined food webs is challenged. We further demonstrate the use of the factor analysis technique to characterize flows that are closely related in the food web. Through this process sub-food webs are extracted within the plausible set of food webs, a property that can be utilized to gain insight into the sampling strategy for further constraining of the model.

  19. Simulation approach to understanding the processes that structure food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Jager, H.I.; Gardner, R.H.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Post, W.M.

    1984-08-01

    A simulation model of food web dynamics, WEB, was constructed and used in Monte Carlo experiments to study the relationship between structure and function in food webs. Four main experiments were designed using WEB. The first tested the robustness of food web structures at equilibrium to variations in the functional response of predators in the food web to the densities of their prey. The second experiment clarified the roles of predation and resource limitation in the process of structuring food webs. A third experiment studied the influence of productivity on food web structure and function using simulated food webs. The final experiment was designed to study the differential successes of generalists and specialists. The main advantage gained by using a simulation approach in each of these experiments was the ability to assess the roles played by processes of predation and competition in structuring model food webs. This was accomplished by interpreting the order of extinction events that occurred in the simulations and relating these to the species configurations at equilibrium. 61 references, 23 figures.

  20. Consequences of symbiosis for food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Kooi, B W; Kuijper, L D J; Kooijman, S A L M

    2004-09-01

    Basic Lotka-Volterra type models in which mutualism (a type of symbiosis where the two populations benefit both) is taken into account, may give unbounded solutions. We exclude such behaviour using explicit mass balances and study the consequences of symbiosis for the long-term dynamic behaviour of a three species system, two prey and one predator species in the chemostat. We compose a theoretical food web where a predator feeds on two prey species that have a symbiotic relationships. In addition to a species-specific resource, the two prey populations consume the products of the partner population as well. In turn, a common predator forages on these prey populations. The temporal change in the biomass and the nutrient densities in the reactor is described by ordinary differential equations (ODE). Since products are recycled, the dynamics of these abiotic materials must be taken into account as well, and they are described by odes in a similar way as the abiotic nutrients. We use numerical bifurcation analysis to assess the long-term dynamic behaviour for varying degrees of symbiosis. Attractors can be equilibria, limit cycles and chaotic attractors depending on the control parameters of the chemostat reactor. These control parameters that can be experimentally manipulated are the nutrient density of the inflow medium and the dilution rate. Bifurcation diagrams for the three species web with a facultative symbiotic association between the two prey populations, are similar to that of a bi-trophic food chain; nutrient enrichment leads to oscillatory behaviour. Predation combined with obligatory symbiotic prey-interactions has a stabilizing effect, that is, there is stable coexistence in a larger part of the parameter space than for a bi-trophic food chain. However, combined with a large growth rate of the predator, the food web can persist only in a relatively small region of the parameter space. Then, two zero-pair bifurcation points are the organizing centers. In

  1. Characteristics of Food Industry Web Sites and "Advergames" Targeting Children

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Culp, Jennifer; Bell, Robert A.; Cassady, Diana

    2010-01-01

    Objective: To assess the content of food industry Web sites targeting children by describing strategies used to prolong their visits and foster brand loyalty; and to document health-promoting messages on these Web sites. Design: A content analysis was conducted of Web sites advertised on 2 children's networks, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A…

  2. A "Bottom-Up" Approach to Food Web Construction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demetriou, Dorita; Korfiatis, Konstantinos; Constantinou, Constantinos

    2009-01-01

    The ability to comprehend trophic (nutritional) relationships and food web dynamics is an essential part of environmental literacy. However, students face severe difficulties in grasping the variety of causal patterns in food webs. We propose a curriculum for comprehending trophic relations in elementary school. The curriculum allows students to…

  3. A role for brain size and cognition in food webs.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, Nicholas B; Laberge, Frédéric; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-08-01

    Predators tend to be large and mobile, enabling them to forage in spatially distinct food web compartments (e.g. littoral and pelagic aquatic macrohabitats). This feature can stabilise ecosystems when predators are capable of rapid behavioural response to changing resource conditions in distinct habitat compartments. However, what provides this ability to respond behaviourally has not been quantified. We hypothesised that predators require increased cognitive abilities to occupy their position in a food web, which puts pressure to increase brain size. Consistent with food web theory, we found that fish relative brain size increased with increased ability to forage across macrohabitats and increased relative trophic positions in a lacustrine food web, indicating that larger brains may afford the cognitive capacity to exploit various habitats flexibly, thus contributing to the stability of whole food webs. PMID:27339557

  4. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-01-01

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which 'larger' species consume 'smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation. PMID:26198207

  5. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs

    PubMed Central

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-01-01

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which ‘larger' species consume ‘smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation. PMID:26198207

  6. Food-web dynamics in a large river discontinuum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cross, Wyatt F.; Baxter, Colden V.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.; Hall, Robert O., Jr.; Kennedy, Theodore A.; Donner, Kevin C.; Kelly, Holly A. Wellard; Seegert, Sarah E.Z.; Behn, Kathrine E.; Yard, Michael D.

    2013-01-01

    Nearly all ecosystems have been altered by human activities, and most communities are now composed of interacting species that have not co-evolved. These changes may modify species interactions, energy and material flows, and food-web stability. Although structural changes to ecosystems have been widely reported, few studies have linked such changes to dynamic food-web attributes and patterns of energy flow. Moreover, there have been few tests of food-web stability theory in highly disturbed and intensely managed freshwater ecosystems. Such synthetic approaches are needed for predicting the future trajectory of ecosystems, including how they may respond to natural or anthropogenic perturbations. We constructed flow food webs at six locations along a 386-km segment of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) for three years. We characterized food-web structure and production, trophic basis of production, energy efficiencies, and interaction-strength distributions across a spatial gradient of perturbation (i.e., distance from Glen Canyon Dam), as well as before and after an experimental flood. We found strong longitudinal patterns in food-web characteristics that strongly correlated with the spatial position of large tributaries. Above tributaries, food webs were dominated by nonnative New Zealand mudsnails (62% of production) and nonnative rainbow trout (100% of fish production). The simple structure of these food webs led to few dominant energy pathways (diatoms to few invertebrate taxa to rainbow trout), large energy inefficiencies (i.e., Below large tributaries, invertebrate production declined ∼18-fold, while fish production remained similar to upstream sites and comprised predominately native taxa (80–100% of production). Sites below large tributaries had increasingly reticulate and detritus-based food webs with a higher prevalence of omnivory, as well as interaction strength distributions more typical of theoretically stable food webs (i

  7. Amphipod-supported food web: Themisto gaudichaudii, a key food resource for fishes in the southern Patagonian Shelf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Padovani, Luciano N.; Viñas, María Delia; Sánchez, Felisa; Mianzan, Hermes

    2012-01-01

    The trophic role of the hyperiid amphipod Themisto gaudichaudii in the southern Patagonian shelf food web was assessed from the analysis of stomach contents of the local fish assemblage. A total of 461 trawl samples were collected during seven seasonal cruises. A total of 17 out of 38 fish species were found to ingest T. gaudichaudii. This amphipod was a main prey item in five of these species, showing high values of alimentary index: Seriolella porosa (99.9%), Macruronus magellanicus (68.8%), Micromesistius australis (59.1%), Patagonotothen ramsayi (48.6%), and Merluccius hubbsi (10.9%). The contribution of T. gaudichaudii, in weight, to their summer diet was 60%, on average. This contribution was minimal in winter and maximal in summer. Fisheries studies have indicated that these five species, mainly M. magellanicus, account for almost 85% of the fish biomass in the area. Although the remaining 15% did not feed heavily on T. gaudichaudii, they are known to prey on the main hyperiid predators. Our study shows that T. gaudichaudii contributes greatly, both directly and indirectly, to supporting the fish community. We thus proposed that T. gaudichaudii plays a key role as a "wasp-waist" species in the sub-Antarctic region, similar to that of krill in Antarctic waters, channeling the energy flow and enabling a short and efficient food chain.

  8. Food marketing on popular children's web sites: a content analysis.

    PubMed

    Alvy, Lisa M; Calvert, Sandra L

    2008-04-01

    In 2006 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that food marketing was a contributor to childhood obesity in the United States. One recommendation of the IOM committee was for research on newer marketing venues, such as Internet Web sites. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to answer the IOM's call by examining food marketing on popular children's Web sites. Ten Web sites were selected based on market research conducted by KidSay, which identified favorite sites of children aged 8 to 11 years during February 2005. Using a standardized coding form, these sites were examined page by page for the existence, type, and features of food marketing. Web sites were compared using chi2 analyses. Although food marketing was not pervasive on the majority of the sites, seven of the 10 Web sites contained food marketing. The products marketed were primarily candy, cereal, quick serve restaurants, and snacks. Candystand.com, a food product site, contained a significantly greater amount of food marketing than the other popular children's Web sites. Because the foods marketed to children are not consistent with a healthful diet, nutrition professionals should consider joining advocacy groups to pressure industry to reduce online food marketing directed at youth. PMID:18375231

  9. Adaptations in a hierarchical food web of southeastern Lake Michigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krause, Ann E.; Frank, Ken A.; Jones, Michael L.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Barbiero, Richard P.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Agy, Megan; Evans, Marlene S.; Taylor, William W.; Mason, Doran M.; Leonard, Nancy J.

    2009-01-01

    Two issues in ecological network theory are: (1) how to construct an ecological network model and (2) how do entire networks (as opposed to individual species) adapt to changing conditions? We present a novel method for constructing an ecological network model for the food web of southeastern Lake Michigan (USA) and we identify changes in key system properties that are large relative to their uncertainty as this ecological network adapts from one time point to a second time point in response to multiple perturbations. To construct our food web for southeastern Lake Michigan, we followed the list of seven recommendations outlined in Cohen et al. [Cohen, J.E., et al., 1993. Improving food webs. Ecology 74, 252–258] for improving food webs. We explored two inter-related extensions of hierarchical system theory with our food web; the first one was that subsystems react to perturbations independently in the short-term and the second one was that a system's properties change at a slower rate than its subsystems’ properties. We used Shannon's equations to provide quantitative versions of the basic food web properties: number of prey, number of predators, number of feeding links, and connectance (or density). We then compared these properties between the two time-periods by developing distributions of each property for each time period that took uncertainty about the property into account. We compared these distributions, and concluded that non-overlapping distributions indicated changes in these properties that were large relative to their uncertainty. Two subsystems were identified within our food web system structure (p < 0.001). One subsystem had more non-overlapping distributions in food web properties between Time 1 and Time 2 than the other subsystem. The overall system had all overlapping distributions in food web properties between Time 1 and Time 2. These results supported both extensions of hierarchical systems theory. Interestingly, the subsystem with more

  10. Isotopic Diversity Indices: How Sensitive to Food Web Structure?

    PubMed Central

    Brind'Amour, Anik; Dubois, Stanislas F.

    2013-01-01

    Recently revisited, the concept of niche ecology has lead to the formalisation of functional and trophic niches using stable isotope ratios. Isotopic diversity indices (IDI) derived from a set of measures assessing the dispersion/distribution of points in the δ-space were recently suggested and increasingly used in the literature. However, three main critics emerge from the use of these IDI: 1) they fail to account for the isotopic sources overlap, 2) some indices are highly sensitive to the number of species and/or the presence of rare species, and 3) the lack of standardization prevents any spatial and temporal comparisons. Using simulations we investigated the ability of six commonly used IDI to discriminate among different trophic food web structures, with a focus on the first two critics. We tested the sensitivity of the IDI to five food web structures along a gradient of sources overlap, varying from two distinct food chains with differentiated sources to two superimposed food chains sharing two sources. For each of the food web structure we varied the number of species (from 10 to 100 species) and the type of species feeding behaviour (i.e. random or selective feeding). Values of IDI were generally larger in food webs with distinct basal sources and tended to decrease as the superimposition of the food chains increased. This was more pronounced when species displayed food preferences in comparison to food webs where species fed randomly on any prey. The number of species composing the food web also had strong effects on the metrics, including those that were supposedly less sensitive to small sample size. In all cases, computing IDI on food webs with low numbers of species always increases the uncertainty of the metrics. A threshold of ∼20 species was detected above which several metrics can be safely used. PMID:24391910

  11. Isotopic diversity indices: how sensitive to food web structure?

    PubMed

    Brind'Amour, Anik; Dubois, Stanislas F

    2013-01-01

    Recently revisited, the concept of niche ecology has lead to the formalisation of functional and trophic niches using stable isotope ratios. Isotopic diversity indices (IDI) derived from a set of measures assessing the dispersion/distribution of points in the δ-space were recently suggested and increasingly used in the literature. However, three main critics emerge from the use of these IDI: 1) they fail to account for the isotopic sources overlap, 2) some indices are highly sensitive to the number of species and/or the presence of rare species, and 3) the lack of standardization prevents any spatial and temporal comparisons. Using simulations we investigated the ability of six commonly used IDI to discriminate among different trophic food web structures, with a focus on the first two critics. We tested the sensitivity of the IDI to five food web structures along a gradient of sources overlap, varying from two distinct food chains with differentiated sources to two superimposed food chains sharing two sources. For each of the food web structure we varied the number of species (from 10 to 100 species) and the type of species feeding behaviour (i.e. random or selective feeding). Values of IDI were generally larger in food webs with distinct basal sources and tended to decrease as the superimposition of the food chains increased. This was more pronounced when species displayed food preferences in comparison to food webs where species fed randomly on any prey. The number of species composing the food web also had strong effects on the metrics, including those that were supposedly less sensitive to small sample size. In all cases, computing IDI on food webs with low numbers of species always increases the uncertainty of the metrics. A threshold of ~20 species was detected above which several metrics can be safely used. PMID:24391910

  12. Compilation and network analyses of cambrian food webs.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Williams, Richard J; Martinez, Neo D; Wood, Rachel A; Erwin, Douglas H

    2008-04-29

    A rich body of empirically grounded theory has developed about food webs--the networks of feeding relationships among species within habitats. However, detailed food-web data and analyses are lacking for ancient ecosystems, largely because of the low resolution of taxa coupled with uncertain and incomplete information about feeding interactions. These impediments appear insurmountable for most fossil assemblages; however, a few assemblages with excellent soft-body preservation across trophic levels are candidates for food-web data compilation and topological analysis. Here we present plausible, detailed food webs for the Chengjiang and Burgess Shale assemblages from the Cambrian Period. Analyses of degree distributions and other structural network properties, including sensitivity analyses of the effects of uncertainty associated with Cambrian diet designations, suggest that these early Paleozoic communities share remarkably similar topology with modern food webs. Observed regularities reflect a systematic dependence of structure on the numbers of taxa and links in a web. Most aspects of Cambrian food-web structure are well-characterized by a simple "niche model," which was developed for modern food webs and takes into account this scale dependence. However, a few aspects of topology differ between the ancient and recent webs: longer path lengths between species and more species in feeding loops in the earlier Chengjiang web, and higher variability in the number of links per species for both Cambrian webs. Our results are relatively insensitive to the exclusion of low-certainty or random links. The many similarities between Cambrian and recent food webs point toward surprisingly strong and enduring constraints on the organization of complex feeding interactions among metazoan species. The few differences could reflect a transition to more strongly integrated and constrained trophic organization within ecosystems following the rapid diversification of species, body

  13. Tracking contaminant flux from aquatic to terrestrial food webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic insects provide a critical energy subsidy to riparian food webs, yet their role as vectors of contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems is poorly understood. We investigated aquatic resource utilization and contaminant exposure among riparian invertivores (spiders and herpt...

  14. Using food-web theory to conserve ecosystems.

    PubMed

    McDonald-Madden, E; Sabbadin, R; Game, E T; Baxter, P W J; Chadès, I; Possingham, H P

    2016-01-01

    Food-web theory can be a powerful guide to the management of complex ecosystems. However, we show that indices of species importance common in food-web and network theory can be a poor guide to ecosystem management, resulting in significantly more extinctions than necessary. We use Bayesian Networks and Constrained Combinatorial Optimization to find optimal management strategies for a wide range of real and hypothetical food webs. This Artificial Intelligence approach provides the ability to test the performance of any index for prioritizing species management in a network. While no single network theory index provides an appropriate guide to management for all food webs, a modified version of the Google PageRank algorithm reliably minimizes the chance and severity of negative outcomes. Our analysis shows that by prioritizing ecosystem management based on the network-wide impact of species protection rather than species loss, we can substantially improve conservation outcomes. PMID:26776253

  15. Using food-web theory to conserve ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    McDonald-Madden, E.; Sabbadin, R.; Game, E. T.; Baxter, P. W. J.; Chadès, I.; Possingham, H. P.

    2016-01-01

    Food-web theory can be a powerful guide to the management of complex ecosystems. However, we show that indices of species importance common in food-web and network theory can be a poor guide to ecosystem management, resulting in significantly more extinctions than necessary. We use Bayesian Networks and Constrained Combinatorial Optimization to find optimal management strategies for a wide range of real and hypothetical food webs. This Artificial Intelligence approach provides the ability to test the performance of any index for prioritizing species management in a network. While no single network theory index provides an appropriate guide to management for all food webs, a modified version of the Google PageRank algorithm reliably minimizes the chance and severity of negative outcomes. Our analysis shows that by prioritizing ecosystem management based on the network-wide impact of species protection rather than species loss, we can substantially improve conservation outcomes. PMID:26776253

  16. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web

    PubMed Central

    Wirta, Helena K; Vesterinen, Eero J; Hambäck, Peter A; Weingartner, Elisabeth; Rasmussen, Claus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Schmidt, Niels M; Gilg, Olivier; Roslin, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    How food webs are structured has major implications for their stability and dynamics. While poorly studied to date, arctic food webs are commonly assumed to be simple in structure, with few links per species. If this is the case, then different parts of the web may be weakly connected to each other, with populations and species united by only a low number of links. We provide the first highly resolved description of trophic link structure for a large part of a high-arctic food web. For this purpose, we apply a combination of recent techniques to describing the links between three predator guilds (insectivorous birds, spiders, and lepidopteran parasitoids) and their two dominant prey orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera). The resultant web shows a dense link structure and no compartmentalization or modularity across the three predator guilds. Thus, both individual predators and predator guilds tap heavily into the prey community of each other, offering versatile scope for indirect interactions across different parts of the web. The current description of a first but single arctic web may serve as a benchmark toward which to gauge future webs resolved by similar techniques. Targeting an unusual breadth of predator guilds, and relying on techniques with a high resolution, it suggests that species in this web are closely connected. Thus, our findings call for similar explorations of link structure across multiple guilds in both arctic and other webs. From an applied perspective, our description of an arctic web suggests new avenues for understanding how arctic food webs are built and function and of how they respond to current climate change. It suggests that to comprehend the community-level consequences of rapid arctic warming, we should turn from analyses of populations, population pairs, and isolated predator–prey interactions to considering the full set of interacting species. PMID:26380710

  17. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web.

    PubMed

    Wirta, Helena K; Vesterinen, Eero J; Hambäck, Peter A; Weingartner, Elisabeth; Rasmussen, Claus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Schmidt, Niels M; Gilg, Olivier; Roslin, Tomas

    2015-09-01

    How food webs are structured has major implications for their stability and dynamics. While poorly studied to date, arctic food webs are commonly assumed to be simple in structure, with few links per species. If this is the case, then different parts of the web may be weakly connected to each other, with populations and species united by only a low number of links. We provide the first highly resolved description of trophic link structure for a large part of a high-arctic food web. For this purpose, we apply a combination of recent techniques to describing the links between three predator guilds (insectivorous birds, spiders, and lepidopteran parasitoids) and their two dominant prey orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera). The resultant web shows a dense link structure and no compartmentalization or modularity across the three predator guilds. Thus, both individual predators and predator guilds tap heavily into the prey community of each other, offering versatile scope for indirect interactions across different parts of the web. The current description of a first but single arctic web may serve as a benchmark toward which to gauge future webs resolved by similar techniques. Targeting an unusual breadth of predator guilds, and relying on techniques with a high resolution, it suggests that species in this web are closely connected. Thus, our findings call for similar explorations of link structure across multiple guilds in both arctic and other webs. From an applied perspective, our description of an arctic web suggests new avenues for understanding how arctic food webs are built and function and of how they respond to current climate change. It suggests that to comprehend the community-level consequences of rapid arctic warming, we should turn from analyses of populations, population pairs, and isolated predator-prey interactions to considering the full set of interacting species. PMID:26380710

  18. Barcoding a Quantified Food Web: Crypsis, Concepts, Ecology and Hypotheses

    PubMed Central

    Smith, M. Alex; Eveleigh, Eldon S.; McCann, Kevin S.; Merilo, Mark T.; McCarthy, Peter C.; Van Rooyen, Kathleen I.

    2011-01-01

    The efficient and effective monitoring of individuals and populations is critically dependent on correct species identification. While this point may seem obvious, identifying the majority of the more than 100 natural enemies involved in the spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana – SBW) food web remains a non-trivial endeavor. Insect parasitoids play a major role in the processes governing the population dynamics of SBW throughout eastern North America. However, these species are at the leading edge of the taxonomic impediment and integrating standardized identification capacity into existing field programs would provide clear benefits. We asked to what extent DNA barcoding the SBW food web would alter our understanding of the diversity and connectence of the food web and the frequency of generalists vs. specialists in different forest habitats. We DNA barcoded over 10% of the insects collected from the SBW food web in three New Brunswick forest plots from 1983 to 1993. For 30% of these specimens, we amplified at least one additional nuclear region. When the nodes of the food web were estimated based on barcode divergences (using molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTU) or phylogenetic diversity (PD) – the food web became much more diverse and connectence was reduced. We tested one measure of food web structure (the “bird feeder effect”) and found no difference compared to the morphologically based predictions. Many, but not all, of the presumably polyphagous parasitoids now appear to be morphologically-cryptic host-specialists. To our knowledge, this project is the first to barcode a food web in which interactions have already been well-documented and described in space, time and abundance. It is poised to be a system in which field-based methods permit the identification capacity required by forestry scientists. Food web barcoding provided an effective tool for the accurate identification of all species involved in the cascading effects of future

  19. Compilation and Network Analyses of Cambrian Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Williams, Richard J; Martinez, Neo D; Wood, Rachel A; Erwin, Douglas H

    2008-01-01

    A rich body of empirically grounded theory has developed about food webs—the networks of feeding relationships among species within habitats. However, detailed food-web data and analyses are lacking for ancient ecosystems, largely because of the low resolution of taxa coupled with uncertain and incomplete information about feeding interactions. These impediments appear insurmountable for most fossil assemblages; however, a few assemblages with excellent soft-body preservation across trophic levels are candidates for food-web data compilation and topological analysis. Here we present plausible, detailed food webs for the Chengjiang and Burgess Shale assemblages from the Cambrian Period. Analyses of degree distributions and other structural network properties, including sensitivity analyses of the effects of uncertainty associated with Cambrian diet designations, suggest that these early Paleozoic communities share remarkably similar topology with modern food webs. Observed regularities reflect a systematic dependence of structure on the numbers of taxa and links in a web. Most aspects of Cambrian food-web structure are well-characterized by a simple “niche model,” which was developed for modern food webs and takes into account this scale dependence. However, a few aspects of topology differ between the ancient and recent webs: longer path lengths between species and more species in feeding loops in the earlier Chengjiang web, and higher variability in the number of links per species for both Cambrian webs. Our results are relatively insensitive to the exclusion of low-certainty or random links. The many similarities between Cambrian and recent food webs point toward surprisingly strong and enduring constraints on the organization of complex feeding interactions among metazoan species. The few differences could reflect a transition to more strongly integrated and constrained trophic organization within ecosystems following the rapid diversification of species

  20. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Warren, Christopher P.; Pascual, Mercedes; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.

    2010-01-01

    Although parasites represent an important component of ecosystems, few field and theoretical studies have addressed the structure of parasites in food webs. We evaluate the structure of parasitic links in an extensive salt marsh food web, with a new model distinguishing parasitic links from non-parasitic links among free-living species. The proposed model is an extension of the niche model for food web structure, motivated by the potential role of size (and related metabolic rates) in structuring food webs. The proposed extension captures several properties observed in the data, including patterns of clustering and nestedness, better than does a random model. By relaxing specific assumptions, we demonstrate that two essential elements of the proposed model are the similarity of a parasite's hosts and the increasing degree of parasite specialization, along a one-dimensional niche axis. Thus, inverting one of the basic rules of the original model, the one determining consumers' generality appears critical. Our results support the role of size as one of the organizing principles underlying niche space and food web topology. They also strengthen the evidence for the non-random structure of parasitic links in food webs and open the door to addressing questions concerning the consequences and origins of this structure.

  1. Phylogeny versus body size as determinants of food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Naisbit, Russell E.; Rohr, Rudolf P.; Rossberg, Axel G.; Kehrli, Patrik; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2012-01-01

    Food webs are the complex networks of trophic interactions that stoke the metabolic fires of life. To understand what structures these interactions in natural communities, ecologists have developed simple models to capture their main architectural features. However, apparently realistic food webs can be generated by models invoking either predator–prey body-size hierarchies or evolutionary constraints as structuring mechanisms. As a result, this approach has not conclusively revealed which factors are the most important. Here we cut to the heart of this debate by directly comparing the influence of phylogeny and body size on food web architecture. Using data from 13 food webs compiled by direct observation, we confirm the importance of both factors. Nevertheless, phylogeny dominates in most networks. Moreover, path analysis reveals that the size-independent direct effect of phylogeny on trophic structure typically outweighs the indirect effect that could be captured by considering body size alone. Furthermore, the phylogenetic signal is asymmetric: closely related species overlap in their set of consumers far more than in their set of resources. This is at odds with several food web models, which take only the view-point of consumers when assigning interactions. The echo of evolutionary history clearly resonates through current food webs, with implications for our theoretical models and conservation priorities. PMID:22628467

  2. Genetic variation, predator–prey interactions and food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Moya-Laraño, Jordi

    2011-01-01

    Food webs are networks of species that feed on each other. The role that within-population phenotypic and genetic variation plays in food web structure is largely unknown. Here, I show via simulation how variation in two key traits, growth rates and phenology, by influencing the variability of body sizes present through time, can potentially affect several structural parameters in the direction of enhancing food web persistence: increased connectance, decreased interaction strengths, increased variation among interaction strengths and increased degree of omnivory. I discuss other relevant traits whose variation could affect the structure of food webs, such as morphological and additional life-history traits, as well as animal personalities. Furthermore, trait variation could also contribute to the stability of food web modules through metacommunity dynamics. I propose future research to help establish a link between within-population variation and food web structure. If appropriately established, such a link could have important consequences for biological conservation, as it would imply that preserving (functional) genetic variation within populations could ensure the preservation of entire communities. PMID:21444316

  3. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations.

    PubMed

    Haerter, Jan O; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-02-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species. PMID:26828363

  4. Inducible defenses in food webs: Chapter 3.4

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vos, Matthijs; Kooi, Bob W.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2005-01-01

    This chapter reviews the predicted effects of induced defenses on trophic structure and two aspects of stability, “local” stability and persistence, as well as presenting novel results on a third, resilience. Food webs are structures of populations in a given location organized according to their predator–prey interactions. Interaction strengths and, therefore, prey defenses are generally recognized as important ecological factors affecting food webs. Despite this, surprisingly, little light has been shed on the food web-level consequences of inducible defenses. Inducible defenses occur in many taxa in both terrestrial and aquatic food webs. They include refuge use, reduced activity, adaptive life history changes, the production of toxins, synomones and extrafloral nectar, and the formation of colonies, helmets, thorns, or spines. In the chapter, theoretical results for the effects of inducible defenses on trophic structure and the three aspects of stability are reviewed. This is done, in part, using bifurcation analysis—a type of analysis that is applied to nonlinear dynamic systems described by a set of ordinary differential or difference equations. The work presented in the chapter suggests that heterogeneity, as caused by induced defenses in prey species, has major effects on the functioning of food webs. Inducible defenses occur in many species in both aquatic and terrestrial systems, and theoretical work indicates they have major effects on important food web properties such as trophic structure, local stability, persistence, and resilience.

  5. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations

    PubMed Central

    Haerter, Jan O.; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-01-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species. PMID:26828363

  6. Soil Food Web Changes during Spontaneous Succession at Post Mining Sites: A Possible Ecosystem Engineering Effect on Food Web Organization?

    PubMed Central

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C.

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1– 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel. PMID:24260281

  7. Stable Isotope Tracers of Process in Great Lakes Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Stable isotope analyses of biota are now commonly used to discern trophic pathways between consumers and their foods. However, those same isotope data also hold information about processes that influence the physicochemical setting of food webs as well as biological processes ope...

  8. Environmental controls on food web regimes: A fluvial perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, Mary E.

    2006-02-01

    Because food web regimes control the biomass of primary producers (e.g., plants or algae), intermediate consumers (e.g., invertebrates), and large top predators (tuna, killer whales), they are of societal as well as academic interest. Some controls over food web regimes may be internal, but many are mediated by conditions or fluxes over large spatial scales. To understand locally observed changes in food webs, we must learn more about how environmental gradients and boundaries affect the fluxes of energy, materials, or organisms through landscapes or seascapes that influence local species interactions. Marine biologists and oceanographers have overcome formidable challenges of fieldwork on the high seas to make remarkable progress towards this goal. In river drainage networks, we have opportunities to address similar questions at smaller spatial scales, in ecosystems with clear physical structure and organization. Despite these advantages, we still have much to learn about linkages between fluxes from watershed landscapes and local food webs in river networks. Longitudinal (downstream) gradients in productivity, disturbance regimes, and habitat structure exert strong effects on the organisms and energy sources of river food webs, but their effects on species interactions are just beginning to be explored. In fluid ecosystems with less obvious physical structure, like the open ocean, discerning features that control the movement of organisms and affect food web dynamics is even more challenging. In both habitats, new sensing, tracing and mapping technologies have revealed how landscape or seascape features (e.g., watershed divides, ocean fronts or circulation cells) channel, contain or concentrate organisms, energy and materials. Field experiments and direct in situ observations of basic natural history, however, remain as vital as ever in interpreting the responses of biota to these features. We need field data that quantify the many spatial and temporal scales of

  9. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings

    PubMed Central

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  10. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings.

    PubMed

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  11. Key Features of Intertidal Food Webs That Support Migratory Shorebirds

    PubMed Central

    Saint-Béat, Blanche; Dupuy, Christine; Bocher, Pierrick; Chalumeau, Julien; De Crignis, Margot; Fontaine, Camille; Guizien, Katell; Lavaud, Johann; Lefebvre, Sébastien; Montanié, Hélène; Mouget, Jean-Luc; Orvain, Francis; Pascal, Pierre-Yves; Quaintenne, Gwenaël; Radenac, Gilles; Richard, Pierre; Robin, Frédéric; Vézina, Alain F.; Niquil, Nathalie

    2013-01-01

    The migratory shorebirds of the East Atlantic flyway land in huge numbers during a migratory stopover or wintering on the French Atlantic coast. The Brouage bare mudflat (Marennes-Oléron Bay, NE Atlantic) is one of the major stopover sites in France. The particular structure and function of a food web affects the efficiency of carbon transfer. The structure and functioning of the Brouage food web is crucial for the conservation of species landing within this area because it provides sufficient food, which allows shorebirds to reach the north of Europe where they nest. The aim of this study was to describe and understand which food web characteristics support nutritional needs of birds. Two food-web models were constructed, based on in situ measurements that were made in February 2008 (the presence of birds) and July 2008 (absence of birds). To complete the models, allometric relationships and additional data from the literature were used. The missing flow values of the food web models were estimated by Monte Carlo Markov Chain – Linear Inverse Modelling. The flow solutions obtained were used to calculate the ecological network analysis indices, which estimate the emergent properties of the functioning of a food-web. The total activities of the Brouage ecosystem in February and July are significantly different. The specialisation of the trophic links within the ecosystem does not appear to differ between the two models. In spite of a large export of carbon from the primary producer and detritus in winter, the higher recycling leads to a similar retention of carbon for the two seasons. It can be concluded that in February, the higher activity of the ecosystem coupled with a higher cycling and a mean internal organization, ensure the sufficient feeding of the migratory shorebirds. PMID:24204666

  12. Effects of whaling on the structure of the Southern Ocean food web: insights on the "krill surplus" from ecosystem modelling.

    PubMed

    Surma, Szymon; Pakhomov, Evgeny A; Pitcher, Tony J

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the ecological plausibility of the "krill surplus" hypothesis and the effects of whaling on the Southern Ocean food web using mass-balance ecosystem modelling. The depletion trajectory and unexploited biomass of each rorqual population in the Antarctic was reconstructed using yearly catch records and a set of species-specific surplus production models. The resulting estimates of the unexploited biomass of Antarctic rorquals were used to construct an Ecopath model of the Southern Ocean food web existing in 1900. The rorqual depletion trajectory was then used in an Ecosim scenario to drive rorqual biomasses and examine the "krill surplus" phenomenon and whaling effects on the food web in the years 1900-2008. An additional suite of Ecosim scenarios reflecting several hypothetical trends in Southern Ocean primary productivity were employed to examine the effect of bottom-up forcing on the documented krill biomass trend. The output of the Ecosim scenarios indicated that while the "krill surplus" hypothesis is a plausible explanation of the biomass trends observed in some penguin and pinniped species in the mid-20th century, the excess krill biomass was most likely eliminated by a rapid decline in primary productivity in the years 1975-1995. Our findings suggest that changes in physical conditions in the Southern Ocean during this time period could have eliminated the ecological effects of rorqual depletion, although the mechanism responsible is currently unknown. Furthermore, a decline in iron bioavailability due to rorqual depletion may have contributed to the rapid decline in overall Southern Ocean productivity during the last quarter of the 20th century. The results of this study underscore the need for further research on historical changes in the roles of top-down and bottom-up forcing in structuring the Southern Ocean food web. PMID:25517505

  13. Functional group diversity increases with modularity in complex food webs

    PubMed Central

    Montoya, D.; Yallop, M.L.; Memmott, J.

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity increases the ability of ecosystems to provide multiple functions. Most studies report a positive relationship between species richness and the number of ecosystem functions. However, it is not known whether the number of functional groups is related to the structure of the underlying species interaction network. Here we present food web data from 115 salt marsh islands and show that network structure is associated with the number of functional groups present. Functional group diversity is heterogeneously distributed across spatial scales, with some islands hosting more functional groups than others. Functional groups form modules within the community so that food webs with more modular architectures have more functional group diversity. Further, in communities with different interaction types, modularity can be seen as the multifunctional equivalent of trophic complementarity. Collectively, these findings reveal spatial heterogeneity in the number of functional groups that emerges from patterns in the structure of the food web. PMID:26059871

  14. Food web dynamics in a seasonally varying wetland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Trexler, J.C.; Donalson, D.D.

    2008-01-01

    A spatially explicit model is developed to simulate the small fish community and its underlying food web, in the freshwater marshes of the Everglades. The community is simplified to a few small fish species feeding on periphyton and invertebrates. Other compartments are detritus, crayfish, and a piscivorous fish species. This unit food web model is applied to each of the 10,000 spatial cells on a 100 x 100 pixel landscape. Seasonal variation in water level is assumed and rules are assigned for fish movement in response to rising and falling water levels, which can cause many spatial cells to alternate between flooded and dry conditions. It is shown that temporal variations of water level on a spatially heterogeneous landscape can maintain at least three competing fish species. In addition, these environmental factors can strongly affect the temporal variation of the food web caused by top-down control from the piscivorous fish.

  15. Extinction risk and structure of a food web model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pękalski, Andrzej; Szwabiński, Janusz; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2008-03-01

    We investigate in detail the model of a trophic web proposed by Amaral and Meyer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 652 (1999)]. We focus on small-size systems that are relevant for real biological food webs and for which the fluctuations play an important role. We show, using Monte Carlo simulations, that such webs can be nonviable, leading to extinction of all species in small and/or weakly coupled systems. Estimations of the extinction times and survival chances are also given. We show that before the extinction the fraction of highly connected species (“omnivores”) is increasing. Viable food webs exhibit a pyramidal structure, where the density of occupied niches is higher at lower trophic levels, and moreover the occupations of adjacent levels are closely correlated. We also demonstrate that the distribution of the lengths of food chains has an exponential character and changes weakly with the parameters of the model. On the contrary, the distribution of avalanche sizes of the extinct species depends strongly on the connectedness of the web. For rather loosely connected systems, we recover the power-law type of behavior with the same exponent as found in earlier studies, while for densely connected webs the distribution is not of a power-law type.

  16. Infectious disease agents mediate interaction in food webs and ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Selakovic, Sanja; de Ruiter, Peter C.; Heesterbeek, Hans

    2014-01-01

    Infectious agents are part of food webs and ecosystems via the relationship with their host species that, in turn, interact with both hosts and non-hosts. Through these interactions, infectious agents influence food webs in terms of structure, functioning and stability. The present literature shows a broad range of impacts of infectious agents on food webs, and by cataloguing that range, we worked towards defining the various mechanisms and their specific effects. To explore the impact, a direct approach is to study changes in food-web properties with infectious agents as separate species in the web, acting as additional nodes, with links to their host species. An indirect approach concentrates not on adding new nodes and links, but on the ways that infectious agents affect the existing links across host and non-host nodes, by influencing the ‘quality’ of consumer–resource interaction as it depends on the epidemiological state host involved. Both approaches are natural from an ecological point of view, but the indirect approach may connect more straightforwardly to commonly used tools in infectious disease dynamics. PMID:24403336

  17. Changes in host-parasitoid food web structure with elevation.

    PubMed

    Maunsell, Sarah C; Kitching, Roger L; Burwell, Chris J; Morris, Rebecca J

    2015-03-01

    Gradients in elevation are increasingly used to investigate how species respond to changes in local climatic conditions. Whilst many studies have shown elevational patterns in species richness and turnover, little is known about how food web structure is affected by elevation. Contrasting responses of predator and prey species to elevation may lead to changes in food web structure. We investigated how the quantitative structure of a herbivore-parasitoid food web changes with elevation in an Australian subtropical rain forest. On four occasions, spread over 1 year, we hand-collected leaf miners at twelve sites, along three elevational gradients (between 493 m and 1159 m a.s.l). A total of 5030 insects, including 603 parasitoids, were reared, and summary food webs were created for each site. We also carried out a replicated manipulative experiment by translocating an abundant leaf-mining weevil Platynotocis sp., which largely escaped parasitism at high elevations (≥ 900 m a.s.l.), to lower, warmer elevations, to test if it would experience higher parasitism pressure. We found strong evidence that the environmental change that occurs with increasing elevation affects food web structure. Quantitative measures of generality, vulnerability and interaction evenness decreased significantly with increasing elevation (and decreasing temperature), whilst elevation did not have a significant effect on connectance. Mined plant composition also had a significant effect on generality and vulnerability, but not on interaction evenness. Several relatively abundant species of leaf miner appeared to escape parasitism at higher elevations, but contrary to our prediction, Platynotocis sp. did not experience greater levels of parasitism when translocated to lower elevations. Our study indicates that leaf-mining herbivores and their parasitoids respond differently to environmental conditions imposed by elevation, thus producing structural changes in their food webs. Increasing

  18. Food caching in orb-web spiders (Araneae: Araneoidea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Champion de Crespigny, Fleur E.; Herberstein, Marie E.; Elgar, Mark A.

    2001-01-01

    Caching or storing surplus prey may reduce the risk of starvation during periods of food deprivation. While this behaviour occurs in a variety of birds and mammals, it is infrequent among invertebrates. However, golden orb-web spiders, Nephila edulis, incorporate a prey cache in their relatively permanent web, which they feed on during periods of food shortage. Heavier spiders significantly reduced weight loss if they were able to access a cache, but lost weight if the cache was removed. The presence or absence of stored prey had no effect on the weight loss of lighter spiders. Furthermore, N. edulis always attacked new prey, irrespective of the number of unprocessed prey in the web. In contrast, females of Argiope keyserlingi, who build a new web every day and do not cache prey, attacked fewer new prey items if some had already been caught. Thus, a necessary pre-adaptation to the evolution of prey caching in orb-web spiders may be a durable or permanent web, such as that constructed by Nephila.

  19. BENTHOS AS THE BASIS FOR ARCTIC FOOD WEBS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Plankton have traditionally been viewed as the basis for limnetic food webs, with zooplankton acting as a gateway for energy passing between phytoplanktonic primary producers and fish. Often, benthic production is considered to be important primarily in shallow systems or as a su...

  20. Unravelling the Food Web: Dietary Analysis in Modern Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Calver, M. C.; Porter, B. D.

    1986-01-01

    Presents information that gives a methodological background to the concept of food webs. Stresses the importance of calibrated techniques in ecological research and explains direct methods for studying animal diets. Exercises for gathering first-hand data on bird diets and analyzing secondary data on mammal diets are suggested. (ML)

  1. Food Webs and Environmental Disturbance: What's the Connection?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ford, Bob; Smith, Bruce M.

    1994-01-01

    Two professors assert that it is not enough to simply tell students that all living organisms are mutually dependent. Describes an activity that allows students to become members of a food web and results in a greater understanding of and appreciation for the interdependencies of living things. Ideas for extension are provided. (ZWH)

  2. The trophodynamics of PCBs in the Lake Ontario food web

    SciTech Connect

    Metcalfe, T.L.; Metcalfe, C.D.

    1995-12-31

    Samples of water, sediment, invertebrates, fish, and herring gull eggs were collected in north-central Lake Ontario and were analyzed to determine the concentrations of PCBs, including non-ortho substituted PCB congeners, in the benthic and pelagic components of the Lake Ontario food web. There was biomagnification of PCBs in the food web from benthic and planktonic invertebrates through to lake trout and gulls. However, all of the fish species had about the same lipid-normalized concentrations of PCBs. The relative proportions of the PCB congeners changed as they passed through the food web. An index of metabolism for each PCB congener was calculated by comparing the concentrations of PCB congeners in various predator/prey groupings within the food web. These data indicate that invertebrates, fish and gulls have different capabilities in metabolizing and eliminating specific PCB congeners. While tri and tetrachlorinated congeners with no chlorine substitution at meta-para carbons on the biphenyl ring were readily metabolized by all taxa, only gulls appeared to be capable of metabolizing the PCBs with no chlorine substitution at ortho-meta positions. The trophodynamics of nonortho substituted (coplanar) PCBs did not differ from other PCB congeners of similar chlorine number, which indicates that non-ortho congeners are not any more persistent in biota than other PCBs.

  3. Methylmercury biomagnification in an Arctic pelagic food web.

    PubMed

    Ruus, Anders; Øverjordet, Ida B; Braaten, Hans Fredrik V; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm; Heimstad, Eldbjørg S; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Borgå, Katrine

    2015-11-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a toxic element that enters the biosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources, and emitted gaseous Hg enters the Arctic from lower latitudes by long-range transport. In aquatic systems, anoxic conditions favor the bacterial transformation of inorganic Hg to methylmercury (MeHg), which has a greater potential for bioaccumulation than inorganic Hg and is the most toxic form of Hg. The main objective of the present study was to quantify the biomagnification of MeHg in a marine pelagic food web, comprising species of zooplankton, fish, and seabirds, from the Kongsfjorden system (Svalbard, Norway), by use of trophic magnification factors. As expected, tissue concentrations of MeHg increased with increasing trophic level in the food web, though at greater rates than observed in several earlier studies, especially at lower latitudes. There was strong correlation between MeHg and total Hg concentrations through the food web as a whole. The concentration of MeHg in kittiwake decreased from May to October, contributing to seasonal differences in trophic magnification factors. The ecology and physiology of the species comprising the food web in question may have a large influence on the magnitude of the biomagnification. A significant linear relationship was also observed between concentrations of selenium and total Hg in birds but not in zooplankton, suggesting the importance of selenium in Hg detoxification for individuals with high Hg concentrations. PMID:26274519

  4. Ecohydrological Modeling of Food Webs in Stream Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdul-Aziz, O. I.; Wilson, B. N.; Gulliver, J. S.

    2007-12-01

    Dynamic biological processes in streams and rivers are essential aspects of ecohydrology. Numerical modeling of river food webs provides a useful vehicle for gaining insights into the scaling, self-organization and critical responses of these biological processes. Existing modeling literature is mostly limited to food webs with two or three trophic levels applied to marine or lake ecosystems. However, river ecosystems are distinctively different. They have a characteristic shorter residence time. Natural drivers (e.g., watershed and channel hydrology and geomorphology) as well as direct anthropogenic activities in rivers (e.g., building dams and reservoirs) play a vital role in shaping river food webs. Of particular interests are the benthic and non-benthic zones that have different physical, chemical and biological compositions. The authors developed food web models to capture the long- term dynamics of the total as well as that of the benthic and non-benthic zones in an interactive manner by emphasizing hydrologic drivers along with other environmental and geomorphologic constraints. These models are applied to several floodplain streams and rivers in Minnesota.

  5. Using a Simulation To Teach Food Web Dynamics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rueter, John G.; Perrin, Nancy A.

    1999-01-01

    Reports on research that tested the effect of using a computer simulation to teach the concept of a food web to nonbiology majors in a large introductory course. Concludes that the use of the simulation resulted in significantly better performance on an open-ended essay question for those students who used the software, particularly for average…

  6. MODEL OF CARBON CYCLING IN THE PLANKTONIC FOOD WEB

    EPA Science Inventory

    A mathematical model of carbon fluxes through the heterotrophic microbial food web is developed from a synthesis of laboratory and field research. he basis of the model is the segregation of organic carbon into lability classes that are defined by bioassay experiments. acteria, p...

  7. MODEL OF CARBON CYCLING IN PLANKTONIC FOOD WEBS

    EPA Science Inventory

    A mathematical model of carbon fluxes through the heterotrophic microbial food web is developed from a synthesis of laboratory and field research,The basis of the model is the segregation of organic carbon into lability classes that are defined by bioassay experiments. acteria, p...

  8. Assimilation of Diazotrophic Nitrogen into Pelagic Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Woodland, Ryan J.; Holland, Daryl P.; Beardall, John; Smith, Jonathan; Scicluna, Todd; Cook, Perran L. M.

    2013-01-01

    The fate of diazotrophic nitrogen (ND) fixed by planktonic cyanobacteria in pelagic food webs remains unresolved, particularly for toxic cyanophytes that are selectively avoided by most herbivorous zooplankton. Current theory suggests that ND fixed during cyanobacterial blooms can enter planktonic food webs contemporaneously with peak bloom biomass via direct grazing of zooplankton on cyanobacteria or via the uptake of bioavailable ND (exuded from viable cyanobacterial cells) by palatable phytoplankton or microbial consortia. Alternatively, ND can enter planktonic food webs post-bloom following the remineralization of bloom detritus. Although the relative contribution of these processes to planktonic nutrient cycles is unknown, we hypothesized that assimilation of bioavailable ND (e.g., nitrate, ammonium) by palatable phytoplankton and subsequent grazing by zooplankton (either during or after the cyanobacterial bloom) would be the primary pathway by which ND was incorporated into the planktonic food web. Instead, in situ stable isotope measurements and grazing experiments clearly documented that the assimilation of ND by zooplankton outpaced assimilation by palatable phytoplankton during a bloom of toxic Nodularia spumigena Mertens. We identified two distinct temporal phases in the trophic transfer of ND from N. spumigena to the plankton community. The first phase was a highly dynamic transfer of ND to zooplankton with rates that covaried with bloom biomass while bypassing other phytoplankton taxa; a trophic transfer that we infer was routed through bloom-associated bacteria. The second phase was a slowly accelerating assimilation of the dissolved-ND pool by phytoplankton that was decoupled from contemporaneous variability in N. spumigena concentrations. These findings provide empirical evidence that ND can be assimilated and transferred rapidly throughout natural plankton communities and yield insights into the specific processes underlying the propagation of ND

  9. Dynamics in a three species food-web system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, K.; Gakkhar, S.

    2016-04-01

    In this paper, the dynamics of a three species food-web system is discussed. The food-web comprises of one predator and two logistically growing competing species. The predator species is taking food from one of the competitors with Holling type II functional response. Another competitor is the amensal species for the predator of first species. The system is shown to be positive and bounded. The stability of various axial points, boundary points and interior point has been investigated. The persistence of the system has been studied. Numerical simulation has been performed to show the occurrence of Hopf bifurcation and stable limit cycle about the interior point. The presence of second competitor and its interaction with predator gives more complex dynamics than the simple prey-predator system. The existence of transcritical bifurcation has been established about two axial points. The existence of periodic attractor having period-2 solution has been shown, when amensal coefficient is chosen as bifurcation parameter.

  10. DEVELOPMENT OF A STREAM FOOD WEB MODEL CONSTRAINED BY STABLE ISOTOPE DATA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Traditional stream food web studies provide static models of trophic structures. These models provide information about interspecific relationships, but not about material flows through food webs. Traditional ecosystem models developed from budgets or tracers provide quantitative...

  11. URBANIZATION ALTERS FATTY ACID CONCENTRATIONS OF STREAM FOOD WEBS IN THE NARRAGANSETT BAY WATERSHED

    EPA Science Inventory

    Urbanization and associated human activities negatively affect stream algal and invertebrate assemblages, likely altering food webs. Our goal was to determine if urbanization affects food web essential fatty acids (EFAs) and if EFAs could be useful ecological indicators in monito...

  12. Designing an Illustrated Food Web to Teach Ecological Concepts: Challenges and Solutions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Godkin, Celia M.

    1999-01-01

    Argues that food webs are an efficient method through which to communicate the core idea of ecology--that all living things are interconnected. Assesses the challenges and solutions to using illustrated food webs. (Author/CCM)

  13. Food web heterogeneity and succession in created saltmarshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nordstrom, M C; Demopoulos, Amanda; Whitcraft, CR; Rismondo, A.; McMillan, P.; Gonzales, J P; Levin, L A

    2015-01-01

    1. Ecological restoration must achieve functional as well as structural recovery. Functional metrics for reestablishment of trophic interactions can be used to complement traditional monitoring of structural attributes. In addition, topographic effects on food web structure provide added information within a restoration context; often, created sites may require spatial heterogeneity to effectively match structure and function of natural habitats. 2. We addressed both of these issues in our study of successional development of benthic food web structure, with focus on bottom–up driven changes in macroinvertebrate consumer assemblages in the salt marshes of the Venice Lagoon, Italy. We combined quantified estimates of the changing community composition with stable isotope data (13C:12C and 15N:14N) to compare the general trophic structure between created (2–14 years) marshes and reference sites and along topographic elevation gradients within salt marshes. 3. Macrofaunal invertebrate consumers exhibited local, habitat-specific trophic patterns. Stable isotope-based trophic structure changed with increasing marsh age, in particular with regards to mid-elevation (Salicornia) habitats. In young marshes, the mid-elevation consumer signatures resembled those of unvegetated ponds. The mid elevation of older and natural marshes had a more distinct Salicornia-zone food web, occasionally resembling that of the highest (Sarcocornia-dominated) elevation. In summary, this indicates that primary producers and availability of vascular plant detritus structure consumer trophic interactions and the flow of carbon. 4. Functionally different consumers, subsurface-feeding detritivores (Oligochaeta) and surface grazers (Hydrobia sp.), showed distinct but converging trajectories of isotopic change over time, indicating that successional development may be asymmetric between ‘brown’ (detrital) guilds and ‘green’ (grazing) guilds in the food web. 5. Synthesis and applications

  14. Benchmarking Successional Progress in a Quantitative Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Boit, Alice; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    Central to ecology and ecosystem management, succession theory aims to mechanistically explain and predict the assembly and development of ecological communities. Yet processes at lower hierarchical levels, e.g. at the species and functional group level, are rarely mechanistically linked to the under-investigated system-level processes which drive changes in ecosystem properties and functioning and are comparable across ecosystems. As a model system for secondary succession, seasonal plankton succession during the growing season is readily observable and largely driven autogenically. We used a long-term dataset from large, deep Lake Constance comprising biomasses, auto- and heterotrophic production, food quality, functional diversity, and mass-balanced food webs of the energy and nutrient flows between functional guilds of plankton and partly fish. Extracting population- and system-level indices from this dataset, we tested current hypotheses about the directionality of successional progress which are rooted in ecosystem theory, the metabolic theory of ecology, quantitative food web theory, thermodynamics, and information theory. Our results indicate that successional progress in Lake Constance is quantifiable, passing through predictable stages. Mean body mass, functional diversity, predator-prey weight ratios, trophic positions, system residence times of carbon and nutrients, and the complexity of the energy flow patterns increased during succession. In contrast, both the mass-specific metabolic activity and the system export decreased, while the succession rate exhibited a bimodal pattern. The weighted connectance introduced here represents a suitable index for assessing the evenness and interconnectedness of energy flows during succession. Diverging from earlier predictions, ascendency and eco-exergy did not increase during succession. Linking aspects of functional diversity to metabolic theory and food web complexity, we reconcile previously disjoint bodies of

  15. Benchmarking successional progress in a quantitative food web.

    PubMed

    Boit, Alice; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    Central to ecology and ecosystem management, succession theory aims to mechanistically explain and predict the assembly and development of ecological communities. Yet processes at lower hierarchical levels, e.g. at the species and functional group level, are rarely mechanistically linked to the under-investigated system-level processes which drive changes in ecosystem properties and functioning and are comparable across ecosystems. As a model system for secondary succession, seasonal plankton succession during the growing season is readily observable and largely driven autogenically. We used a long-term dataset from large, deep Lake Constance comprising biomasses, auto- and heterotrophic production, food quality, functional diversity, and mass-balanced food webs of the energy and nutrient flows between functional guilds of plankton and partly fish. Extracting population- and system-level indices from this dataset, we tested current hypotheses about the directionality of successional progress which are rooted in ecosystem theory, the metabolic theory of ecology, quantitative food web theory, thermodynamics, and information theory. Our results indicate that successional progress in Lake Constance is quantifiable, passing through predictable stages. Mean body mass, functional diversity, predator-prey weight ratios, trophic positions, system residence times of carbon and nutrients, and the complexity of the energy flow patterns increased during succession. In contrast, both the mass-specific metabolic activity and the system export decreased, while the succession rate exhibited a bimodal pattern. The weighted connectance introduced here represents a suitable index for assessing the evenness and interconnectedness of energy flows during succession. Diverging from earlier predictions, ascendency and eco-exergy did not increase during succession. Linking aspects of functional diversity to metabolic theory and food web complexity, we reconcile previously disjoint bodies of

  16. The assembly, collapse and restoration of food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dobson, Andy; Allesina, Stefano; Lafferty, Kevin; Pascual, Mercedes

    2009-01-01

    Darwin chose the metaphor of a 'tangled bank' to conclude the 'Origin of species'. Two centuries after Darwin's birth, we are still untangling the complex ecological networks he has pondered. In particular, studies of food webs provide important insights into how natural ecosystems function (Pascual & Dunne 2005). Although the nonlinear interactions between many species creates challenges of scale, resolution of data and significant computational constraints, the last 10 years have seen significant advances built on the earlier classic studies of Cohen, May, Pimm, Polis, Lawton and Yodzis (May 1974; Cohen 1978; Pimm 1982; Briand & Cohen 1984, 1987; Yodzis 1989; Cohen et al. 1990; Pimm et al. 1991; Yodzis & Innes 1992; Yodzis 1998). These gains stem from advances in computing power and the collation of more comprehensive data from a broader array of empirical food webs.

  17. Simulating food web dynamics along a gradient: quantifying human influence.

    PubMed

    Jordán, Ferenc; Gjata, Nerta; Mei, Shu; Yule, Catherine M

    2012-01-01

    Realistically parameterized and dynamically simulated food-webs are useful tool to explore the importance of the functional diversity of ecosystems, and in particular relations between the dynamics of species and the whole community. We present a stochastic dynamical food web simulation for the Kelian River (Borneo). The food web was constructed for six different locations, arrayed along a gradient of increasing human perturbation (mostly resulting from gold mining activities) along the river. Along the river, the relative importance of grazers, filterers and shredders decreases with increasing disturbance downstream, while predators become more dominant in governing eco-dynamics. Human activity led to increased turbidity and sedimentation which adversely impacts primary productivity. Since the main difference between the study sites was not the composition of the food webs (structure is quite similar) but the strengths of interactions and the abundance of the trophic groups, a dynamical simulation approach seemed to be useful to better explain human influence. In the pristine river (study site 1), when comparing a structural version of our model with the dynamical model we found that structurally central groups such as omnivores and carnivores were not the most important ones dynamically. Instead, primary consumers such as invertebrate grazers and shredders generated a greater dynamical response. Based on the dynamically most important groups, bottom-up control is replaced by the predominant top-down control regime as distance downstream and human disturbance increased. An important finding, potentially explaining the poor structure to dynamics relationship, is that indirect effects are at least as important as direct ones during the simulations. We suggest that our approach and this simulation framework could serve systems-based conservation efforts. Quantitative indicators on the relative importance of trophic groups and the mechanistic modeling of eco

  18. Mercury biomagnification in the food web of a neotropical stream.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Sae Yun; McIntyre, Peter B; Flecker, Alexander S; Campbell, Linda M

    2012-02-15

    Anthropogenic and natural mercury (Hg) contamination have been a major concern in South America since the early 1900s, but it remains unclear whether Hg levels pose a hazard to human health in regions that lack point sources. We studied Hg biomagnification patterns in the food web of Río Las Marías, an Andean piedmont stream in northern Venezuela, which supports a major subsistence fishery. Mercury concentrations and trophic positions in the food web (based on stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon) were characterized for 24 fish species representing seven trophic guilds (piscivore, generalized carnivore, omnivore, invertivore, algivore, terrestrial herbivore, detritivore). Mercury showed significant biomagnification through the food web, but vertical trophic position explained little of the variation. Muscle Hg concentrations also increased with body mass across the food web. Trophic guild assignments offered a useful alternative to explicit analysis of vertical trophic position; piscivores showed the highest Hg concentrations and terrestrial herbivores had the lowest. There were no consistent seasonal differences in Hg concentrations within the 5 species sampled during both the wet and dry seasons, suggesting that bioavailability is unaffected by strong seasonal variation in rainfall. From a human health perspective, many medium- to large-bodied species that are commonly eaten had Hg concentrations that exceeded International Marketing Limit (IML) (0.5 μg/g) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines (0.2 μg/g) for consumption. We conclude that Hg concentrations may pose a health concern for local subsistence fishermen and their families. Our results suggest a need to perform risk assessment and better understand contaminant levels in subsistence and commercial fisheries even in areas that lack known Hg point sources. PMID:22257508

  19. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Hussey, Nigel E; MacNeil, M Aaron; McMeans, Bailey C; Olin, Jill A; Dudley, Sheldon FJ; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Fennessy, Sean T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2014-01-01

    Measures of trophic position (TP) are critical for understanding food web interactions and human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N) provide a powerful tool to estimate TP but are limited by a pragmatic assumption that isotope discrimination is constant (change in δ15N between predator and prey, Δ15N = 3.4‰), resulting in an additive framework that omits known Δ15N variation. Through meta-analysis, we determine narrowing discrimination from an empirical linear relationship between experimental Δ15N and δ15N values of prey consumed. The resulting scaled Δ15N framework estimated reliable TPs of zooplanktivores to tertiary piscivores congruent with known feeding relationships that radically alters the conventional structure of marine food webs. Apex predator TP estimates were markedly higher than currently assumed by whole-ecosystem models, indicating perceived food webs have been truncated and species-interactions over simplified. The scaled Δ15N framework will greatly improve the accuracy of trophic estimates widely used in ecosystem-based management. PMID:24308860

  20. Scaling behaviors of weighted food webs as energy transportation networks.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jiang; Guo, Liangpeng

    2010-06-01

    Food webs can be regarded as energy transporting networks in which the weight of each edge denotes the energy flux between two species. By investigating 21 empirical weighted food webs as energy flow networks, we found several ubiquitous scaling behaviors. Two random variables A(i) and C(i) defined for each vertex i, representing the total flux (also called vertex intensity) and total indirect effect or energy store of i, were found to follow power law distributions with the exponents alpha approximately 1.32 and beta approximately 1.33, respectively. Another scaling behavior is the power law relationship, C(i) approximately A(i)(eta), where eta approximately 1.02. This is known as the allometric scaling power law relationship because A(i) can be treated as metabolism and C(i) as the body mass of the sub-network rooted from the vertex i, according to the algorithm presented in this paper. Finally, a simple relationship among these power law exponents, eta=(alpha-1)/(beta-1), was mathematically derived and tested by the empirical food webs. PMID:20303987

  1. Does cadmium pollution change trophic interactions in rockpool food webs?

    SciTech Connect

    Koivisto, S.; Arner, M.; Kautsky, N.

    1997-06-01

    The authors studied the regulation of phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass in rockpool food webs under chronic cadmium pollution. Experimental food webs with two and three trophic levels were composed of phytoplankton, small-bodied zooplankton (Chydorus sphaericus, Cyclops sp., and rotifers), Daphnia magna, and Notonecta sp., a zooplanktivorous predator. Every food web received a control and cadmium treatment allowing a separate study of cadmium and predation effects. After a 3-week stabilization period, cadmium and Notonecta were added and changes in primary productivity, chlorophyll, zooplankton species composition, and biomass were followed during 8 weeks. The results showed that phytoplankton and Daphnia were consumer regulated in both control and cadmium treatments, although resource availability ultimately determined the biomass at each trophic level. Daphnia was the only zooplankton species that reduced phytoplankton and also the only species that was eliminated by Notonecta predation. Notonecta had an indirect positive impact on phytoplankton biomass that increased after the extinction of Daphnia. Cadmium significantly reduced phytoplankton and Daphnia but did not change the trophic interactions between them, i.e., Daphnia and chlorophyll were significantly negatively correlated both in the control and cadmium treatments. Cadmium did not affect the relationship between Daphnia and Notonecta.

  2. Food Web Structure Shapes the Morphology of Teleost Fish Brains.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, Nicholas B; McCann, Kevin S; Laberge, Frédéric

    2016-01-01

    Previous work showed that teleost fish brain size correlates with the flexible exploitation of habitats and predation abilities in an aquatic food web. Since it is unclear how regional brain changes contribute to these relationships, we quantitatively examined the effects of common food web attributes on the size of five brain regions in teleost fish at both within-species (plasticity or natural variation) and between-species (evolution) scales. Our results indicate that brain morphology is influenced by habitat use and trophic position, but not by the degree of littoral-pelagic habitat coupling, despite the fact that the total brain size was previously shown to increase with habitat coupling in Lake Huron. Intriguingly, the results revealed two potential evolutionary trade-offs: (i) relative olfactory bulb size increased, while relative optic tectum size decreased, across a trophic position gradient, and (ii) the telencephalon was relatively larger in fish using more littoral-based carbon, while the cerebellum was relatively larger in fish using more pelagic-based carbon. Additionally, evidence for a within-species effect on the telencephalon was found, where it increased in size with trophic position. Collectively, these results suggest that food web structure has fundamentally contributed to the shaping of teleost brain morphology. PMID:27216606

  3. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Hussey, Nigel E; Macneil, M Aaron; McMeans, Bailey C; Olin, Jill A; Dudley, Sheldon F J; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Fennessy, Sean T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2014-02-01

    Measures of trophic position (TP) are critical for understanding food web interactions and human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ(15) N) provide a powerful tool to estimate TP but are limited by a pragmatic assumption that isotope discrimination is constant (change in δ(15) N between predator and prey, Δ(15) N = 3.4‰), resulting in an additive framework that omits known Δ(15) N variation. Through meta-analysis, we determine narrowing discrimination from an empirical linear relationship between experimental Δ(15) N and δ(15) N values of prey consumed. The resulting scaled Δ(15) N framework estimated reliable TPs of zooplanktivores to tertiary piscivores congruent with known feeding relationships that radically alters the conventional structure of marine food webs. Apex predator TP estimates were markedly higher than currently assumed by whole-ecosystem models, indicating perceived food webs have been truncated and species-interactions over simplified. The scaled Δ(15) N framework will greatly improve the accuracy of trophic estimates widely used in ecosystem-based management. PMID:24308860

  4. Tracking the autochthonous carbon transfer in stream biofilm food webs.

    PubMed

    Risse-Buhl, Ute; Trefzger, Nicolai; Seifert, Anne-Gret; Schönborn, Wilfried; Gleixner, Gerd; Küsel, Kirsten

    2012-01-01

    Food webs in the rhithral zone rely mainly on allochthonous carbon from the riparian vegetation. However, autochthonous carbon might be more important in open canopy streams. In streams, most of the microbial activity occurs in biofilms, associated with the streambed. We followed the autochthonous carbon transfer toward bacteria and grazing protozoa within a stream biofilm food web. Biofilms that developed in a second-order stream (Thuringia, Germany) were incubated in flow channels under climate-controlled conditions. Six-week-old biofilms received either ¹³C- or ¹²C-labeled CO₂, and uptake into phospholipid fatty acids was followed. The dissolved inorganic carbon of the flow channel water became immediately labeled. In biofilms grown under 8-h light/16-h dark conditions, more than 50% of the labeled carbon was incorporated in biofilm algae, mainly filamentous cyanobacteria, pennate diatoms, and nonfilamentous green algae. A mean of 29% of the labeled carbon reached protozoan grazer. The testate amoeba Pseudodifflugia horrida was highly abundant in biofilms and seemed to be the most important grazer on biofilm bacteria and algae. Hence, stream biofilms dominated by cyanobacteria and algae seem to play an important role in the uptake of CO₂ and transfer of autochthonous carbon through the microbial food web. PMID:22067054

  5. Complementary molecular information changes our perception of food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Wirta, Helena K.; Hebert, Paul D. N.; Kaartinen, Riikka; Prosser, Sean W.; Várkonyi, Gergely; Roslin, Tomas

    2014-01-01

    How networks of ecological interactions are structured has a major impact on their functioning. However, accurately resolving both the nodes of the webs and the links between them is fraught with difficulties. We ask whether the new resolution conferred by molecular information changes perceptions of network structure. To probe a network of antagonistic interactions in the High Arctic, we use two complementary sources of molecular data: parasitoid DNA sequenced from the tissues of their hosts and host DNA sequenced from the gut of adult parasitoids. The information added by molecular analysis radically changes the properties of interaction structure. Overall, three times as many interaction types were revealed by combining molecular information from parasitoids and hosts with rearing data, versus rearing data alone. At the species level, our results alter the perceived host specificity of parasitoids, the parasitoid load of host species, and the web-wide role of predators with a cryptic lifestyle. As the northernmost network of host–parasitoid interactions quantified, our data point exerts high leverage on global comparisons of food web structure. However, how we view its structure will depend on what information we use: compared with variation among networks quantified at other sites, the properties of our web vary as much or much more depending on the techniques used to reconstruct it. We thus urge ecologists to combine multiple pieces of evidence in assessing the structure of interaction webs, and suggest that current perceptions of interaction structure may be strongly affected by the methods used to construct them. PMID:24449902

  6. Midwater food web in the vicinity of a marginal ice zone in the western Weddell Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hopkins, Thomas L.; Torres, Joseph J.

    1989-04-01

    The structure of the food web in the vicinity of a marginal ice zone was investigated in the western Weddell Sea during austral autumn 1986. The diets of 40 species of zooplankton and micronekton occurring in the epipelagic zone were examined and compared using non-hierarchical clustering procedures. Over half the species were in three clusters of predominantly small-particle (phytoplankton; protozoans) grazers. These included biomass dominants Calanoides acutus, Calanus propinquus, Metridia gerlachei and Salpa thompsoni. Six clusters contained omnivores that had diets consisting of small particles as well as a substantial fraction of metazoan food. Among these was Euphausia superba. Seven groups were carnivorous, including species of copepods (1), chaetognaths (3), and fishes (5). Copepods were the most frequent food of carnivores; however krill also were important in the diets of three fish species. Among small-particle grazers, phytoplankton occurred more frequently in guts of individuals from open water; carnivory was more in evidence in samples collected under the pack ice. Regional comparisons of material taken on this and several previous cruises indicate that, in most of the dominant species, diets remain relatively consistent with respect to major food categories. Seasonal impact on feeding dynamics appears to be great: the guts of grazing species were generally much more full (visual evidence) during summer bloom conditions than during the autumn. The following trophic sequence is suggested for grazing zooplankton species in ice-covered regions of the Antarctic: (1) Active small-particle grazing during the summer bloom period; (2) reduced ingestion rates in autumn as primary production declines and the system becomes more oligotrophic, with some species augmenting grazing with carnivory; (3) descent of zooplankton biomass species into the mesopelagic zone in late autumn-early winter with feeding largely terminated. The sequence applies to the dominant

  7. Food web structure and bioregions in the Scotia Sea: A seasonal synthesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, Peter; Atkinson, Angus; Venables, Hugh J.; Tarling, Geraint A.; Whitehouse, Mick J.; Fielding, Sophie; Collins, Martin A.; Korb, Rebecca; Black, Andrew; Stowasser, Gabriele; Schmidt, Katrin; Thorpe, Sally E.; Enderlein, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Bioregionalisation, the partitioning of large ecosystems into functionally distinct sub-units, facilitates ecosystem modelling, management and conservation. A variety of schemes have been used to partition the Southern Ocean, based variously on frontal positions, sea ice, productivity, water depth and nutrient concentrations. We have tested the utility and robustness of ecosystem bioregionalisation for the Scotia Sea, by classifying spring, summer and autumn stations on the basis of nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton taxa, meso- and macrozooplankton, fish catches and acoustic data. Despite sampling across different seasons and years, at different spatial scales and taxonomic resolutions, cluster analysis indicated basically consistent spatial divisions across this wide range of trophic levels. Stations could be classified into two main groups, lying broadly to the north and south of the Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front (SACCF). In some aspects the 2 station groups were similar, with both having variable but often high phytoplankton biomass as well as similar biomass of fish. However, the colder water southern group, most of which was covered by seasonal sea ice, had a fundamentally different food web structure to that in the northern Scotia Sea. The cold water community had a depleted, cold-adapted fauna characterised by low zooplankton biomass, Euphausia superba and the fish Electrona antarctica and Gymnoscopelus braueri. In contrast the northern group was richer with higher mesozooplankton biomass and a fauna of warmer or more cosmopolitan species such as Themisto gaudichaudii, Euphausia triacantha and the fish Protomyctophum bolini, Kreffticthys anderssoni and Gymnoscopelus fraseri. The position of the food web transition, broadly consistent with the position of the SACCF, supports a recent circumpolar-scale bioregionalisation. However, there is little evidence that this relatively weak frontal transition represents a significant barrier either

  8. Effects of spatial scale of sampling on food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Spencer A; Russell, Roly; Hanson, Dieta; Williams, Richard J; Dunne, Jennifer A

    2015-01-01

    This study asks whether the spatial scale of sampling alters structural properties of food webs and whether any differences are attributable to changes in species richness and connectance with scale. Understanding how different aspects of sampling effort affect ecological network structure is important for both fundamental ecological knowledge and the application of network analysis in conservation and management. Using a highly resolved food web for the marine intertidal ecosystem of the Sanak Archipelago in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, we assess how commonly studied properties of network structure differ for 281 versions of the food web sampled at five levels of spatial scale representing six orders of magnitude in area spread across the archipelago. Species (S) and link (L) richness both increased by approximately one order of magnitude across the five spatial scales. Links per species (L/S) more than doubled, while connectance (C) decreased by approximately two-thirds. Fourteen commonly studied properties of network structure varied systematically with spatial scale of sampling, some increasing and others decreasing. While ecological network properties varied systematically with sampling extent, analyses using the niche model and a power-law scaling relationship indicate that for many properties, this apparent sensitivity is attributable to the increasing S and decreasing C of webs with increasing spatial scale. As long as effects of S and C are accounted for, areal sampling bias does not have a special impact on our understanding of many aspects of network structure. However, attention does need be paid to some properties such as the fraction of species in loops, which increases more than expected with greater spatial scales of sampling. PMID:26380704

  9. The food web of a tropical rain forest

    SciTech Connect

    Reagan, D.P.; Waide, R.B.

    1996-12-31

    This book summarizes the natural history and trophic dynamics of a relatively simple tropical rain forest community. The community consists of the plants and animals inhabiting a 40 ha area of forest around the El Verde Field Station in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico. The understanding is based on three decades (1963 to 1993) of investigations conducted or coordinated by the biologists in the Terrestrial Ecology Division of the University of Puerto Rico (formerly the Center for Energy and Environment Research) and by many visiting scientists who have worked at El Verde. The authors construct a comprehensive food web documenting the relationships among species in this community as a means of organizing the information that`s been collected. Lay-people, students, academics, resource managers, professional scientists, and others interested in the natural history of tropical forests should find points of interest in this book. In addition, ecologists specializing in the study of trophic dynamics are provided with a detailed food web from a biome underrepresented in the available data base and with the interpretations of the importance of this web.

  10. Food-web stability signals critical transitions in temperate shallow lakes.

    PubMed

    Kuiper, Jan J; van Altena, Cassandra; de Ruiter, Peter C; van Gerven, Luuk P A; Janse, Jan H; Mooij, Wolf M

    2015-01-01

    A principal aim of ecologists is to identify critical levels of environmental change beyond which ecosystems undergo radical shifts in their functioning. Both food-web theory and alternative stable states theory provide fundamental clues to mechanisms conferring stability to natural systems. Yet, it is unclear how the concept of food-web stability is associated with the resilience of ecosystems susceptible to regime change. Here, we use a combination of food web and ecosystem modelling to show that impending catastrophic shifts in shallow lakes are preceded by a destabilizing reorganization of interaction strengths in the aquatic food web. Analysis of the intricate web of trophic interactions reveals that only few key interactions, involving zooplankton, diatoms and detritus, dictate the deterioration of food-web stability. Our study exposes a tight link between food-web dynamics and the dynamics of the whole ecosystem, implying that trophic organization may serve as an empirical indicator of ecosystem resilience. PMID:26173798

  11. Food-web stability signals critical transitions in temperate shallow lakes

    PubMed Central

    Kuiper, Jan J.; van Altena, Cassandra; de Ruiter, Peter C.; van Gerven, Luuk P. A.; Janse, Jan H.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2015-01-01

    A principal aim of ecologists is to identify critical levels of environmental change beyond which ecosystems undergo radical shifts in their functioning. Both food-web theory and alternative stable states theory provide fundamental clues to mechanisms conferring stability to natural systems. Yet, it is unclear how the concept of food-web stability is associated with the resilience of ecosystems susceptible to regime change. Here, we use a combination of food web and ecosystem modelling to show that impending catastrophic shifts in shallow lakes are preceded by a destabilizing reorganization of interaction strengths in the aquatic food web. Analysis of the intricate web of trophic interactions reveals that only few key interactions, involving zooplankton, diatoms and detritus, dictate the deterioration of food-web stability. Our study exposes a tight link between food-web dynamics and the dynamics of the whole ecosystem, implying that trophic organization may serve as an empirical indicator of ecosystem resilience. PMID:26173798

  12. Food web dynamics in the Scotia Sea in summer: A stable isotope study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stowasser, G.; Atkinson, A.; McGill, R. A. R.; Phillips, R. A.; Collins, M. A.; Pond, D. W.

    2012-01-01

    The pelagic food web of the Scotia Sea was studied by analysing natural abundances of nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes of primary producers and pelagic consumers, sampled from the seasonal ice edge in the south to the Antarctic Polar Front in the north. The analysis covered, within a single mid-summer period, particulate organic matter (POM) and 38 taxa, ranging from suspension feeding copepods and salps to omnivorous euphausiids, pelagic fish and higher, land-based predators including fur seals, penguins and flying birds. Spatial variation in δ 15N of POM correlated well with nutrient availability and primary productivity. Latitudinal differences in δ 13C of POM were closely linked to variations in temperature, nutrients and productivity depending on the frontal region sampled. This translated to equivalent (although smaller) regional δ 13C differences among higher trophic levels. The trophic positions of species based on isotope values broadly agreed with previously published dietary data with three important exceptions. First, the carnivorous amphipod Themisto gaudichaudii had anomalously low δ 15N values. Second, Euphausia superba had δ 15N values that were also surprisingly low, considering the abundant literature suggesting its omnivory. Third, the copepod Rhincalanus gigas, considered a suspension feeder, had unexpectedly high δ 15N values rather more in keeping with omnivorous feeding. The consumer δ 15N values ranged from 1.2‰ (min.) measured in Salpa thompsoni (designated here as trophic level (TL) 2 across all regions) to 15.2‰ (max.) measured in white-chinned petrels ( Procellaria aequinoctialis, calculated as TL5 relative to the TL2 of salps). Excluding seabirds, the resulting food chain length of 3.7 TL (above POM at TL1) was lower than in most other Southern Ocean and temperate marine pelagic ecosystems. The majority (60%) of vertebrate predators occupied only 1-1.5 trophic levels above the herbivorous suspension feeders such as krill

  13. Food-Web Structure of Seagrass Communities across Different Spatial Scales and Human Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Coll, Marta; Schmidt, Allison; Romanuk, Tamara; Lotze, Heike K.

    2011-01-01

    Seagrass beds provide important habitat for a wide range of marine species but are threatened by multiple human impacts in coastal waters. Although seagrass communities have been well-studied in the field, a quantification of their food-web structure and functioning, and how these change across space and human impacts has been lacking. Motivated by extensive field surveys and literature information, we analyzed the structural features of food webs associated with Zostera marina across 16 study sites in 3 provinces in Atlantic Canada. Our goals were to (i) quantify differences in food-web structure across local and regional scales and human impacts, (ii) assess the robustness of seagrass webs to simulated species loss, and (iii) compare food-web structure in temperate Atlantic seagrass beds with those of other aquatic ecosystems. We constructed individual food webs for each study site and cumulative webs for each province and the entire region based on presence/absence of species, and calculated 16 structural properties for each web. Our results indicate that food-web structure was similar among low impact sites across regions. With increasing human impacts associated with eutrophication, however, food-web structure show evidence of degradation as indicated by fewer trophic groups, lower maximum trophic level of the highest top predator, fewer trophic links connecting top to basal species, higher fractions of herbivores and intermediate consumers, and higher number of prey per species. These structural changes translate into functional changes with impacted sites being less robust to simulated species loss. Temperate Atlantic seagrass webs are similar to a tropical seagrass web, yet differed from other aquatic webs, suggesting consistent food-web characteristics across seagrass ecosystems in different regions. Our study illustrates that food-web structure and functioning of seagrass habitats change with human impacts and that the spatial scale of food-web analysis

  14. Bioaccumulation of toxaphene congeners in the lake superior food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muir, D.C.G.; Whittle, D.M.; De Vault, D. S.; Bronte, C.R.; Karlsson, H.; Backus, S.; Teixeira, C.

    2004-01-01

    The bioaccumulation and biotransformation of toxaphene was examined in the food webs of Lake Superior and Siskiwit Lake (Isle Royale) using congener specific analysis as well as stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen to characterize food webs. Toxaphene concentrations (calculated using technical toxaphene) in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from the western basin of Lake Superior (N = 95) averaged (±SD) 889 ± 896 ng/g wet wt and 60 ± 34 ng/g wet wt in Siskiwit Lake. Major congeners in lake trout were B8-789 (P38), B8-2226 (P44), B9-1679 (P50), and B9-1025 (P62). Toxaphene concentrations were found to vary seasonally, especially in lower food web organisms in Lake Superior and to a lesser extent in Siskiwit Lake. Toxaphene concentrations declined significantly in lake herring (Coregonus artedii), rainbow smelt (Omerus mordax), and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) as well as in zooplankton (> 102 &mn;m) and Mysis (Mysis relicta) between May and October. The seasonal variation may reflect seasonal shifts in the species abundance within the zooplankton community. Trophic magnification factors (TMF) derived from regressions of toxaphene congener concentrations versus δ15N were > 1 for most octa- and nonachlorobornanes in Lake Superior except B8-1413 (P26) and B9-715. Log bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for toxaphene congeners in lake trout (ng/g lipid/ng/L dissolved) ranged from 4.54 to 9.7 and were significantly correlated with log octanol-water partition coefficients. TMFs observed for total toxaphene and congener B9-1679 in Lake Superior were similar to those in Arctic lakes, as well as to previous studies in the Great Lakes, which suggests that the bioaccumulation behavior of toxaphene is similar in pelagic food webs of large, cold water systems. However, toxaphene concentrations were lower in lake trout from Siskiwit Lake and lakes in northwestern Ontario than in Lake Superior possibly because of shorter food chains and greater reliance on zooplankton or

  15. Food-web based unified model of macro- and microevolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chowdhury, Debashish; Stauffer, Dietrich

    2003-10-01

    We incorporate the generic hierarchical architecture of foodwebs into a “unified” model that describes both micro- and macroevolutions within a single theoretical framework. This model describes the microevolution in detail by accounting for the birth, ageing, and natural death of individual organisms as well as prey-predator interactions on a hierarchical dynamic food web. It also provides a natural description of random mutations and speciation (origination) of species as well as their extinctions. The distribution of lifetimes of species follows an approximate power law only over a limited regime.

  16. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... consumers to higher trophic levels. The reduction or potential elimination of food chain organism... aquatic organisms in the food web. 230.31 Section 230.31 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic...

  17. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... consumers to higher trophic levels. The reduction or potential elimination of food chain organism... aquatic organisms in the food web. 230.31 Section 230.31 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic...

  18. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... consumers to higher trophic levels. The reduction or potential elimination of food chain organism... aquatic organisms in the food web. 230.31 Section 230.31 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic...

  19. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... consumers to higher trophic levels. The reduction or potential elimination of food chain organism... aquatic organisms in the food web. 230.31 Section 230.31 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic...

  20. Land use alters the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to drought

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Liiri, Mira E.; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Bowker, Matthew A.; Christensen, Søren; Setälä, Heikki; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Soils deliver several ecosystem services including carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling, which are of central importance to climate mitigation and sustainable food production. Soil biota play an important role in carbon and nitrogen cycling, and, although the effects of land use on soil food webs are well documented the consequences for their resistance and resilience to climate change are not known. We compared the resistance and resilience to drought--which is predicted to increase under climate change of soil food webs of two common land-use systems: intensively managed wheat with a bacterial-based soil food web and extensively managed grassland with a fungal-based soil food web. We found that the fungal-based food web, and the processes of C and N loss it governs, of grassland soil was more resistant, although not resilient, and better able to adapt to drought than the bacterial-based food web of wheat soil. Structural equation modelling revealed that fungal-based soil food webs and greater microbial evenness mitigated C and N loss. Our findings show that land use strongly affects the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to climate change, and that extensively managed grassland promotes more resistant, and adaptable, fungal-based soil food webs.

  1. Facilitating Scientific Collaboration and Education with Easy Access Web Maps Using the AGAP Antarctic Geophysical Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdi, A.

    2012-12-01

    Science and science education benefit from easy access to data yet often geophysical data sets are large, complex and difficult to share. The difficulty in sharing data and imagery easily inhibits both collaboration and the use of real data in educational applications. The dissemination of data products through web maps serves a very efficient and user-friendly method for students, the public and the science community to gain insights and understanding from data. Few research groups provide direct access to their data, let alone map-based visualizations. By building upon current GIS infrastructure with web mapping technologies, like ArcGIS Server, scientific groups, institutions and agencies can enhance the value of their GIS investments. The advantages of web maps to serve data products are many; existing web-mapping technology allows complex GIS analysis to be shared across the Internet, and can be easily scaled from a few users to millions. This poster highlights the features of an interactive web map developed at the Polar Geophysics Group at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University that provides a visual representation of, and access to, data products that resulted from the group's recently concluded AGAP project (http://pgg.ldeo.columbia.edu). The AGAP project collected more than 120,000 line km of new aerogeophysical data using two Twin Otter aircrafts. Data included ice penetrating radar, magnetometer, gravimeter and laser altimeter measurements. The web map is based upon ArcGIS Viewer for Flex, which is a configurable client application built on the ArcGIS API for Flex that works seamlessly with ArcGIS Server 10. The application can serve a variety of raster and vector file formats through the Data Interoperability for Server, which eliminates data sharing barriers across numerous file formats. The ability of the application to serve large datasets is only hindered by the availability of appropriate hardware. ArcGIS is a proprietary

  2. Food-web complexity, meta-community complexity and community stability.

    PubMed

    Mougi, A; Kondoh, M

    2016-01-01

    What allows interacting, diverse species to coexist in nature has been a central question in ecology, ever since the theoretical prediction that a complex community should be inherently unstable. Although the role of spatiality in species coexistence has been recognized, its application to more complex systems has been less explored. Here, using a meta-community model of food web, we show that meta-community complexity, measured by the number of local food webs and their connectedness, elicits a self-regulating, negative-feedback mechanism and thus stabilizes food-web dynamics. Moreover, the presence of meta-community complexity can give rise to a positive food-web complexity-stability effect. Spatiality may play a more important role in stabilizing dynamics of complex, real food webs than expected from ecological theory based on the models of simpler food webs. PMID:27071716

  3. Food-web complexity, meta-community complexity and community stability

    PubMed Central

    Mougi, A.; Kondoh, M.

    2016-01-01

    What allows interacting, diverse species to coexist in nature has been a central question in ecology, ever since the theoretical prediction that a complex community should be inherently unstable. Although the role of spatiality in species coexistence has been recognized, its application to more complex systems has been less explored. Here, using a meta-community model of food web, we show that meta-community complexity, measured by the number of local food webs and their connectedness, elicits a self-regulating, negative-feedback mechanism and thus stabilizes food-web dynamics. Moreover, the presence of meta-community complexity can give rise to a positive food-web complexity-stability effect. Spatiality may play a more important role in stabilizing dynamics of complex, real food webs than expected from ecological theory based on the models of simpler food webs. PMID:27071716

  4. Dynamics of the Lake Michigan food web, 1970-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Johengen, Thomas H.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Fleischer, Guy W.; Schneeberger, Philip J.; Benjamin, Darren M.; Smith, Emily B.; Bence, James R.; Rutherford, Edward S.; Lavis, Dennis S.; Robertson, Dale M.; Jude, David J.; Ebener, Mark P.

    2002-01-01

    Herein, we document changes in the Lake Michigan food web between 1970 and 2000 and identify the factors responsible for these changes. Control of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) populations in Lake Michigan, beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, had profound effects on the food web. Recoveries of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and burbot (Lota lota) populations, as well as the buildup of salmonine populations, were attributable, at least in part, to sea lamprey control. Based on our analyses, predation by salmonines was primarily responsible for the reduction in alewife abundance during the 1970s and early 1980s. In turn, the decrease in alewife abundance likely contributed to recoveries of deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsoni), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and burbot populations during the 1970s and 1980s. Decrease in the abundance of all three dominant benthic macroinvertebrate groups, including Diporeia, oligochaetes, and sphaeriids, during the 1980s in nearshore waters (50 m deep) of Lake Michigan, was attributable to a decrease in primary production linked to a decline in phosphorus loadings. Continued decrease in Diporeia abundance during the 1990s was associated with the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) invasion, but specific mechanisms for zebra mussels affecting Diporeia abundance remain unidentified.

  5. Application of information theory methods to food web reconstruction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moniz, L.J.; Cooch, E.G.; Ellner, S.P.; Nichols, J.D.; Nichols, J.M.

    2007-01-01

    In this paper we use information theory techniques on time series of abundances to determine the topology of a food web. At the outset, the food web participants (two consumers, two resources) are known; in addition we know that each consumer prefers one of the resources over the other. However, we do not know which consumer prefers which resource, and if this preference is absolute (i.e., whether or not the consumer will consume the non-preferred resource). Although the consumers and resources are identified at the beginning of the experiment, we also provide evidence that the consumers are not resources for each other, and the resources do not consume each other. We do show that there is significant mutual information between resources; the model is seasonally forced and some shared information between resources is expected. Similarly, because the model is seasonally forced, we expect shared information between consumers as they respond to the forcing of the resources. The model that we consider does include noise, and in an effort to demonstrate that these methods may be of some use in other than model data, we show the efficacy of our methods with decreasing time series size; in this particular case we obtain reasonably clear results with a time series length of 400 points. This approaches ecological time series lengths from real systems.

  6. Model of carbon cycling in planktonic food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Connolly, J.P.; Coffin, R.B.

    1995-10-01

    A mathematical model of carbon fluxes through the heterotrophic microbial food web is developed from a synthesis of laboratory and field research. The basis of the model is the segregation of organic carbon into lability classes that are defined by bioassay experiments. Bacteria, phytoplankton, three trophic levels of zooplankton, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) are modeled. The descriptions of bacterial growth and utilization of the various classes of substrate were treated as universal constants in the application of the model to three distinct ecosystems, ranging from oligotrophic to highly eutrophic. The successful application of the model to these diverse ecosystems supports the basic validity of the description of the microbial food web and the dynamics of carbon flux. The model indicates that the dynamics of bacteria and protozoan zooplankton production govern the rates of oxidation of carbon entering the water column. Explicit consideration of these groups would improve the capability of eutrophication models to predict dissolved oxygen dynamics, particularly when projecting responses to loading changes.

  7. Invasions and Extinctions Reshape Coastal Marine Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Byrnes, Jarrett E.; Reynolds, Pamela L.; Stachowicz, John J.

    2007-01-01

    The biodiversity of ecosystems worldwide is changing because of species loss due to human-caused extinctions and species gain through intentional and accidental introductions. Here we show that the combined effect of these two processes is altering the trophic structure of food webs in coastal marine systems. This is because most extinctions (∼70%) occur at high trophic levels (top predators and other carnivores), while most invasions are by species from lower trophic levels (70% macroplanktivores, deposit feeders, and detritivores). These opposing changes thus alter the shape of marine food webs from a trophic pyramid capped by a diverse array of predators and consumers to a shorter, squatter configuration dominated by filter feeders and scavengers. The consequences of the simultaneous loss of diversity at top trophic levels and gain at lower trophic levels is largely unknown. However, current research suggests that a better understanding of how such simultaneous changes in diversity can impact ecosystem function will be required to manage coastal ecosystems and forecast future changes. PMID:17356703

  8. Biomagnification of polychlorinated biphenyls through a riverine food web

    SciTech Connect

    Zaranko, D.T.; Kaushik, N.K.; Griffiths, R.W.

    1997-07-01

    From 1989 to 1993, biota collected from Pottersburg Creek, London, ON, Canada were analyzed for total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lipids. Data were analyzed by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with lipid as the covariate, to investigate station, time, and trophic effects on PCB accumulation in aquatic organisms. All three variables were highly significant. PCB concentrations in biota decreased along the length of the creek away from the point source. PCB concentrations in biota collected in July 1993 were not significantly different from concentrations in biota collected in July 1990, suggesting that sources into the creek have not been alleviated. The relationship between PCBs and lipid for biota from Pottersburg Creek suggests that organisms accumulate PCBs relative to their position in the food web. Fish and leeches occupying the top of the food web accumulated more PCBs than organisms occupying a lower trophic position (crayfish and oligochaetes/chironomids), indicating that biomagnification through trophic transfer (i.e., the uptake of a chemical through ingestion) is the primary mechanism governing contaminant levels in biota and not bioconcentration (i.e, the uptake of a chemical from water).

  9. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in evolving food webs.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, K T; Drossel, B

    2016-05-19

    We use computer simulations in order to study the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) during both the formation and the ongoing evolution of large food webs. A species in our model is characterized by its own body mass, its preferred prey body mass and the width of its potential prey body mass spectrum. On an ecological time scale, population dynamics determines which species are viable and which ones go extinct. On an evolutionary time scale, new species emerge as modifications of existing ones. The network structure thus emerges and evolves in a self-organized manner. We analyse the relation between functional diversity and five community level measures of ecosystem functioning. These are the metabolic loss of the predator community, the total biomasses of the basal and the predator community, and the consumption rates on the basal community and within the predator community. Clear BEF relations are observed during the initial build-up of the networks, or when parameters are varied, causing bottom-up or top-down effects. However, ecosystem functioning measures fluctuate only very little during long-term evolution under constant environmental conditions, despite changes in functional diversity. This result supports the hypothesis that trophic cascades are weaker in more complex food webs. PMID:27114582

  10. Invasions and extinctions reshape coastal marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Byrnes, Jarrett E; Reynolds, Pamela L; Stachowicz, John J

    2007-01-01

    The biodiversity of ecosystems worldwide is changing because of species loss due to human-caused extinctions and species gain through intentional and accidental introductions. Here we show that the combined effect of these two processes is altering the trophic structure of food webs in coastal marine systems. This is because most extinctions ( approximately 70%) occur at high trophic levels (top predators and other carnivores), while most invasions are by species from lower trophic levels (70% macroplanktivores, deposit feeders, and detritivores). These opposing changes thus alter the shape of marine food webs from a trophic pyramid capped by a diverse array of predators and consumers to a shorter, squatter configuration dominated by filter feeders and scavengers. The consequences of the simultaneous loss of diversity at top trophic levels and gain at lower trophic levels is largely unknown. However, current research suggests that a better understanding of how such simultaneous changes in diversity can impact ecosystem function will be required to manage coastal ecosystems and forecast future changes. PMID:17356703

  11. Native and nonnative fish populations of the Colorado River are food limited--evidence from new food web analyses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennedy, Theodore A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Hall, Robert O., Jr.; Baxter, Colden V.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.

    2013-01-01

    Fish populations in the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam appear to be limited by the availability of high-quality invertebrate prey. Midge and blackfly production is low and nonnative rainbow trout in Glen Canyon and native fishes in Grand Canyon consume virtually all of the midge and blackfly biomass that is produced annually. In Glen Canyon, the invertebrate assemblage is dominated by nonnative New Zealand mudsnails, the food web has a simple structure, and transfers of energy from the base of the web (algae) to the top of the web (rainbow trout) are inefficient. The food webs in Grand Canyon are more complex relative to Glen Canyon, because, on average, each species in the web is involved in more interactions and feeding connections. Based on theory and on studies from other ecosystems, the structure and organization of Grand Canyon food webs should make them more stable and less susceptible to large changes following perturbations of the flow regime relative to food webs in Glen Canyon. In support of this hypothesis, Grand Canyon food webs were much less affected by a 2008 controlled flood relative to the food web in Glen Canyon.

  12. Moving up the information food chain: Deploying softbots on the World Wide Web

    SciTech Connect

    Etzioni, O.

    1996-12-31

    I view the World Wide Web as an information food chain. The maze of pages and hyperlinks that comprise the Web are at the very bottom of the chain. The WebCrawlers and Alta Vistas of the world are information herbivores; they graze on Web pages and regurgitate them as searchable indices. Today, most Web users feed near the bottom of the information food chain, but the time is ripe to move up. Since 1991, we have been building information carnivores, which intelligently hunt and feast on herbivores in Unix, on the Internet, and on the Web.

  13. Effects of Whaling on the Structure of the Southern Ocean Food Web: Insights on the “Krill Surplus” from Ecosystem Modelling

    PubMed Central

    Surma, Szymon; Pakhomov, Evgeny A.; Pitcher, Tony J.

    2014-01-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the ecological plausibility of the “krill surplus” hypothesis and the effects of whaling on the Southern Ocean food web using mass-balance ecosystem modelling. The depletion trajectory and unexploited biomass of each rorqual population in the Antarctic was reconstructed using yearly catch records and a set of species-specific surplus production models. The resulting estimates of the unexploited biomass of Antarctic rorquals were used to construct an Ecopath model of the Southern Ocean food web existing in 1900. The rorqual depletion trajectory was then used in an Ecosim scenario to drive rorqual biomasses and examine the “krill surplus” phenomenon and whaling effects on the food web in the years 1900–2008. An additional suite of Ecosim scenarios reflecting several hypothetical trends in Southern Ocean primary productivity were employed to examine the effect of bottom-up forcing on the documented krill biomass trend. The output of the Ecosim scenarios indicated that while the “krill surplus” hypothesis is a plausible explanation of the biomass trends observed in some penguin and pinniped species in the mid-20th century, the excess krill biomass was most likely eliminated by a rapid decline in primary productivity in the years 1975–1995. Our findings suggest that changes in physical conditions in the Southern Ocean during this time period could have eliminated the ecological effects of rorqual depletion, although the mechanism responsible is currently unknown. Furthermore, a decline in iron bioavailability due to rorqual depletion may have contributed to the rapid decline in overall Southern Ocean productivity during the last quarter of the 20th century. The results of this study underscore the need for further research on historical changes in the roles of top-down and bottom-up forcing in structuring the Southern Ocean food web. PMID:25517505

  14. Evidence for the persistence of food web structure after amphibian extirpation in a Neotropical stream.

    PubMed

    Barnum, Thomas R; Drake, John M; Colón-Gaud, Checo; Rugenski, Amanda T; Frauendorf, Therese C; Connelly, Scott; Kilham, Susan S; Whiles, Matt R; Lips, Karen R; Pringle, Catherine M

    2015-08-01

    Species losses are predicted to simplify food web structure, and disease-driven amphibian declines in Central America offer an opportunity to test this prediction. Assessment of insect community composition, combined with gut content analyses, was used to generate periphyton-insect food webs for a Panamanian stream, both pre- and post-amphibian decline. We then used network analysis to assess the effects of amphibian declines on food web structure. Although 48% of consumer taxa, including many insect taxa, were lost between pre- and post-amphibian decline sampling dates, connectance declined by less than 3%. We then quantified the resilience of food web structure by calculating the number of expected cascading extirpations from the loss of tadpoles. This analysis showed the expected effects of species loss on connectance and linkage density to be more than 60% and 40%, respectively, than were actually observed. Instead, new trophic linkages in the post-decline food web reorganized the food web topology, changing the identity of "hub" taxa, and consequently reducing the effects of amphibian declines on many food web attributes. Resilience of food web attributes was driven by a combination of changes in consumer diets, particularly those of insect predators, as well as the appearance of generalist insect consumers, suggesting that food web structure is maintained by factors independent of the original trophic linkages. PMID:26405736

  15. Snow Web 2.0: The Next Generation of Antarctic Meteorological Monitoring Systems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coggins, J.; McDonald, A.; Plank, G.; Pannell, M.; Ward, R.; Parsons, S.

    2012-04-01

    Adequate in-situ observation of the Antarctic lower atmosphere has proved problematic, due to a combination of the inhospitable nature and extent of the continent. Traditional weather stations are expensive, subject to extreme weather for long periods and are often isolated, and as such are prone to failure and logistically difficult to repair. We have developed the first generation of an extended system of atmospheric sensors, each costing a fraction of the price of a traditional weather station. The system is capable of performing all of the monitoring tasks of a traditional station, but has built-in redundancy over the traditional approach because many units can be deployed in a relatively small area for similar expenditure as one large weather station. Furthermore, each unit is equipped with wireless networking capabilities and so is able to share information with those units in its direct vicinity. This allows for the ferrying of collected information to a manned observation station and hence the ability to monitor data in real-time. The distributed nature of the data collected can then be used as a stand-alone product to investigate small-scale weather and climate phenomena or integrated into larger studies and be used to monitor wide regions. GPS hardware installed on each unit also allows for high-resolution glacier or ice-shelf tracking. As a testing and data gathering study, eighteen such weather stations were deployed in the vicinity of Scott Base, Ross Island, Antarctica over the 2011/12 summer season. This presentation reports on findings from this field study, and discusses possibilities for the future.

  16. The paradox of pelagic food webs in the northern Bering Sea—I. Seabird food habits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Springer, Alan M.; Murphy, Edward C.; Roseneau, David G.; McRoy, C. Peter; Cooper, Brian A.

    1987-08-01

    Two distinct environmental settings in the Bering Strait region of the northern Bering Sea lead to characteristic pathways of energy flow through primarily pelagic food webs to avian consumers. In Norton Sound, a large, shallow embayment on the northeastern coast, the physical environment is dominated by the discharge of the Yukon River and by a large seasonal temperature signal. Seabirds breeding at Bluff, the largest colony in Norton Sound, number in the order of 5 × 10 4 and require 1.2 × 10 6 g C d -1. Two piscivorous species constitute the bulk of all seabirds there and are supported by a pelagic food web typical of the coastal zone of the Bering and Chukchi seas. This food web also is present around St. Lawrence Island, on the northwestern shelf, and is important to at least one species of seabird there. In addition, and generally more important, St. Lawrence Island is in a biologically rich environment resulting from the northward flow of water that originates along the continental shelf break of the Bering Sea. This flow apparently accounts for the unexpected presence of oceanic zooplankton and a diversity of forage fishes on the shallow northern shelf that support an abundant and taxonomically rich avifauna. In comparison to Norton Sound, breeding seabirds on St. Lawrence Island number in the order of 2 × 10 6, with planktivores consuming about 8 × 10 6 g C d -1 and piscivores consuming about 16 × 10 6 g C d -1.

  17. Spatial scales of carbon flow in a river food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Finlay, J.C.; Khandwala, S.; Power, M.E.

    2002-01-01

    Spatial extents of food webs that support stream and river consumers are largely unknown, but such information is essential for basic understanding and management of lotic ecosystems. We used predictable variation in algal ??13C with water velocity, and measurements of consumer ??13C and ??15N to examine carbon flow and trophic structure in food webs of the South Fork Eel River in Northern California. Analyses of ??13C showed that the most abundant macroinvertebrate groups (collector-gatherers and scrapers) relied on algae from local sources within their riffle or shallow pool habitats. In contrast, filter-feeding invertebrates in riffles relied in part on algal production derived from upstream shallow pools. Riffle invertebrate predators also relied in part on consumers of pool-derived algal carbon. One abundant taxon drifting from shallow pools and riffles (baetid mayflies) relied on algal production derived from the habitats from which they dispersed. The trophic linkage from pool algae to riffle invertebrate predators was thus mediated through either predation on pool herbivores dispersing into riffles, or on filter feeders. Algal production in shallow pool habitats dominated the resource base of vertebrate predators in all habitats at the end of the summer. We could not distinguish between the trophic roles of riffle algae and terrestrial detritus, but both carbon sources appeared to play minor roles for vertebrate consumers. In shallow pools, small vertebrates, including three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), roach (Hesperoleucas symmetricus), and rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa), relied on invertebrate prey derived from local pool habitats. During the most productive summer period, growth of all size classes of steelhead and resident rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in all habitats (shallow pools, riffles, and deep unproductive pools) was largely derived from algal production in shallow pools. Preliminary data suggest that the strong

  18. Food and Beverage Brands that Market to Children and Adolescents on the Internet: A Content Analysis of Branded Web Sites

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henry, Anna E.; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

    Objective: To identify food and beverage brand Web sites featuring designated children's areas, assess marketing techniques present on those industry Web sites, and determine nutritional quality of branded food items marketed to children. Design: Systematic content analysis of food and beverage brand Web sites and nutrient analysis of food and…

  19. Weighting and indirect effects identify keystone species in food webs.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Lei; Zhang, Huayong; O'Gorman, Eoin J; Tian, Wang; Ma, Athen; Moore, John C; Borrett, Stuart R; Woodward, Guy

    2016-09-01

    Species extinctions are accelerating globally, yet the mechanisms that maintain local biodiversity remain poorly understood. The extinction of species that feed on or are fed on by many others (i.e. 'hubs') has traditionally been thought to cause the greatest threat of further biodiversity loss. Very little attention has been paid to the strength of those feeding links (i.e. link weight) and the prevalence of indirect interactions. Here, we used a dynamical model based on empirical energy budget data to assess changes in ecosystem stability after simulating the loss of species according to various extinction scenarios. Link weight and/or indirect effects had stronger effects on food-web stability than the simple removal of 'hubs', demonstrating that both quantitative fluxes and species dissipating their effects across many links should be of great concern in biodiversity conservation, and the potential for 'hubs' to act as keystone species may have been exaggerated to date. PMID:27346328

  20. Stability and Resilience as Organizing Constructs for Aquatic Food Webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laws, E. A.

    2003-12-01

    The idea that physical, chemical, and biological systems tend to persist in stable configurations underlies much theoretical understanding of systems behavior. Systems analysis indicates that locally (as opposed to globally) stable configurations of systems may persist indefinitely. The existence of such locally stable configurations may to some extent explain the phenomenon of regime shifts and the irreversibility of some anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems. In a stochastic environment merely being stable is not good enough. Resilience becomes important. Given a multitude of stable system configurations, a stochastic environment will tend to select for those configurations that are most resilient. The greater the variance associated with environmental noise, the greater the selection pressure. Application of the concept of maximum resilience to pelagic and mesopelagic food webs leads to predictions about system behavior that are in remarkable agreement with observations. The predictions underscore the role of temperature as a regulator of community behavior.

  1. Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Braeckman, Ulrike; Provoost, Pieter; Moens, Tom; Soetaert, Karline; Middelburg, Jack J; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The (13)C labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Δδ(13)C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom (13)C was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (µg C m(-2)), which included TO(13)C remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source

  2. Shifts in the trophic base of intermittent stream food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dekar, Matthew P.; Magoulick, Daniel D.; Huxel, G.R.

    2009-01-01

    Understanding spatial and temporal variation in the trophic base of stream food webs is critical for predicting population and community stability, and ecosystem function. We used stable isotope ratios (13C/12C, and 15N/14N) to characterize the trophic base of two streams in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, U.S.A. We predicted that autochthonous resources would be more important during the spring and summer and allochthonous resources would be more important in the winter due to increased detritus inputs from the riparian zone during autumn leaf drop. We predicted that stream communities would demonstrate increased reliance on autochthonous resources at sites with larger watersheds and greater canopy openness. The study was conducted at three low-order sites in the Mulberry River Drainage (watershed area range: 81-232 km2) seasonally in 2006 and 2007. We used circular statistics to examine community-wide shifts in isotope space among fish and invertebrate consumers in relation to basal resources, including detritus and periphyton. Mixing models were used to quantify the relative contribution of autochthonous and allochthonous energy sources to individual invertebrate consumers. Significant isotopic shifts occurred but results varied by season and site indicating substantial variation in the trophic base of stream food webs. In terms of temporal variation, consumers shifted toward periphyton in the summer during periods of low discharge, but results varied during the interval between summer and winter. Our results did not demonstrate increased reliance on periphyton with increasing watershed area or canopy openness, and detritus was important at all the sites. In our study, riffle-pool geomorphology likely disrupted the expected spatial pattern and stream drying likely impacted the availability and distribution of basal resources.

  3. Bioaccumulation of organochlorines in the Arctic marine food web

    SciTech Connect

    Hargrave, B.; Phillips, G.; Vass, W.; Harding, G.; Welch, H.

    1995-12-31

    Five classes of organochlorine (OC) compounds (hexachlorocyclohexane (HCB and HCHs), cyclodienes, isomers of DDT and its metabolites and congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and toxaphene (CHBs)) have been detected in under-ice epontic particulate matter and tissue samples of marine biota from lower trophic levels of the Arctic Ocean at sites in Barrow Strait within the Canadian archipelago (75{degree}N), coastal (79{degree}N) and central Arctic basin (85{degree}N) locations. HCBs, PCBs, isomers of DDT and DDE, chlordane, dieldrin, alpha-endosulphan, HCB and {alpha}-HCH were present in quantifiable amounts in all samples. {beta}- and {gamma}-HCH and the cyclodienes aldrin, endrin, heptachlor, heptachlor epoxide, methoxychlor and mirex were detected but could not be quantified. All OCs measured in biota were also present in the Arctic atmosphere, particulate and dissolved fractions of snow, ice melt water and seawater, Small bodied marine organisms such as zooplankton and amphipods which are short-lived have a lower lipid content for storage of OCs than larger animals such as fish and mammals. Biomagnification factors calculated from presumed predator-prey links in the marine food web varied over two orders of magnitude for different OCs. Ratios for epontic particulates and plankton (< 10) were generally lower than values for trophic links between amphipods and published values for arctic marine fish and mammals (10--100). PCBs, DDT and chlordanes are biomagnified in the Arctic marine food web to a far greater degree than more abundant OC compounds such as HCHs and HCB that have a higher water solubility.

  4. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs.

    PubMed

    Naiman, Robert J; Alldredge, J Richard; Beauchamp, David A; Bisson, Peter A; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N; Pearcy, William G; Rieman, Bruce E; Ruggerone, Gregory T; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E; Wood, Chris C

    2012-12-26

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure--without explicitly considering food webs--has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management. PMID:23197837

  5. IMPORTANCE OF TEMPERATURE IN MODELLING PCB BIOACCUMULATION IN THE LAKE MICHIGAN FOOD WEB

    EPA Science Inventory

    In most food web models, the exposure temperature of a food web is typically defined using a single spatial compartment. This essentially assumes that the predator and prey are exposed to the same temperature. However, in a large water body such as Lake Michigan, due to the spati...

  6. Benthic versus Planktonic Foundations of Three Lake Superior Coastal Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    The structure of aquatic food webs can provide information on system function, trophic dynamics and, potentially, responses to anthropogenic stressors. Stable isotope analyses in a Lake Superior coastal wetland (Allouez Bay, WI, USA) revealed that the food web was based upon carb...

  7. Exploring Fish Diversity as a Determinant of Ecosystem Properties in Aquatic Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carey, Michael P.

    2009-01-01

    Dramatic biodiversity changes occurring globally from species loss and invasion have altered native food webs and ecosystem processes. My research objectives are to understand the consequences of fish diversity to freshwater systems by (1) examining the food web consequences of multiple top predators, (2) determining how biodiversity influences…

  8. Can You Build It? Using Manipulatives to Assess Student Understanding of Food-Web Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grumbine, Richard

    2012-01-01

    This article outlines an exercise that assesses student knowledge of food-web and energy-flow concepts. Students work in teams and use manipulatives to build food-web models based on criteria assigned by the instructor. The models are then peer reviewed according to guidelines supplied by the instructor.

  9. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. However, since the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic position of organisms—particularly omnivores and higher-order consumers—have remained a major problem in food web ecology, our knowledge ...

  10. Comparison of the structure of lower and upper estuary food webs for Yaquina Bay (OR)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Food web models can be used to estimate effects of water quality, habitat distribution or species loss on productivity, carbon flow and ecosystem service production in Pacific NW estuaries. Here we present a comparison of floral and faunal data used to parameterize food web mode...

  11. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gilarranz, Luis J.; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation. PMID:26867790

  12. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs.

    PubMed

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-01-01

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry. PMID:27068000

  13. Food webs: a ladder for picking strawberries or a practical tool for practical problems?

    PubMed Central

    Memmott, Jane

    2009-01-01

    While food webs have provided a rich vein of research material over the last 50 years, they have largely been the subject matter of the pure ecologist working in natural habitats. While there are some notable exceptions to this trend, there are, as I explain in this paper, many applied questions that could be answered using a food web approach. The paper is divided into two halves. The first half provides a brief review of six areas where food webs have begun to be used as an applied tool: restoration ecology, alien species, biological control, conservation ecology, habitat management and global warming. The second half outlines five areas in which a food web approach could prove very rewarding: urban ecology, agroecology, habitat fragmentation, cross-habitat food webs and ecosystem services. PMID:19451120

  14. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Gilarranz, Luis J; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation. PMID:26867790

  15. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S.

    2016-01-01

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry. PMID:27068000

  16. Food Web Architecture and Basal Resources Interact to Determine Biomass and Stoichiometric Cascades along a Benthic Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Guariento, Rafael D.; Carneiro, Luciana S.; Caliman, Adriano; Leal, João J. F.; Bozelli, Reinaldo L.; Esteves, Francisco A.

    2011-01-01

    Understanding the effects of predators and resources on primary producers has been a major focus of interest in ecology. Within this context, the trophic cascade concept especially concerning the pelagic zone of lakes has been the focus of the majority of these studies. However, littoral food webs could be especially interesting because base trophic levels may be strongly regulated by consumers and prone to be light limited. In this study, the availability of nutrients and light and the presence of an omnivorous fish (Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus) were manipulated in enclosures placed in a humic coastal lagoon (Cabiúnas Lagoon, Macaé – RJ) to evaluate the individual and interactive effects of resource availability (nutrients and light) and food web configuration on the biomass and stoichiometry of periphyton and benthic grazers. Our findings suggest that light and nutrients interact to determine periphyton biomass and stoichiometry, which propagates to the consumer level. We observed a positive effect of the availability of nutrients on periphytic biomass and grazers' biomass, as well as a reduction of periphytic C∶N∶P ratios and an increase of grazers' N and P content. Low light availability constrained the propagation of nutrient effects on periphyton biomass and induced higher periphytic C∶N∶P ratios. The effects of fish presence strongly interacted with resource availability. In general, a positive effect of fish presence was observed for the total biomass of periphyton and grazer's biomass, especially with high resource availability, but the opposite was found for periphytic autotrophic biomass. Fish also had a significant effect on periphyton stoichiometry, but no effect was observed on grazers' stoichiometric ratios. In summary, we observed that the indirect effect of fish predation on periphyton biomass might be dependent on multiple resources and periphyton nutrient stoichiometric variation can affect consumers' stoichiometry. PMID:21789234

  17. The use of DNA barcodes in food web construction-terrestrial and aquatic ecologists unite!

    PubMed

    Roslin, Tomas; Majaneva, Sanna

    2016-09-01

    By depicting who eats whom, food webs offer descriptions of how groupings in nature (typically species or populations) are linked to each other. For asking questions on how food webs are built and work, we need descriptions of food webs at different levels of resolution. DNA techniques provide opportunities for highly resolved webs. In this paper, we offer an exposé of how DNA-based techniques, and DNA barcodes in particular, have recently been used to construct food web structure in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. We highlight how such techniques can be applied to simultaneously improve the taxonomic resolution of the nodes of the web (i.e., the species), and the links between them (i.e., who eats whom). We end by proposing how DNA barcodes and DNA information may allow new approaches to the construction of larger interaction webs, and overcome some hurdles to achieving adequate sample size. Most importantly, we propose that the joint adoption and development of these techniques may serve to unite approaches to food web studies in aquatic and terrestrial systems-revealing the extent to which food webs in these environments are structured similarly to or differently from each other, and how they are linked by dispersal. PMID:27484156

  18. Parasites as prey in aquatic food webs: implications for predator infection and parasite transmission

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thieltges, David W.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Lafferty, Levin D.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Preston, Daniel L.; Reise, Karsten; Zander, C. Dieter; Poulin, Robert

    2013-01-01

    While the recent inclusion of parasites into food-web studies has highlighted the role of parasites as consumers, there is accumulating evidence that parasites can also serve as prey for predators. Here we investigated empirical patterns of predation on parasites and their relationships with parasite transmission in eight topological food webs representing marine and freshwater ecosystems. Within each food web, we examined links in the typical predator–prey sub web as well as the predator–parasite sub web, i.e. the quadrant of the food web indicating which predators eat parasites. Most predator– parasite links represented ‘concomitant predation’ (consumption and death of a parasite along with the prey/host; 58–72%), followed by ‘trophic transmission’ (predator feeds on infected prey and becomes infected; 8–32%) and predation on free-living parasite life-cycle stages (4–30%). Parasite life-cycle stages had, on average, between 4.2 and 14.2 predators. Among the food webs, as predator richness increased, the number of links exploited by trophically transmitted parasites increased at about the same rate as did the number of links where these stages serve as prey. On the whole, our analyses suggest that predation on parasites has important consequences for both predators and parasites, and food web structure. Because our analysis is solely based on topological webs, determining the strength of these interactions is a promising avenue for future research.

  19. Food-web structure and network theory: The role of connectance and size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Williams, Richard J.; Martinez, Neo D.

    2002-10-01

    Networks from a wide range of physical, biological, and social systems have been recently described as "small-world" and "scale-free." However, studies disagree whether ecological networks called food webs possess the characteristic path lengths, clustering coefficients, and degree distributions required for membership in these classes of networks. Our analysis suggests that the disagreements are based on selective use of relatively few food webs, as well as analytical decisions that obscure important variability in the data. We analyze a broad range of 16 high-quality food webs, with 25-172 nodes, from a variety of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Food webs generally have much higher complexity, measured as connectance (the fraction of all possible links that are realized in a network), and much smaller size than other networks studied, which have important implications for network topology. Our results resolve prior conflicts by demonstrating that although some food webs have small-world and scale-free structure, most do not if they exceed a relatively low level of connectance. Although food-web degree distributions do not display a universal functional form, observed distributions are systematically related to network connectance and size. Also, although food webs often lack small-world structure because of low clustering, we identify a continuum of real-world networks including food webs whose ratios of observed to random clustering coefficients increase as a power-law function of network size over 7 orders of magnitude. Although food webs are generally not small-world, scale-free networks, food-web topology is consistent with patterns found within those classes of networks.

  20. Watershed and Lake Influences on the Energetic Base of Coastal Wetland Food Webs across the Great Lakes Basin

    EPA Science Inventory

    This manuscript examines the responses of Great Lakes coastal wetland food webs to nutrient enrichment and identifies three classes of systems whose food webs respond differently. Or is that differentially? Anyway, coastal wetlands with relatively long hydraulic residence times ...

  1. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naiman, Robert J.; Alldredge, Richard; Beauchamp, David A.; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J.; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N.; Pearcy, William G.; Rieman, Bruce E.; Ruggerone, Gregory T.; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E.; Wood, Chris C.

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure—without explicitly considering food webs—has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management.

  2. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    PubMed Central

    Naiman, Robert J.; Alldredge, J. Richard; Beauchamp, David A.; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J.; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N.; Pearcy, William G.; Rieman, Bruce E.; Ruggerone, Gregory T.; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E.; Wood, Chris C.

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure—without explicitly considering food webs—has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management. PMID:23197837

  3. Multiple sources of isotopic variation in a terrestrial arthropod community: challenges for disentangling food webs.

    PubMed

    Daugherty, Matthew P; Briggs, Cheryl J

    2007-08-01

    Documenting trophic links in a food web has traditionally required complex exclusion experiments coupled with extraordinarily labor-intensive direct observations of predator foraging. Newer techniques such as stable isotope analysis (SIA) may facilitate relatively quick and accurate assessments of consumer feeding behavior. Ratios of N and C isotopes are thought to be useful for determining species' trophic position (e.g., 1 degrees consumer, 2 degrees consumer, or omnivore) and their original carbon source (e.g., C3 or C4 plants; terrestrial or marine nutrients). Thus far, however, applications of stable isotopes to terrestrial arthropod food webs have suggested that high taxon-specific variation may undermine the effectiveness of this method. We applied stable isotope analysis to a pear orchard food web, in which biological control of a dominant pest, pear psylla (Cacopsylla pyricola), involves primarily generalist arthropod predators with a high frequency of omnivory. We found multiple sources of isotopic variation in this food web, including differences among plant tissues; time, stage, and taxon-specific differences among herbivores (despite similar feeding modes); and high taxon-specific variation among predators (with no clear evidence of omnivory). Collectively, these multiple sources of isotopic variation blur our view of the structure of this food web. Idiosyncrasies in consumer trophic shifts make ad hoc application of SIA to even moderately complex food webs intractable. SIA may not be a generally applicable "quick and dirty" method for delineating terrestrial food web structure-not without calibration of specific consumer food trophic shifts. PMID:17716468

  4. Food webs and carbon flux in the Barents Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wassmann, Paul; Reigstad, Marit; Haug, Tore; Rudels, Bert; Carroll, Michael L.; Hop, Haakon; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Falk-Petersen, Stig; Denisenko, Stanislav G.; Arashkevich, Elena; Slagstad, Dag; Pavlova, Olga

    2006-10-01

    Within the framework of the physical forcing, we describe and quantify the key ecosystem components and basic food web structure of the Barents Sea. Emphasis is given to the energy flow through the ecosystem from an end-to-end perspective, i.e. from bacteria, through phytoplankton and zooplankton to fish, mammals and birds. Primary production in the Barents is on average 93 g C m -2 y -1, but interannually highly variable (±19%), responding to climate variability and change (e.g. variations in Atlantic Water inflow, the position of the ice edge and low-pressure pathways). The traditional focus upon large phytoplankton cells in polar regions seems less adequate in the Barents, as the cell carbon in the pelagic is most often dominated by small cells that are entangled in an efficient microbial loop that appears to be well coupled to the grazing food web. Primary production in the ice-covered waters of the Barents is clearly dominated by planktonic algae and the supply of ice biota by local production or advection is small. The pelagic-benthic coupling is strong, in particular in the marginal ice zone. In total 80% of the harvestable production is channelled through the deep-water communities and benthos. 19% of the harvestable production is grazed by the dominating copepods Calanus finmarchicus and C. glacialis in Atlantic or Arctic Water, respectively. These two species, in addition to capelin ( Mallotus villosus) and herring ( Clupea harengus), are the keystone organisms in the Barents that create the basis for the rich assemblage of higher trophic level organisms, facilitating one of the worlds largest fisheries (capelin, cod, shrimps, seals and whales). Less than 1% of the harvestable production is channelled through the most dominating higher trophic levels such as cod, harp seals, minke whales and sea birds. Atlantic cod, seals, whales, birds and man compete for harvestable energy with similar shares. Climate variability and change, differences in recruitment

  5. Trophic groups and modules: two levels of group detection in food webs.

    PubMed

    Gauzens, Benoit; Thébault, Elisa; Lacroix, Gérard; Legendre, Stéphane

    2015-05-01

    Within food webs, species can be partitioned into groups according to various criteria. Two notions have received particular attention: trophic groups (TGs), which have been used for decades in the ecological literature, and more recently, modules. The relationship between these two group concepts remains unknown in empirical food webs. While recent developments in network theory have led to efficient methods for detecting modules in food webs, the determination of TGs (groups of species that are functionally similar) is largely based on subjective expert knowledge. We develop a novel algorithm for TG detection. We apply this method to empirical food webs and show that aggregation into TGs allows for the simplification of food webs while preserving their information content. Furthermore, we reveal a two-level hierarchical structure where modules partition food webs into large bottom-top trophic pathways, whereas TGs further partition these pathways into groups of species with similar trophic connections. This provides new perspectives for the study of dynamical and functional consequences of food-web structure, bridging topological and dynamical analysis. TGs have a clear ecological meaning and are found to provide a trade-off between network complexity and information loss. PMID:25878127

  6. Trophic transfer of contaminants in a changing arctic marine food web: Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, Canada.

    PubMed

    McKinney, Melissa A; McMeans, Bailey C; Tomy, Gregg T; Rosenberg, Bruno; Ferguson, Steven H; Morris, Adam; Muir, Derek C G; Fisk, Aaron T

    2012-09-18

    Contaminant dynamics in arctic marine food webs may be impacted by current climate-induced food web changes including increases in transient/subarctic species. We quantified food web organochlorine transfer in the Cumberland Sound (Nunavut, Canada) arctic marine food web in the presence of transient species using species-specific biomagnification factors (BMFs), trophic magnification factors (TMFs), and a multifactor model that included δ(15)N-derived trophic position and species habitat range (transient versus resident), and also considered δ(13)C-derived carbon source, thermoregulatory group, and season. Transient/subarctic species relative to residents had higher prey-to-predator BMFs of biomagnifying contaminants (1.4 to 62 for harp seal, Greenland shark, and narwhal versus 1.1 to 20 for ringed seal, arctic skate, and beluga whale, respectively). For contaminants that biomagnified in a transient-and-resident food web and a resident-only food web scenario, TMFs were higher in the former (2.3 to 10.1) versus the latter (1.7 to 4.0). Transient/subarctic species have higher tissue contaminant levels and greater BMFs likely due to higher energetic requirements associated with long-distance movements or consumption of more contaminated prey in regions outside of Cumberland Sound. These results demonstrate that, in addition to climate change-related long-range transport/deposition/revolatilization changes, increasing numbers of transient/subarctic animals may alter food web contaminant dynamics. PMID:22957980

  7. Hydrology and grazing jointly control a large-river food web.

    PubMed

    Strayer, David L; Pace, Michael L; Caraco, Nina F; Cole, Jonathan J; Findlay, Stuart E G

    2008-01-01

    Inputs of fresh water and grazing both can control aquatic food webs, but little is known about the relative strengths of and interactions between these controls. We use long-term data on the food web of the freshwater Hudson River estuary to investigate the importance of, and interactions between, inputs of fresh water and grazing by the invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Both freshwater inputs and zebra mussel grazing have strong, pervasive effects on the Hudson River food web. High flow tended to reduce population size in most parts of the food web. High grazing also reduced populations in the planktonic food web, but increased populations in the littoral food web, probably as a result of increases in water clarity. The influences of flow and zebra mussel grazing were roughly equal (i.e., within a factor of 2) for many variables over the period of our study. Zebra mussel grazing made phytoplankton less sensitive to freshwater inputs, but water clarity and the littoral food web more sensitive to freshwater inputs, showing that interactions between these two controlling factors can be strong and varied. PMID:18376541

  8. Trophic groups and modules: two levels of group detection in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gauzens, Benoit; Thébault, Elisa; Lacroix, Gérard; Legendre, Stéphane

    2015-01-01

    Within food webs, species can be partitioned into groups according to various criteria. Two notions have received particular attention: trophic groups (TGs), which have been used for decades in the ecological literature, and more recently, modules. The relationship between these two group concepts remains unknown in empirical food webs. While recent developments in network theory have led to efficient methods for detecting modules in food webs, the determination of TGs (groups of species that are functionally similar) is largely based on subjective expert knowledge. We develop a novel algorithm for TG detection. We apply this method to empirical food webs and show that aggregation into TGs allows for the simplification of food webs while preserving their information content. Furthermore, we reveal a two-level hierarchical structure where modules partition food webs into large bottom–top trophic pathways, whereas TGs further partition these pathways into groups of species with similar trophic connections. This provides new perspectives for the study of dynamical and functional consequences of food-web structure, bridging topological and dynamical analysis. TGs have a clear ecological meaning and are found to provide a trade-off between network complexity and information loss. PMID:25878127

  9. Food Webs in Relation to Variation in the Environment and Species Assemblage: A Multivariate Approach

    PubMed Central

    Schriever, Tiffany A.

    2015-01-01

    The abiotic environment has strong influences on the growth, survival, behavior, and ecology of aquatic organisms. Biotic interactions and species life histories interact with abiotic factors to structure the food web. One measure of food-web structure is food-chain length. Several hypotheses predict a linear relationship between one environmental variable (e.g., disturbance or ecosystem size) and food-chain length. However, many abiotic and biotic variables interact in diverse ways to structure a community, and may affect other measures of food web structure besides food-chain length. This study took a multivariate approach to test the influence of several important environmental variables on four food-web characteristics measured in nine ponds along a hydroperiod gradient over two years. This approach allowed for testing the ecosystem size and dynamic constraints hypotheses while in context of other possibly interacting environmental variables. The relationship between amphibian and invertebrate communities and pond habitat variables was assessed to understand the underlying food-web structure. Hydroperiod and pond area had a strong influence on amphibian and invertebrate communities, trophic diversity and δ15N range. The range in δ13C values responded strongly to dissolved oxygen. Food-chain length responded to multiple environmental variables. Invertebrate and amphibian communities were structured by pond hydroperiod which in turn influenced the trophic diversity of the food web. The results of this study suggest food-chain length is influenced by environmental variation and species assemblage and that a multivariate approach may allow us to better understand the dynamics within and across aquatic food webs. PMID:25880079

  10. Food webs in relation to variation in the environment and species assemblage: a multivariate approach.

    PubMed

    Schriever, Tiffany A

    2015-01-01

    The abiotic environment has strong influences on the growth, survival, behavior, and ecology of aquatic organisms. Biotic interactions and species life histories interact with abiotic factors to structure the food web. One measure of food-web structure is food-chain length. Several hypotheses predict a linear relationship between one environmental variable (e.g., disturbance or ecosystem size) and food-chain length. However, many abiotic and biotic variables interact in diverse ways to structure a community, and may affect other measures of food web structure besides food-chain length. This study took a multivariate approach to test the influence of several important environmental variables on four food-web characteristics measured in nine ponds along a hydroperiod gradient over two years. This approach allowed for testing the ecosystem size and dynamic constraints hypotheses while in context of other possibly interacting environmental variables. The relationship between amphibian and invertebrate communities and pond habitat variables was assessed to understand the underlying food-web structure. Hydroperiod and pond area had a strong influence on amphibian and invertebrate communities, trophic diversity and δ15N range. The range in δ13C values responded strongly to dissolved oxygen. Food-chain length responded to multiple environmental variables. Invertebrate and amphibian communities were structured by pond hydroperiod which in turn influenced the trophic diversity of the food web. The results of this study suggest food-chain length is influenced by environmental variation and species assemblage and that a multivariate approach may allow us to better understand the dynamics within and across aquatic food webs. PMID:25880079

  11. Dispersed oil disrupts microbial pathways in pelagic food webs.

    PubMed

    Ortmann, Alice C; Anders, Jennifer; Shelton, Naomi; Gong, Limin; Moss, Anthony G; Condon, Robert H

    2012-01-01

    Most of the studies of microbial processes in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused on the deep water plume, and not on the surface communities. The effects of the crude oil and the application of dispersants on the coastal microbial food web in the northern Gulf of Mexico have not been well characterized even though these regions support much of the fisheries production in the Gulf. A mesocosm experiment was carried out to determine how the microbial community off the coast of Alabama may have responded to the influx of surface oil and dispersants. While the addition of glucose or oil alone resulted in an increase in the biomass of ciliates, suggesting transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels was likely; a different effect was seen in the presence of dispersant. The addition of dispersant or dispersed oil resulted in an increase in the biomass of heterotrophic prokaryotes, but a significant inhibition of ciliates, suggesting a reduction in grazing and decrease in transfer of carbon to higher trophic levels. Similar patterns were observed in two separate experiments with different starting nutrient regimes and microbial communities suggesting that the addition of dispersant and dispersed oil to the northern Gulf of Mexico waters in 2010 may have reduced the flow of carbon to higher trophic levels, leading to a decrease in the production of zooplankton and fish on the Alabama shelf. PMID:22860136

  12. Food web dynamics affect Northeast Arctic cod recruitment

    PubMed Central

    Hjermann, Dag Ø; Bogstad, Bjarte; Eikeset, Anne Maria; Ottersen, Geir; Gjøsæter, Harald; Stenseth, Nils Chr

    2006-01-01

    Proper management of ecosystems requires an understanding of both the species interactions as well as the effect of climate variation. However, a common problem is that the available time-series are of different lengths. Here, we present a general approach for studying the dynamic structure of such interactions. Specifically, we analyse the recruitment of the world's largest cod stock, the Northeast Arctic cod. Studies based on data starting in the 1970–1980s indicate that this stock is affected by temperature through a variety of pathways. However, the value of such studies is somewhat limited by the fact that they are based on a quite specific ecological and climatic situation. Recently, this stock has consisted of fairly young fish and the spawning stock has consisted of relatively few age groups. In this study, we develop a model for the effect of capelin (the cod's main prey) and herring on cod recruitment since 1973. Based on this model, we analyse data on cod, herring and temperature going back to 1921 and find that food-web effects explain a significant part of the cod recruitment variation back to around 1950. PMID:17254990

  13. Food web magnificaton of persistent organic pollutants in poikilotherms and homeotherms.

    PubMed

    Hop, Haakon; Borgá, Katrine; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Kleivane, Lars; Skaare, Janneche Utne

    2002-06-15

    Food web magnification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was determined for the Barents Sea food web using 615N as a continuous variable for assessing trophic levels (TL). The food web investigated comprised zooplankton, ice fauna and fish (poikilotherms, TL 1.7-3.3), and seabirds and seals (homeotherms, TL 3.3-4.2), with zooplankton representing the lowest and glaucous gull the highest trophic level. Concentrations of lipophilic and persistent organochlorines were orders of magnitude higher in homeotherms than in poikilotherms. These compounds had significantly higher rates of increase per trophic level in homeotherms relative to poikilotherms, with the highest food web magnification factors (FWMFs) for cischlordane and p,p'-DDE. Some compounds, such as transnonachlor and HCB, had similar rates of increase throughout the food web, whereas compounds that are more readily eliminated (gamma-HCH) showed no relationship with trophic level. It is preferable to calculate FWMFs with regard to thermal groups, because the different energy requirements and biotransformation abilities between poikilotherms and homeotherms may give different rates of contaminant increase with trophic level. When biomagnification is compared between ecosystems, FWMFs are preferable to single predator-prey biomagnification factors. FWMFs represent a trophic level increase of contaminants that is average for the food chain rather than an increase for a specific predator-prey relationship. The Barents Sea FWMFs were generally comparable to those determined for marine food webs with similar food chain lengths in the Canadian Arctic. PMID:12099454

  14. Analysis of governmental Web sites on food safety issues: a global perspective.

    PubMed

    Namkung, Young; Almanza, Barbara A

    2006-10-01

    Despite a growing concern over food safety issues, as well as a growing dependence on the Internet as a source of information, little research has been done to examine the presence and relevance of food safety-related information on Web sites. The study reported here conducted Web site analysis in order to examine the current operational status of governmental Web sites on food safety issues. The study also evaluated Web site usability, especially information dimensionalities such as utility, currency, and relevance of content, from the perspective of the English-speaking consumer. Results showed that out of 192 World Health Organization members, 111 countries operated governmental Web sites that provide information about food safety issues. Among 171 searchable Web sites from the 111 countries, 123 Web sites (71.9 percent) were accessible, and 81 of those 123 (65.9 percent) were available in English. The majority of Web sites offered search engine tools and related links for more information, but their availability and utility was limited. In terms of content, 69.9 percent of Web sites offered information on foodborne-disease outbreaks, compared with 31.5 percent that had travel- and health-related information. PMID:17066944

  15. Energy and nutrient flows connecting coastal wetland food webs to land and lake

    EPA Science Inventory

    Both landscape character and hydrologic forces (principally, tributary discharge and seiches) can influence utilization of externally-derived energy and nutrients in coastal wetland food webs. We quantified the contribution of internal vs external energy and nutrients among wetla...

  16. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area

    PubMed Central

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega. PMID:26496349

  17. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area.

    PubMed

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega. PMID:26496349

  18. Predator hunting mode influences patterns of prey use from grazing and epigeic food webs.

    PubMed

    Wimp, Gina M; Murphy, Shannon M; Lewis, Danny; Douglas, Margaret R; Ambikapathi, Ramya; Van-Tull, Lie'Ann; Gratton, Claudio; Denno, Robert F

    2013-02-01

    Multichannel omnivory by generalist predators, especially the use of both grazing and epigeic prey, has the potential to increase predator abundance and decrease herbivore populations. However, predator use of the epigeic web (soil surface detritus/microbe/algae consumers) varies considerably for reasons that are poorly understood. We therefore used a stable isotope approach to determine whether prey availability and predator hunting style (active hunting vs. passive web-building) impacted the degree of multichannel omnivory by the two most abundant predators on an intertidal salt marsh, both spiders. We found that carbon isotopic values of herbivores remained constant during the growing season, while values for epigeic feeders became dramatically more enriched such that values for the two webs converged in August. Carbon isotopic values for both spider species remained midway between the two webs as values for epigeic feeders shifted, indicating substantial use of prey from both food webs by both spider species. As the season progressed, prey abundance in the grazing food web increased while prey abundance in the epigeic web remained constant or declined. In response, prey consumption by the web-building spider shifted toward the grazing web to a much greater extent than did consumption by the hunting spider, possibly because passive web-capture is more responsive to changes in prey availability. Although both generalist predator species engaged in multichannel omnivory, hunting mode influenced the extent to which these predators used prey from the grazing and epigeic food webs, and could thereby influence the strength of trophic cascades in both food webs. PMID:22926724

  19. Methane Carbon Supports Aquatic Food Webs to the Fish Level

    PubMed Central

    Sanseverino, Angela M.; Bastviken, David; Sundh, Ingvar; Pickova, Jana; Enrich-Prast, Alex

    2012-01-01

    Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane (CH4) are produced by anaerobic mineralization of organic matter in lakes. In spite of extensive freshwater CH4 emissions, most of the CH4 is typically oxidized by methane oxidizing bacteria (MOB) before it can reach the lake surface and be emitted to the atmosphere. In turn, it has been shown that the CH4-derived biomass of MOB can provide the energy and carbon for zooplankton and macroinvertebrates. In this study, we demonstrate the presence of specific fatty acids synthesized by MOB in fish tissues having low carbon stable isotope ratios. Fish species, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates and the water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes were collected from a shallow lake in Brazil and analyzed for fatty acids (FA) and carbon stable isotope ratios (δ13C). The fatty acids 16∶1ω8c, 16∶1ω8t, 16∶1ω6c, 16∶1ω5t, 18∶1ω8c and 18∶1ω8t were used as signature for MOB. The δ13C ratios varied from −27.7‰ to −42.0‰ and the contribution of MOB FA ranged from 0.05% to 0.84% of total FA. Organisms with higher total content of MOB FAs presented lower δ13C values (i.e. they were more depleted in 13C), while organisms with lower content of MOB signature FAs showed higher δ13C values. An UPGMA cluster analysis was carried out to distinguish grouping of organisms in relation to their MOB FA contents. This combination of stable isotope and fatty acid tracers provides new evidence that assimilation of methane-derived carbon can be an important carbon source for the whole aquatic food web, up to the fish level. PMID:22880091

  20. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  1. Biogeochemistry and the structure of tropical brown food webs.

    PubMed

    Kaspari, Michael; Yanoviak, Stephen P

    2009-12-01

    Litter invertebrates are notoriously patchy at small scales. Here we show that the abundance of 10 litter taxa also varies 100-fold at landscape and regional scales across 26 forest stands in Peru and Panama. We contrast three hypotheses that link gradients of abundance to ecosystem biogeochemistry. Of 14 factors considered (12 chemical elements, plus fiber and litter depth), four best predicted the abundance of litter invertebrates. In the Secondary Productivity Hypothesis, phosphorus limits abundance via the conversion of detritus to microbial biomass. Two of four microbivore taxa, collembola and isopods, increased with the percentage of P (%P) of decomposing litter. However, percentage of S (correlated with %P) best predicted the abundance of collembola, oribatids, and diplopods (r2 = 0.38, 0.33, 0.21, respectively). In the Structural Elements Hypotheses, N and Ca limit the abundance of silk-spinning and calcareous taxa, respectively. Mesostigmatids, pseudoscorpions, and spiders, all known to make silk, each increased with percentage of N of litter (r2 = 0.22, 0.31, 0.26, respectively). Calcareous isopods, but not diplopods, increased with percentage of Ca of litter (r2 = 0.59). In the Ecosystem Size Hypothesis, top predators are limited by available space. The abundance of the three remaining predators, chilopods, staphylinids, and ants, increased with litter depth (r2 = 0.31, 0.74, 0.69, respectively), and food webs from forests with deeper litter supported a higher ratio of predators to microbivores. These results suggest that biogeochemical gradients can provide a mechanism, through stoichiometry and trophic theory, shaping the geography of community structure. PMID:20120804

  2. Road salts as environmental constraints in urban pond food webs.

    PubMed

    Van Meter, Robin J; Swan, Christopher M

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater salinization is an emerging environmental filter in urban aquatic ecosystems that receive chloride road salt runoff from vast expanses of impervious surface cover. Our study was designed to evaluate the effects of chloride contamination on urban stormwater pond food webs through changes in zooplankton community composition as well as density and biomass of primary producers and consumers. From May - July 2009, we employed a 2×2×2 full-factorial design to manipulate chloride concentration (low = 177 mg L(-1) Cl(-/)high = 1067 mg L(-1) Cl(-)), gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles (presence/absence) and source of stormwater pond algae and zooplankton inoculum (low conductance/high conductance urban ponds) in 40, 600-L mesocosms. Road salt did serve as a constraint on zooplankton community structure, driving community divergence between the low and high chloride treatments. Phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll [a] µg L(-1)) in the mesocosms was significantly greater for the high conductance inoculum (P<0.001) and in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.046), whereas periphyton biomass was significantly lower in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.049). Gray treefrog tadpole time to metamorphosis did not vary significantly between treatments. However, mass at metamorphosis was greater among tadpoles that experienced a faster than average time to metamorphosis and exposure to high chloride concentrations (P = 0.039). Our results indicate differential susceptibility to chloride salts among algal resources and zooplankton taxa, and further suggest that road salts can act as a significant environmental constraint on urban stormwater pond communities. PMID:24587259

  3. Road Salts as Environmental Constraints in Urban Pond Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Van Meter, Robin J.; Swan, Christopher M.

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater salinization is an emerging environmental filter in urban aquatic ecosystems that receive chloride road salt runoff from vast expanses of impervious surface cover. Our study was designed to evaluate the effects of chloride contamination on urban stormwater pond food webs through changes in zooplankton community composition as well as density and biomass of primary producers and consumers. From May – July 2009, we employed a 2×2×2 full-factorial design to manipulate chloride concentration (low = 177 mg L−1 Cl−/high = 1067 mg L−1 Cl−), gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles (presence/absence) and source of stormwater pond algae and zooplankton inoculum (low conductance/high conductance urban ponds) in 40, 600-L mesocosms. Road salt did serve as a constraint on zooplankton community structure, driving community divergence between the low and high chloride treatments. Phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll [a] µg L−1) in the mesocosms was significantly greater for the high conductance inoculum (P<0.001) and in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.046), whereas periphyton biomass was significantly lower in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.049). Gray treefrog tadpole time to metamorphosis did not vary significantly between treatments. However, mass at metamorphosis was greater among tadpoles that experienced a faster than average time to metamorphosis and exposure to high chloride concentrations (P = 0.039). Our results indicate differential susceptibility to chloride salts among algal resources and zooplankton taxa, and further suggest that road salts can act as a significant environmental constraint on urban stormwater pond communities. PMID:24587259

  4. Food web topology and parasites in the pelagic zone of a subarctic lake

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amundsen, P.-A.; Lafferty, K.D.; Knudsen, R.; Primicerio, R.; Klemetsen, A.; Kuris, A.M.

    2009-01-01

    Parasites permeate trophic webs with their often complex life cycles, but few studies have included parasitism in food web analyses. Here we provide a highly resolved food web from the pelagic zone of a subarctic lake and explore how the incorporation of parasites alters the topology of the web. 2. Parasites used hosts at all trophic levels and increased both food-chain lengths and the total number of trophic levels. Their inclusion in the network analyses more than doubled the number of links and resulted in an increase in important food-web characteristics such as linkage density and connectance. 3. More than half of the parasite taxa were trophically transmitted, exploiting hosts at multiple trophic levels and thus increasing the degree of omnivory in the trophic web. 4. For trophically transmitted parasites, the number of parasite-host links exhibited a positive correlation with the linkage density of the host species, whereas no such relationship was seen for nontrophically transmitted parasites. Our findings suggest that the linkage density of free-living species affects their exposure to trophically transmitted parasites, which may be more likely to adopt highly connected species as hosts during the evolution of complex life cycles. 5. The study supports a prominent role for parasites in ecological networks and demonstrates that their incorporation may substantially alter considerations of food-web structure and functioning. ?? 2009 British Ecological Society.

  5. Spatial Differences in East Scotia Ridge Hydrothermal Vent Food Webs: Influences of Chemistry, Microbiology and Predation on Trophodynamics

    PubMed Central

    Reid, William D. K.; Sweeting, Christopher J.; Wigham, Ben D.; Zwirglmaier, Katrin; Hawkes, Jeffrey A.; McGill, Rona A. R.; Linse, Katrin; Polunin, Nicholas V. C.

    2013-01-01

    The hydrothermal vents on the East Scotia Ridge are the first to be explored in the Antarctic and are dominated by large peltospiroid gastropods, stalked barnacles (Vulcanolepas sp.) and anomuran crabs (Kiwa sp.) but their food webs are unknown. Vent fluid and macroconsumer samples were collected at three vent sites (E2, E9N and E9S) at distances of tens of metres to hundreds of kilometres apart with contrasting vent fluid chemistries to describe trophic interactions and identify potential carbon fixation pathways using stable isotopes. δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon from vent fluids ranged from −4.6‰ to 0.8‰ at E2 and from −4.4‰ to 1.5‰ at E9. The lowest macroconsumer δ13C was observed in peltospiroid gastropods (−30.0‰ to −31.1‰) and indicated carbon fixation via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle by endosymbiotic gamma-Proteobacteria. Highest δ13C occurred in Kiwa sp. (−19.0‰ to −10.5‰), similar to that of the epibionts sampled from their ventral setae. Kiwa sp. δ13C differed among sites, which were attributed to spatial differences in the epibiont community and the relative contribution of carbon fixed via the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) and CBB cycles assimilated by Kiwa sp. Site differences in carbon fixation pathways were traced into higher trophic levels e.g. a stichasterid asteroid that predates on Kiwa sp. Sponges and anemones at the periphery of E2 assimilated a proportion of epipelagic photosynthetic primary production but this was not observed at E9N. Differences in the δ13C and δ34S values of vent macroconsumers between E2 and E9 sites suggest the relative contributions of photosynthetic and chemoautotrophic carbon fixation (rTCA v CBB) entering the hydrothermal vent food webs vary between the sites. PMID:23762393

  6. Regime shifts in marine communities: a complex systems perspective on food web dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Yletyinen, Johanna; Bodin, Örjan; Weigel, Benjamin; Nordström, Marie C.; Bonsdorff, Erik; Blenckner, Thorsten

    2016-01-01

    Species composition and habitats are changing at unprecedented rates in the world's oceans, potentially causing entire food webs to shift to structurally and functionally different regimes. Despite the severity of these regime shifts, elucidating the precise nature of their underlying processes has remained difficult. We address this challenge with a new analytic approach to detect and assess the relative strength of different driving processes in food webs. Our study draws on complexity theory, and integrates the network-centric exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) framework developed within the social sciences with community ecology. In contrast to previous research, this approach makes clear assumptions of direction of causality and accommodates a dynamic perspective on the emergence of food webs. We apply our approach to analysing food webs of the Baltic Sea before and after a previously reported regime shift. Our results show that the dominant food web processes have remained largely the same, although we detect changes in their magnitudes. The results indicate that the reported regime shift may not be a system-wide shift, but instead involve a limited number of species. Our study emphasizes the importance of community-wide analysis on marine regime shifts and introduces a novel approach to examine food webs. PMID:26888032

  7. Towards a framework for assessment and management of cumulative human impacts on marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Halpern, Benjamin S; Michel, Loïc N; Gobert, Sylvie; Sini, Maria; Boudouresque, Charles-François; Gambi, Maria-Cristina; Katsanevakis, Stelios; Lejeune, Pierre; Montefalcone, Monica; Pergent, Gerard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Sanchez-Jerez, Pablo; Velimirov, Branko; Vizzini, Salvatrice; Abadie, Arnaud; Coll, Marta; Guidetti, Paolo; Micheli, Fiorenza; Possingham, Hugh P

    2015-08-01

    Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic threats holistically, it is necessary to know how threats affect different components within ecosystems and ultimately alter ecosystem functioning. We used a case study of a Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) food web and expert knowledge elicitation in an application of the initial steps of a framework for assessment of cumulative human impacts on food webs. We produced a conceptual seagrass food web model, determined the main trophic relationships, identified the main threats to the food web components, and assessed the components' vulnerability to those threats. Some threats had high (e.g., coastal infrastructure) or low impacts (e.g., agricultural runoff) on all food web components, whereas others (e.g., introduced carnivores) had very different impacts on each component. Partitioning the ecosystem into its components enabled us to identify threats previously overlooked and to reevaluate the importance of threats commonly perceived as major. By incorporating this understanding of system vulnerability with data on changes in the state of each threat (e.g., decreasing domestic pollution and increasing fishing) into a food web model, managers may be better able to estimate and predict cumulative human impacts on ecosystems and to prioritize conservation actions. PMID:25704365

  8. From the Cover: Ecological community description using the food web, species abundance, and body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, Joel E.; Jonsson, Tomas; Carpenter, Stephen R.

    2003-02-01

    Measuring the numerical abundance and average body size of individuals of each species in an ecological community's food web reveals new patterns and illuminates old ones. This approach is illustrated using data from the pelagic community of a small lake: Tuesday Lake, Michigan, United States. Body mass varies almost 12 orders of magnitude. Numerical abundance varies almost 10 orders of magnitude. Biomass abundance (average body mass times numerical abundance) varies only 5 orders of magnitude. A new food web graph, which plots species and trophic links in the plane spanned by body mass and numerical abundance, illustrates the nearly inverse relationship between body mass and numerical abundance, as well as the pattern of energy flow in the community. Species with small average body mass occur low in the food web of Tuesday Lake and are numerically abundant. Larger-bodied species occur higher in the food web and are numerically rarer. Average body size explains more of the variation in numerical abundance than does trophic height. The trivariate description of an ecological community by using the food web, average body sizes, and numerical abundance includes many well studied bivariate and univariate relationships based on subsets of these three variables. We are not aware of any single community for which all of these relationships have been analyzed simultaneously. Our approach demonstrates the connectedness of ecological patterns traditionally treated as independent. Moreover, knowing the food web gives new insight into the disputed form of the allometric relationship between body mass and abundance.

  9. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web

    PubMed Central

    D’Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d’Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-01-01

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named ‘green’ and ‘blue’ - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the ‘adaptive’ responses of plankton communities to perturbations. PMID:26883643

  10. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web.

    PubMed

    D'Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d'Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-01-01

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named 'green' and 'blue' - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the 'adaptive' responses of plankton communities to perturbations. PMID:26883643

  11. Regime shifts in marine communities: a complex systems perspective on food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Yletyinen, Johanna; Bodin, Örjan; Weigel, Benjamin; Nordström, Marie C; Bonsdorff, Erik; Blenckner, Thorsten

    2016-02-24

    Species composition and habitats are changing at unprecedented rates in the world's oceans, potentially causing entire food webs to shift to structurally and functionally different regimes. Despite the severity of these regime shifts, elucidating the precise nature of their underlying processes has remained difficult. We address this challenge with a new analytic approach to detect and assess the relative strength of different driving processes in food webs. Our study draws on complexity theory, and integrates the network-centric exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) framework developed within the social sciences with community ecology. In contrast to previous research, this approach makes clear assumptions of direction of causality and accommodates a dynamic perspective on the emergence of food webs. We apply our approach to analysing food webs of the Baltic Sea before and after a previously reported regime shift. Our results show that the dominant food web processes have remained largely the same, although we detect changes in their magnitudes. The results indicate that the reported regime shift may not be a system-wide shift, but instead involve a limited number of species. Our study emphasizes the importance of community-wide analysis on marine regime shifts and introduces a novel approach to examine food webs. PMID:26888032

  12. The role of microorganisms in a planktonic food web of a floodplain lake.

    PubMed

    Segovia, Bianca Trevizan; Pereira, Danielle Goeldner; Bini, Luis Mauricio; de Meira, Bianca Ramos; Nishida, Verônica Sayuri; Lansac-Tôha, Fabio Amodêo; Velho, Luiz Felipe Machado

    2015-02-01

    Food webs include complex ecological interactions that define the flow of matter and energy, and are fundamental in understanding the functioning of an ecosystem. Temporal variations in the densities of communities belonging to the planktonic food web (i.e., microbial: bacteria, flagellate, and ciliate; and grazing: zooplankton and phytoplankton) were investigated, aiming to clarify the interactions between these organisms and the dynamics of the planktonic food web in a floodplain lake. We hypothesized that hydrological pulse determines the path of matter and energy flow through the planktonic food web of this floodplain lake. Data were collected monthly from March 2007 to February 2008 at three different sites in Guaraná Lake (Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil). The path analysis provided evidence that the dynamics of the planktonic food web was strongly influenced by the hydrological pulse. The high-water period favored interactions among the organisms of the microbial loop, rather than their relationships with zooplankton and phytoplankton. Therefore, in this period, the strong interaction among the organisms of the grazing food chain suggests that the microbial loop functions as a sink of matter and energy. In turn, in the low-water period, higher primary productivity appeared to favor different interactions between the components of the grazing food chain and microorganisms, which would function as a link to the higher trophic levels. PMID:25213653

  13. Trophic transfer of metals along freshwater food webs: Evidence of cadmium biomagnification in nature

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Croteau, M.-N.; Luoma, S.N.; Stewart, A.R.

    2005-01-01

    We conducted a study with cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu) in the delta of San Francisco Bay, using nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes to identify trophic position and food web structure. Cadmium is progressively enriched among trophic levels in discrete epiphyte-based food webs composed of macrophyte-dwelling invertebrates (the first link being epiphytic algae) and fishes (the first link being gobies). Cadmium concentrations were biomagnified 15 times within the scope of two trophic links in both food webs. Trophic enrichment in invertebrates was twice that of fishes. No tendency toward trophic-level enrichment was observed for Cu, regardless of whether organisms were sorted by food web or treated on a taxonomic basis within discrete food webs. The greatest toxic effects of Cd are likely to occur with increasing trophic positions, where animals are ingesting Cd-rich prey (or food). In Franks Tract this occurs within discrete food chains composed of macrophyte-dwelling invertebrates or fishes inhabiting submerged aquatic vegetation. Unraveling ecosystem complexity is necessary before species most exposed and at risk can be identified. ?? 2005, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc.

  14. Food web structure of sandy beaches: Temporal and spatial variation using stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergamino, Leandro; Lercari, Diego; Defeo, Omar

    2011-03-01

    The food web structure of two sandy beach ecosystems with contrasting morphodynamics (dissipative vs. reflective) was examined using stable carbon (δ 13C) and nitrogen (δ 15N) isotope analysis. Organic matter sources (POM: particulate organic matter; SOM: sediment organic matter) and consumers (zooplankton, benthic invertebrates and fishes) were sampled seasonally in both sandy beaches. Food webs significantly differed between beaches: even though both webs were mainly supported by POM, depleted δ 13C and δ 15N values for food sources and consumers were found in the dissipative system (following the reverse pattern in δ 13C values for consumers) for all the four seasons. Primary consumers (zooplankton and benthic invertebrates) use different organic matter sources on each beach and these differences are propagated up in the food web. The higher productivity found in the dissipative beach provided a significant amount of food for primary consumers, notably suspension feeders. Thus, the dissipative beach supported a more complex food web with more trophic links and a higher number of prey and top predators than the reflective beach. Morphodynamic factors could explain the contrasting differences in food web structure. The high degree of retention (nutrients and phytoplankton) recorded for the surf zone of the dissipative beach would result in the renewed accumulation of POM that sustains a more diverse and richer fauna than the reflective beach. Further studies directed to assess connections between the macroscopic food web, the surf-zone microbial loop and the interstitial compartment will provide a deeper understanding on the functioning of sandy beach ecosystems.

  15. Uncertainties in a Baltic sea food-web model reveal challenges for future projections.

    PubMed

    Niiranen, Susa; Blenckner, Thorsten; Hjerne, Olle; Tomczak, Maciej T

    2012-09-01

    Models that can project ecosystem dynamics under changing environmental conditions are in high demand. The application of such models, however, requires model validation together with analyses of model uncertainties, which are both often overlooked. We carried out a simplified model uncertainty and sensitivity analysis on an Ecopath with Ecosim food-web model of the Baltic Proper (BaltProWeb) and found the model sensitive to both variations in the input data of pre-identified key groups and environmental forcing. Model uncertainties grew particularly high in future climate change scenarios. For example, cod fishery recommendations that resulted in viable stocks in the original model failed after data uncertainties were introduced. In addition, addressing the trophic control dynamics produced by the food-web model proved as a useful tool for both model validation, and for studying the food-web function. These results indicate that presenting model uncertainties is necessary to alleviate ecological surprises in marine ecosystem management. PMID:22926883

  16. Food Chains & Webs. A Multimedia CD-ROM. [CD-ROM].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2001

    This CD-ROM is designed for classroom and individual use to teach and learn about food chains and food webs. Integrated animations, custom graphics, three-dimensional representations, photographs, and sound are featured for use in user-controlled activities. Interactive lessons are available to reinforce the subject material. Pre- and post-testing…

  17. Impact of nitrogen deposition on forest and lake food webs in nitrogen-limited environments.

    PubMed

    Meunier, Cédric L; Gundale, Michael J; Sánchez, Irene S; Liess, Antonia

    2016-01-01

    Increased reactive nitrogen (Nr ) deposition has raised the amount of N available to organisms and has greatly altered the transfer of energy through food webs, with major consequences for trophic dynamics. The aim of this review was to: (i) clarify the direct and indirect effects of Nr deposition on forest and lake food webs in N-limited biomes, (ii) compare and contrast how aquatic and terrestrial systems respond to increased Nr deposition, and (iii) identify how the nutrient pathways within and between ecosystems change in response to Nr deposition. We present that Nr deposition releases primary producers from N limitation in both forest and lake ecosystems and raises plants' N content which in turn benefits herbivores with high N requirements. Such trophic effects are coupled with a general decrease in biodiversity caused by different N-use efficiencies; slow-growing species with low rates of N turnover are replaced by fast-growing species with high rates of N turnover. In contrast, Nr deposition diminishes below-ground production in forests, due to a range of mechanisms that reduce microbial biomass, and decreases lake benthic productivity by switching herbivore growth from N to phosphorus (P) limitation, and by intensifying P limitation of benthic fish. The flow of nutrients between ecosystems is expected to change with increasing Nr deposition. Due to higher litter production and more intense precipitation, more terrestrial matter will enter lakes. This will benefit bacteria and will in turn boost the microbial food web. Additionally, Nr deposition promotes emergent insects, which subsidize the terrestrial food web as prey for insectivores or by dying and decomposing on land. So far, most studies have examined Nr -deposition effects on the food web base, whereas our review highlights that changes at the base of food webs substantially impact higher trophic levels and therefore food web structure and functioning. PMID:25953197

  18. The meaning of functional trait composition of food webs for ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

    There is a growing interest in using trait-based approaches to characterize the functional structure of animal communities. Quantitative methods have been derived mostly for plant ecology, but it is now common to characterize the functional composition of various systems such as soils, coral reefs, pelagic food webs or terrestrial vertebrate communities. With the ever-increasing availability of distribution and trait data, a quantitative method to represent the different roles of animals in a community promise to find generalities that will facilitate cross-system comparisons. There is, however, currently no theory relating the functional composition of food webs to their dynamics and properties. The intuitive interpretation that more functional diversity leads to higher resource exploitation and better ecosystem functioning was brought from plant ecology and does not apply readily to food webs. Here we appraise whether there are interpretable metrics to describe the functional composition of food webs that could foster a better understanding of their structure and functioning. We first distinguish the various roles that traits have on food web topology, resource extraction (bottom-up effects), trophic regulation (top-down effects), and the ability to keep energy and materials within the community. We then discuss positive effects of functional trait diversity on food webs, such as niche construction and bottom-up effects. We follow with a discussion on the negative effects of functional diversity, such as enhanced competition (both exploitation and apparent) and top-down control. Our review reveals that most of our current understanding of the impact of functional trait diversity on food web properties and functioning comes from an over-simplistic representation of network structure with well-defined levels. We, therefore, conclude with propositions for new research avenues for both theoreticians and empiricists. PMID:27114571

  19. The effects of food web structure on ecosystem function exceeds those of precipitation.

    PubMed

    Trzcinski, M Kurtis; Srivastava, Diane S; Corbara, Bruno; Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation. PMID:27120013

  20. Defining ecospace of Arctic marine food webs using a novel quantitative approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gale, M.; Loseto, L. L.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic is currently facing unprecedented change with developmental, physical and climatological changes. Food webs within the marine Arctic environment are highly susceptible to anthropogenic stressors and have thus far been understudied. Stable isotopes, in conjunction with a novel set of metrics, may provide a framework that allows us to understand which areas of the Arctic are most vulnerable to change. The objective of this study was to use linear distance metrics applied to stable isotopes to a) define and quantify four Arctic marine food webs in ecospace; b) enable quantifiable comparisons among the four food webs and with other ecosystems; and, c) evaluate vulnerability of the four food webs to anthropogenic stressors such as climate change. The areas studied were Hudson Bay, Beaufort Sea, Lancaster Sound and North Water Polynya. Each region was selected based on the abundance of previous research and published and available stable isotope data in peer-review literature. We selected species to cover trophic levels ranging from particulate matter to polar bears with consideration of pelagic, benthic and ice-associated energy pathways. We interpret higher diversity in baseline carbon energy as signifying higher stability in food web structure. Based on this, the Beaufort Sea food web had the highest stability; the Beaufort Sea food web occupied the largest isotopic niche space and was supported by multiple carbon sources. Areas with top-down control system, such as Lancaster Sound and North Water Polynya, would be the first to experience an increase in trophic redundancy and possible hardships from external stressors, as they have fewer basal carbon sources and greater numbers of mid-high level consumers. We conclude that a diverse carbon energy based ecosystem such as the Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay regions are more resilient to change than a top down control system.

  1. Production and food web efficiency decrease as fishing activity increases in a coastal ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anh, Pham Viet; Everaert, Gert; Goethals, Peter; Vinh, Chu Tien; De Laender, Frederik

    2015-11-01

    Fishing effort in the Vietnamese coastal ecosystem has rapidly increased from the 1990s to the 2000s, with unknown consequences for local ecosystem structure and functioning. Using ecosystem models that integrate fisheries and food webs we found profound differences in the production of six functional groups, the food web efficiency, and eight functional food web indices between the 1990s (low fishing intensity) and the 2000s (high fishing intensity). The functional attributes (e.g. consumption) of high trophic levels (e.g. predators) were lower in the 2000s than in the 1990s while primary production did not vary, causing food web efficiency to decrease up to 40% with time for these groups. The opposite was found for lower trophic levels (e.g. zooplankton): the functional attributes and food web efficiency increased with time (22 and 10% for the functional attributes and food web efficiency, respectively). Total system throughput, a functional food web index, was about 10% higher in the 1990s than in the 2000s, indicating a reduction of the system size and activity with time. The network analyses further indicated that the Vietnamese coastal ecosystem in the 1990s was more developed (higher ascendancy and capacity), more stable (higher overhead) and more mature (higher ratio of ascendancy and capacity) than in the 2000s. In the 1990s the recovery time of the ecosystem was shorter than in 2000s, as indicated by a higher Finn's cycling index in the 1990s (7.8 and 6.5% in 1990s and 2000s, respectively). Overall, our results demonstrate that the Vietnamese coastal ecosystem has experienced profound changes between the 1990s and 2000s, and emphasise the need for a closer inspection of the ecological impact of fishing.

  2. Vertical flux of biogenic carbon in the ocean: Is there food web control?

    SciTech Connect

    Rivkin, R.B.; Legendre, L.; Deibel, D.

    1996-05-24

    Models of biogenic carbon (BC) flux assume that short herbivorous food chains lead to high export, whereas complex microbial or omnivorous food webs lead to recycling and low export, and that export of BC from the euphotic zone equals new production (NP). In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, particulate organic carbon fluxes were similar during the spring phytoplankton bloom, when herbivory dominated, and during nonbloom conditions, when microbial and omnivorous food webs dominated. In contrast, NP was 1.2 to 161 times greater during the bloom than after it. Thus, neither food web structure nor NP can predict the magnitude or patterns of BC export, particularly on time scales over which the ocean is in nonequilibrium conditions. 29 refs., 3 figs., 1 tab.

  3. Climate change impacts in multispecies systems: drought alters food web size structure in a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Woodward, Guy; Brown, Lee E; Edwards, Francois K; Hudson, Lawrence N; Milner, Alexander M; Reuman, Daniel C; Ledger, Mark E

    2012-11-01

    Experimental data from intergenerational field manipulations of entire food webs are scarce, yet such approaches are essential for gauging impacts of environmental change in natural systems. We imposed 2 years of intermittent drought on stream channels in a replicated field trial, to measure food web responses to simulated climate change. Drought triggered widespread losses of species and links, with larger taxa and those that were rare for their size, many of which were predatory, being especially vulnerable. Many network properties, including size-scaling relationships within food chains, changed in response to drought. Other properties, such as connectance, were unaffected. These findings highlight the need for detailed experimental data from different organizational levels, from pairwise links to the entire food web. The loss of not only large species, but also those that were rare for their size, provides a newly refined way to gauge likely impacts that may be applied more generally to other systems and/or impacts. PMID:23007087

  4. Parameter uncertainty, sensitivity, and sediment coupling in bioenergetics-based food web models

    SciTech Connect

    Barron, M.G.; Cacela, D.; Beltman, D.

    1995-12-31

    A bioenergetics-based food web model was developed and calibrated using measured PCB water and sediment concentrations in two Great Lakes food webs: Green Bay, Michigan and Lake Ontario. The model incorporated functional based trophic levels and sediment, water, and food chain exposures of PCBs to aquatic biota. Sensitivity analysis indicated the parameters with the greatest influence on PCBs in top predators were lipid content of plankton and benthos, planktivore assimilation efficiency, Kow, prey selection, and ambient temperature. Sediment-associated PCBs were estimated to contribute over 90% of PCBs in benthivores and less than 50% in piscivores. Ranges of PCB concentrations in top predators estimated by Monte Carlo simulation incorporating parameter uncertainty were within one order of magnitude of modal values. Model applications include estimation of exceedences of human and ecological thresholds. The results indicate that point estimates from bioenergetics-based food web models have substantial uncertainty that should be considered in regulatory and scientific applications.

  5. Climate change impacts in multispecies systems: drought alters food web size structure in a field experiment

    PubMed Central

    Woodward, Guy; Brown, Lee E.; Edwards, Francois K.; Hudson, Lawrence N.; Milner, Alexander M.; Reuman, Daniel C.; Ledger, Mark E.

    2012-01-01

    Experimental data from intergenerational field manipulations of entire food webs are scarce, yet such approaches are essential for gauging impacts of environmental change in natural systems. We imposed 2 years of intermittent drought on stream channels in a replicated field trial, to measure food web responses to simulated climate change. Drought triggered widespread losses of species and links, with larger taxa and those that were rare for their size, many of which were predatory, being especially vulnerable. Many network properties, including size–scaling relationships within food chains, changed in response to drought. Other properties, such as connectance, were unaffected. These findings highlight the need for detailed experimental data from different organizational levels, from pairwise links to the entire food web. The loss of not only large species, but also those that were rare for their size, provides a newly refined way to gauge likely impacts that may be applied more generally to other systems and/or impacts. PMID:23007087

  6. Nutrition Content of Food and Beverage Products on Web Sites Popular With Children

    PubMed Central

    Lingas, Elena O.; Bukofzer, Eliana

    2009-01-01

    We assessed the nutritional quality of branded food and beverage products advertised on 28 Web sites popular with children. Of the 77 advertised products for which nutritional information was available, 49 met Institute of Medicine criteria for foods to avoid, 23 met criteria for foods to neither avoid nor encourage, and 5 met criteria for foods to encourage. There is a need for further research on the nature and extent of food and beverage advertising online to aid policymakers as they assess the impact of this marketing on children. PMID:19443816

  7. Nutrition content of food and beverage products on Web sites popular with children.

    PubMed

    Lingas, Elena O; Dorfman, Lori; Bukofzer, Eliana

    2009-11-01

    We assessed the nutritional quality of branded food and beverage products advertised on 28 Web sites popular with children. Of the 77 advertised products for which nutritional information was available, 49 met Institute of Medicine criteria for foods to avoid, 23 met criteria for foods to neither avoid nor encourage, and 5 met criteria for foods to encourage. There is a need for further research on the nature and extent of food and beverage advertising online to aid policymakers as they assess the impact of this marketing on children. PMID:19443816

  8. A new modeling approach to define marine ecosystems food-web status with uncertainty assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaalali, Aurélie; Saint-Béat, Blanche; Lassalle, Géraldine; Le Loc'h, François; Tecchio, Samuele; Safi, Georges; Savenkoff, Claude; Lobry, Jérémy; Niquil, Nathalie

    2015-06-01

    Ecosystem models are currently one of the most powerful approaches used to project and analyse the consequences of anthropogenic and climate-driven changes in food web structure and function. The modeling community is however still finding the effective representation of microbial processes as challenging and lacks of techniques for assessing flow uncertainty explicitly. A linear inverse model of the Bay of Biscay continental shelf was built using a Monte Carlo method coupled with a Markov Chain (LIM-MCMC) to characterize the system's trophic food-web status and its associated structural and functional properties. By taking into account the natural variability of ecosystems (and their associated flows) and the lack of data on these environments, this innovative approach enabled the quantification of uncertainties for both estimated flows and derived food-web indices. This uncertainty assessment constituted a real improvement on the existing Ecopath model for the same area and both models results were compared. Our results suggested a food web characterized by main flows at the basis of the food web and a high contribution of primary producers and detritus to the entire system input flows. The developmental stage of the ecosystem was characterized using estimated Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) indices; the LIM-MCMC produced a higher estimate of flow specialization (than the estimate from Ecopath) owing to better consideration of bacterial processes. The results also pointed to a detritus-based food-web with a web-like structure and an intermediate level of internal flow complexity, confirming the results of previous studies. Other current research on ecosystem model comparability is also presented.

  9. Is benthic food web structure related to diversity of marine macrobenthic communities?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sokołowski, A.; Wołowicz, M.; Asmus, H.; Asmus, R.; Carlier, A.; Gasiunaité, Z.; Grémare, A.; Hummel, H.; Lesutiené, J.; Razinkovas, A.; Renaud, P. E.; Richard, P.; Kędra, M.

    2012-08-01

    Numerical structure and the organisation of food webs within macrozoobenthic communities has been assessed in the European waters (Svalbard, Barents Sea, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea) to address the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Abundance and classical species diversity indices (S, H', J) of macrofaunal communities were related to principal attributes of food webs (relative trophic level and food chain length, FCL) that were determined from carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values. Structure of marine macrobenthos varies substantially at a geographical scale; total abundance ranges from 63 ind. m-2 to 34,517 ind. m-2, species richness varies from 3 to 166 and the Shannon-Weaver diversity index from 0.26 to 3.26 while Pielou's evenness index is below 0.73. The major source of energy for macrobenthic communities is suspended particulate organic matter, consisting of phytoplankton and detrital particles, sediment particulate organic matter, and microphytobenthos in varying proportions. These food sources support the presence of suspension- and deposit-feeding communities, which dominate numerically on the sea floor. Benthic food webs include usually four to five trophic levels (FCL varies from 3.08 to 4.86). Most species are assigned to the second trophic level (primary consumers), fewer species are grouped in the third trophic level (secondary consumers), and benthic top predators are the least numerous. Most species cluster primarily at the lowest trophic level that is consistent with the typical organization of pyramidal food webs. Food chain length increases with biodiversity, highlighting a positive effect of more complex community structure on food web organisation. In more diverse benthic communities, energy is transferred through more trophic levels while species-poor communities sustain a shorter food chain.

  10. Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems

    PubMed Central

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Thébault, Elisa; Liiri, Mira; Birkhofer, Klaus; Tsiafouli, Maria A.; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Bracht Jørgensen, Helene; Brady, Mark Vincent; Christensen, Søren; de Ruiter, Peter C.; d’Hertefeldt, Tina; Frouz, Jan; Hedlund, Katarina; Hemerik, Lia; Hol, W. H. Gera; Hotes, Stefan; Mortimer, Simon R.; Setälä, Heikki; Sgardelis, Stefanos P.; Uteseny, Karoline; van der Putten, Wim H.; Wolters, Volkmar; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2013-01-01

    Intensive land use reduces the diversity and abundance of many soil biota, with consequences for the processes that they govern and the ecosystem services that these processes underpin. Relationships between soil biota and ecosystem processes have mostly been found in laboratory experiments and rarely are found in the field. Here, we quantified, across four countries of contrasting climatic and soil conditions in Europe, how differences in soil food web composition resulting from land use systems (intensive wheat rotation, extensive rotation, and permanent grassland) influence the functioning of soils and the ecosystem services that they deliver. Intensive wheat rotation consistently reduced the biomass of all components of the soil food web across all countries. Soil food web properties strongly and consistently predicted processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations, and they were a better predictor of these processes than land use. Processes of carbon loss increased with soil food web properties that correlated with soil C content, such as earthworm biomass and fungal/bacterial energy channel ratio, and were greatest in permanent grassland. In contrast, processes of N cycling were explained by soil food web properties independent of land use, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacterial channel biomass. Our quantification of the contribution of soil organisms to processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations shows that soil biota need to be included in C and N cycling models and highlights the need to map and conserve soil biodiversity across the world. PMID:23940339

  11. Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Franciska T; Thébault, Elisa; Liiri, Mira; Birkhofer, Klaus; Tsiafouli, Maria A; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Bracht Jørgensen, Helene; Brady, Mark Vincent; Christensen, Søren; de Ruiter, Peter C; d'Hertefeldt, Tina; Frouz, Jan; Hedlund, Katarina; Hemerik, Lia; Hol, W H Gera; Hotes, Stefan; Mortimer, Simon R; Setälä, Heikki; Sgardelis, Stefanos P; Uteseny, Karoline; van der Putten, Wim H; Wolters, Volkmar; Bardgett, Richard D

    2013-08-27

    Intensive land use reduces the diversity and abundance of many soil biota, with consequences for the processes that they govern and the ecosystem services that these processes underpin. Relationships between soil biota and ecosystem processes have mostly been found in laboratory experiments and rarely are found in the field. Here, we quantified, across four countries of contrasting climatic and soil conditions in Europe, how differences in soil food web composition resulting from land use systems (intensive wheat rotation, extensive rotation, and permanent grassland) influence the functioning of soils and the ecosystem services that they deliver. Intensive wheat rotation consistently reduced the biomass of all components of the soil food web across all countries. Soil food web properties strongly and consistently predicted processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations, and they were a better predictor of these processes than land use. Processes of carbon loss increased with soil food web properties that correlated with soil C content, such as earthworm biomass and fungal/bacterial energy channel ratio, and were greatest in permanent grassland. In contrast, processes of N cycling were explained by soil food web properties independent of land use, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacterial channel biomass. Our quantification of the contribution of soil organisms to processes of C and N cycling across land use systems and geographic locations shows that soil biota need to be included in C and N cycling models and highlights the need to map and conserve soil biodiversity across the world. PMID:23940339

  12. How habitat-modifying organisms structure the food web of two coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    van der Zee, Els M; Angelini, Christine; Govers, Laura L; Christianen, Marjolijn J A; Altieri, Andrew H; van der Reijden, Karin J; Silliman, Brian R; van de Koppel, Johan; van der Geest, Matthijs; van Gils, Jan A; van der Veer, Henk W; Piersma, Theunis; de Ruiter, Peter C; Olff, Han; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-03-16

    The diversity and structure of ecosystems has been found to depend both on trophic interactions in food webs and on other species interactions such as habitat modification and mutualism that form non-trophic interaction networks. However, quantification of the dependencies between these two main interaction networks has remained elusive. In this study, we assessed how habitat-modifying organisms affect basic food web properties by conducting in-depth empirical investigations of two ecosystems: North American temperate fringing marshes and West African tropical seagrass meadows. Results reveal that habitat-modifying species, through non-trophic facilitation rather than their trophic role, enhance species richness across multiple trophic levels, increase the number of interactions per species (link density), but decrease the realized fraction of all possible links within the food web (connectance). Compared to the trophic role of the most highly connected species, we found this non-trophic effects to be more important for species richness and of more or similar importance for link density and connectance. Our findings demonstrate that food webs can be fundamentally shaped by interactions outside the trophic network, yet intrinsic to the species participating in it. Better integration of non-trophic interactions in food web analyses may therefore strongly contribute to their explanatory and predictive capacity. PMID:26962135

  13. Floods, Food Webs, and Fluxes in a Northern California channel network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, M. E.; Dietrich, W. E.; Hondzo, M.; Finlay, J. C.; McNeely, C.; Schade, J.; Welter, J.; Limm, M.; Bode, C.

    2005-05-01

    Following flood scour, re-assembling river food webs respond to solute and particle fluxes. During periods of relatively low flow and high biomass, food webs will also intercept and alter these fluxes. We are studying these interactions in the South Fork Eel River and its tributaries in northern California, a steep drainage system subject to a Mediterranean climate regime. During the biologically productive summer low flow season, large algal blooms in sunlit channels tend to follow bed scouring winter floods. These blooms have strong impacts on consumers and predators in local food webs, and on local fluxes, including cross-habitat food web exchange mediated by insect emergence. We are just beginning to study the effects of blooms on fluxes through channels over larger spatial and temporal scales. Year-to-year variation in the magnitude of algal blooms will produce corresponding variation in pulsed releases of organic matter, stored temporarily in the beds of deep pools, and ultimately, in this incised system, in off shore ocean sediments. A small but ecologically significant component, however, may be stored as biomass in long lived vertebrate predators, including bats and salmonids. The ultimate goal of quantifying relationships among flow regimes, ecosystem productivity, food web responses, and fluxes through watersheds will require prolonged cross-disciplinary collaborations, but may become increasingly feasible due to access to new sensor, tracing and mapping technologies.

  14. The role of body mass in diet contiguity and food-web structure

    PubMed Central

    Stouffer, Daniel B.; Rezende, Enrico L.; Amaral, Luís A. Nunes

    2013-01-01

    Summary The idea that species occupy distinct niches is a fundamental concept in ecology. Classically, the niche was described as an n-dimensional hypervolume where each dimension represents a biotic or abiotic characteristic. More recently, it has been hypothesised that a single dimension may be sufficient to explain the system-level organization of trophic interactions observed between species in a community.Here, we test the hypothesis that species body mass is that single dimension. Specifically, we determine how the intervality of food webs ordered by body size compares to that of randomly ordered food webs. We also extend this analysis beyond the community level to the effect of body mass in explaining the diets of individual species.We conclude that body mass significantly explains the ordering of species and the contiguity of diets in empirical communities.At the species-specific level, we find that the degree to which body mass is a significant explanatory variable depends strongly on the phylogenetic history, suggesting that other evolutionarily conserved traits partly account for species’ roles in the food web.Our investigation of the role of body mass in food webs thus helps us to better understand the important features of community food-web structure and the evolutionary forces that have led us to the communities we observe. PMID:21401590

  15. Hydrological and Biogeochemical Controls on Seasonal and Spatial Differences in Food Webs in the Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kendall, C.; Wankel, S. D.; Bemis, B. E.; Rawlik, P. S.; Krabbenhoft, D. P.; Lange, T.

    2002-05-01

    Stable isotopes can be used to determine the relative trophic positions of biota within a food web, and to improve our understanding of the biomagnification of contaminants. Plants at the base of the food web uptake dissolved organic carbon (DIC) and nitrogen (DIN) for growth, and their tissue reflects the isotopic composition of these sources. Animals then mirror the isotopic composition of the primary producers, as modified by consumer-diet fractionations at successive trophic steps. During 1995-99, we collected algae, macrophyte, invertebrate, and fish samples from 15 USGS sites in the Everglades and analyzed them for d13C and d15N with the goal of characterizing seasonal and spatial differences in food web relations. Carbon isotopes effectively distinguish between two main types of food webs: ones where algae is the dominant base of the food web, which are characteristic of relatively pristine marsh sites with long hydroperiods, and ones where macrophyte debris appears to be a significant source of nutrients, which are apparently characteristic of shorter hydroperiod sites, and nutrient-impacted marshes and canals. There usually is an inverse relation between d13C and d15N of organisms over time, especially in more pristine environments, reflecting seasonal changes in the d13C of DIC and the d15N of DIN. The d13C and d15N of algae also show strong positive correlations with seasonal changes in water levels. This variability is substantially damped up the food chain, probably because of the longer integration times of animals vs. plants. We speculate that these seasonal shifts in water level result in changes in biogeochemical reactions and nutrient levels, with corresponding variations in the d15N and d13C of biota. For example, small changes in water level may change the balance of photosynthesis, bacterial respiration, and atmospheric exchange reactions that control the d13C of DIC. Such changes will probably also affect the d15N of dissolved inorganic N (DIN

  16. Distributions of key exposure factors controlling the uptake of xenobiotic chemicals in an estuarine food web

    SciTech Connect

    Iannuzzi, T.J.; Harrington, N.W.; Shear, N.M.; Curry, C.L.; Carlson-Lynch, H.; Henning, M.H.; Su, S.H.; Rabbe, D.E.

    1996-11-01

    A critical evaluation of literature on the behavior, physiology, and ecology of common estuarine organisms was conducted in an attempt to develop probabilistic distributions for those variables that influence the uptake of xenobiotic chemicals from sediments, water, and food sources. The ranges, central tendencies, and distributions of several key parameter values were identified for dominant organisms from various trophic levels, including the polychaete Nereis virens, mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), and striped bass (Morone saxatilis). The exposure factors of interest included ingestion rate for various food sources, growth rate, respiration rate, excretion rate, body weight, wet/dry weight ratio, lipid content, chemical assimilation efficiency, and food assimilation efficiency. These exposure factors are critical to the execution of mechanistic food web models, which, when properly calibrated, can be used to estimate tissue concentrations of nonionic chemicals in aquatic organisms based on knowledge of the bioenergetics and feeding interactions within a food web and the sediment and water concentrations of chemicals. In this article the authors describe the use of distributions for various exposure factors in the context of a mechanistic bioaccumulation model that is amenable to probabilistic analyses for multiple organisms within a food web. A case study is provided which compares the estimated versus measured concentrations of five polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners in a representative food web from the tidal portion of the Passaic River, New Jersey, USA. The results suggest that the model is accurate within an order of magnitude or less in estimating the bioaccumulation of PCBs in this food web without calibration. The results of a model sensitivity analysis suggest that the input parameters which most influence the output of the model are both chemical and organism specific.

  17. Indicator species for limited budgets: Profiles of trophic levels, food web placement, and ecotoxicological sensitivity

    SciTech Connect

    Sorenson, M.T.; Margolin, J.A.

    1995-12-31

    The identification of indicator and/or keystone species is directly related to the success of a quantitative Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) at a hazardous waste site. In a fiscally perfect world, species would be selected to represent each and every trophic level within the aquatic and/or terrestrial food web. However, because limited budgets are the norm, scientifically valid ``shortcuts`` are in high demand. LAW has conducted quantitative ERAs at more than thirty hazardous waste sites, with as many as ten indicator species per site (selected to represent trophic levels within each habitat type present). Data from these assessments have been compiled and evaluated for the purpose of identifying species which demonstrate the highest toxicological sensitivity within the food web. Budgets can be reduced by incorporating this proposed quantitative screening-level ERA approach. This presentation will specify quantitative ERA methodology, ecotoxicological extrapolations, uncertainties to consider, trophic level profiles, food web placement, and indicator species sensitivity.

  18. The rapid return of marine-derived nutrients to a freshwater food web following dam removal

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tonra, Christopher M; Sager-Fradkin, Kimberly A.; Morley, Sarah A; Duda, Jeff; Marra, Peter P.

    2015-01-01

    Dam removal is increasingly being recognized as a viable river restoration action. Although the main beneficiaries of restored connectivity are often migratory fish populations, little is known regarding recovery of other parts of the freshwater food web, particularly terrestrial components. We measured stable isotopes in key components to the freshwater food web: salmon, freshwater macroinvertebrates and a river specialist bird, American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), before and after removal of the Elwha Dam, WA, USA. Less than a year after dam removal, salmon returned to the system and released marine-derived nutrients (MDN). In that same year we documented an increase in stable-nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios in American dippers. These results indicate that MDN from anadromous fish, an important nutrient subsidy that crosses the aquatic–terrestrial boundary, can return rapidly to food webs after dams are removed which is an important component of ecosystem recovery.

  19. More than a meal: integrating non-feeding interactions into food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kéfi, Sonia; Berlow, Eric L.; Wieters, Evie A.; Navarrete, Sergio A.; Petchey, Owen L.; Wood, Spencer A.; Boit, Alice; Joppa, Lucas N.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Williams, Richard J.; Martinez, Neo D.; Menge, Bruce A.; Blanchette, Carol A.; Iles, Alison C.; Brose, Ulrich

    2012-01-01

    Organisms eating each other are only one of many types of well documented and important interactions among species. Other such types include habitat modification, predator interference and facilitation. However, ecological network research has been typically limited to either pure food webs or to networks of only a few (<3) interaction types. The great diversity of non-trophic interactions observed in nature has been poorly addressed by ecologists and largely excluded from network theory. Herein, we propose a conceptual framework that organises this diversity into three main functional classes defined by how they modify specific parameters in a dynamic food web model. This approach provides a path forward for incorporating non-trophic interactions in traditional food web models and offers a new perspective on tackling ecological complexity that should stimulate both theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding the patterns and dynamics of diverse species interactions in nature.

  20. Food webs are more than the sum of their tritrophic parts.

    PubMed

    Cohen, Joel E; Schittler, Daniella N; Raffaelli, David G; Reuman, Daniel C

    2009-12-29

    Many studies have aimed to understand food webs by investigating components such as trophic links (one consumer taxon eats one resource taxon), tritrophic interactions (one consumer eats an intermediate taxon, which eats a resource), or longer chains of links. We show here that none of these components (links, tritrophic interactions, and longer chains), individually or as an ensemble, accounts fully for the properties of the next higher level of organization. As a cell is more than its molecules, as an organ is more than its cells, and as an organism is more than its organs, in a food web, new structure emerges at every organizational level up to and including the whole web. We demonstrate the emergence of properties at progressively higher levels of structure by using all of the directly observed, appropriately organized, publicly available food web datasets with relatively complete trophic link data and with average body mass and population density data for each taxon. There are only three such webs, those of Tuesday Lake, Michigan, in 1984 and 1986, and Ythan Estuary, Scotland. We make the data freely available online with this report. Differences in web patterns between Tuesday Lake and Ythan Estuary, and similarities of Tuesday Lake in 1984 and 1986 despite 50% turnover of species, suggest that the patterns we describe respond to major differences between ecosystem types. PMID:20018774

  1. Effects of lake acidification and recovery on the stability of zooplankton food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Locke, A. ); Sprules, W.G. )

    1994-03-01

    The effect of food web structure on community stability and resilience has rarely been examined using empirical data. Yet there is a practical application for such studies insofar as resistance stability determines the ability of a system to adsorb' anthropogenic stress and adjustment stability determines the reversibility of resulting damage. The stability of zooplankton food webs in 46 Precambrian Shield lakes was examined using data collected in the 1970s, when pH ranged from 3.8 to 7.0, and in 1990, when pH had increased by up to two units in some lakes. Acidification overcame resistance stability at pH <5.0, as evidenced by decreases in species richness, numbers of predatory and competitive links, directed connectance, predator generalization, and linkage density, identified by analysis of variance. Adjustment stability was demonstrated by changes in food web attributes in lakes with higher pH in 1990 than in the 1970s. Species richness, numbers of predatory and competitive links, linkage density, and predator generalization all increased relative to the 1970s values. Food web attributes of recovering' lakes were statistically indistinguishable from those of lakes of similar pH that had not been more acidic in the 1970s. Similar trajectors of food web change were followed during environmental degradation and recovery. Planktonic food webs of anthropogenically acidified lakes may eventually recover to resemble their pre-acidification condition, given sufficient time without acidic inputs. Whether adjustment stability is a general feature of anthropogenically stressed systems remains to be determined. 42 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs.

  2. Can we predict indirect interactions from quantitative food webs?--an experimental approach.

    PubMed

    Tack, Ayco J M; Gripenberg, Sofia; Roslin, Tomas

    2011-01-01

    1. Shared enemies may link the dynamics of their prey. Recently, quantitative food webs have been used to infer that herbivorous insect species attacked by the same major parasitoid species will affect each other negatively through apparent competition. Nonetheless, theoretical work predicts several alternative outcomes, including positive effects. 2. In this paper, we use an experimental approach to link food web patterns to realized population dynamics. First, we construct a quantitative food web for three dominant leaf miner species on the oak Quercus robur. We then measure short- and long-term indirect effects by increasing leaf miner densities on individual trees. Finally, we test whether experimental results are consistent with natural leaf miner dynamics on unmanipulated trees. 3. The quantitative food web shows that all leaf miner species share a minimum of four parasitoid species. While only a small fraction of the parasitoid pool is shared among Tischeria ekebladella and each of two Phyllonorycter species, the parasitoid communities of the congeneric Phyllonorycter species overlap substantially. 4. Based on the structure of the food web, we predict strong short- and long-term indirect interactions between the Phyllonorycter species, and limited interactions between them and T. ekebladella. As T. ekebladella is the main source of its own parasitoids, we expect to find intraspecific density-dependent parasitism in this species. 5. Consistent with these predictions, parasitism in T. ekebladella was high on trees with high densities of conspecifics in the previous generation. Among leaf miner species sharing more parasitoids, we found positive rather than negative interactions among years. No short-term indirect interactions (i.e. indirect interactions within a single generation) were detected. 6. Overall, this study is the first to experimentally demonstrate that herbivores with overlapping parasitoid communities may exhibit independent population dynamics

  3. Parasites affect food web structure primarily through increased diversity and complexity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Kuris, Armand M.; Martinez, Neo D.; McLaughlin, John P.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Poulin, Robert; Reise, Karsten; Stouffer, Daniel B.; Thieltges, David W.; Williams, Richard J.; Zander, Claus Dieter

    2013-01-01

    Comparative research on food web structure has revealed generalities in trophic organization, produced simple models, and allowed assessment of robustness to species loss. These studies have mostly focused on free-living species. Recent research has suggested that inclusion of parasites alters structure. We assess whether such changes in network structure result from unique roles and traits of parasites or from changes to diversity and complexity. We analyzed seven highly resolved food webs that include metazoan parasite data. Our analyses show that adding parasites usually increases link density and connectance (simple measures of complexity), particularly when including concomitant links (links from predators to parasites of their prey). However, we clarify prior claims that parasites ‘‘dominate’’ food web links. Although parasites can be involved in a majority of links, in most cases classic predation links outnumber classic parasitism links. Regarding network structure, observed changes in degree distributions, 14 commonly studied metrics, and link probabilities are consistent with scale-dependent changes in structure associated with changes in diversity and complexity. Parasite and free-living species thus have similar effects on these aspects of structure. However, two changes point to unique roles of parasites. First, adding parasites and concomitant links strongly alters the frequency of most motifs of interactions among three taxa, reflecting parasites’ roles as resources for predators of their hosts, driven by trophic intimacy with their hosts. Second, compared to free-living consumers, many parasites’ feeding niches appear broader and less contiguous, which may reflect complex life cycles and small body sizes. This study provides new insights about generic versus unique impacts of parasites on food web structure, extends the generality of food web theory, gives a more rigorous framework for assessing the impact of any species on trophic

  4. Impacts of food web structure and feeding behavior on mercury exposure in Greenland Sharks (Somniosus microcephalus).

    PubMed

    McMeans, Bailey C; Arts, Michael T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2015-03-15

    Benthic and pelagic food web components in Cumberland Sound, Canada were explored as sources of total mercury (THg) to Greenland Sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) via both bottom-up food web transfer and top-down shark feeding behavior. Log10THg increased significantly with δ(15)N and trophic position from invertebrates (0.01 ± 0.01 μg · g(-1) [113 ± 1 ng · g(-1)] dw in copepods) to Greenland Sharks (3.54 ± 1.02 μg · g(-1)). The slope of the log10THg vs. δ(15)N linear regression was higher for pelagic compared to benthic food web components (excluding Greenland Sharks, which could not be assigned to either food web), which resulted from THg concentrations being higher at the base of the benthic food web (i.e., in benthic than pelagic primary consumers). However, feeding habitat is unlikely to consistently influence shark THg exposure in Cumberland Sound because THg concentrations did not consistently differ between benthic and pelagic shark prey. Further, size, gender and feeding behavior (inferred from stable isotopes and fatty acids) were unable to significantly explain THg variability among individual Greenland Sharks. Possible reasons for this result include: 1) individual sharks feeding as generalists, 2) high overlap in THg among shark prey, and 3) differences in turnover time between ecological tracers and THg. This first assessment of Greenland Shark THg within an Arctic food web revealed high concentrations consistent with biomagnification, but low ability to explain intra-specific THg variability. Our findings of high THg levels and consumption of multiple prey types, however, suggest that Greenland Sharks acquire THg through a variety of trophic pathways and are a significant contributor to the total biotic THg pool in northern seas. PMID:24630590

  5. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids

    PubMed Central

    Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Steffan, Shawn A; Ogawa, Nanako O; Ishikawa, Naoto F; Sasaki, Yoko; Tsuchiya, Masashi; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2014-01-01

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. While herbivores have well-understood trophic tendencies, the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic positions of higher-order consumers have remained a major problem in food web ecology. To better understand trophic linkages in food webs, analysis of the stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids has been introduced as a potential means of providing accurate trophic position estimates. In the present study, we employ this method to estimate the trophic positions of 200 free-roaming organisms, representing 39 species in coastal marine (a stony shore) and 38 species in terrestrial (a fruit farm) environments. Based on the trophic positions from the isotopic composition of amino acids, we are able to resolve the trophic structure of these complex food webs. Our approach reveals a high degree of trophic omnivory (i.e., noninteger trophic positions) among carnivorous species such as marine fish and terrestrial hornets.This information not only clarifies the trophic tendencies of species within their respective communities, but also suggests that trophic omnivory may be common in these webs. PMID:25360278

  6. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids.

    PubMed

    Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Steffan, Shawn A; Ogawa, Nanako O; Ishikawa, Naoto F; Sasaki, Yoko; Tsuchiya, Masashi; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2014-06-01

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. While herbivores have well-understood trophic tendencies, the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic positions of higher-order consumers have remained a major problem in food web ecology. To better understand trophic linkages in food webs, analysis of the stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids has been introduced as a potential means of providing accurate trophic position estimates. In the present study, we employ this method to estimate the trophic positions of 200 free-roaming organisms, representing 39 species in coastal marine (a stony shore) and 38 species in terrestrial (a fruit farm) environments. Based on the trophic positions from the isotopic composition of amino acids, we are able to resolve the trophic structure of these complex food webs. Our approach reveals a high degree of trophic omnivory (i.e., noninteger trophic positions) among carnivorous species such as marine fish and terrestrial hornets.This information not only clarifies the trophic tendencies of species within their respective communities, but also suggests that trophic omnivory may be common in these webs. PMID:25360278

  7. Intraspecific differences in plant chemotype determine the structure of arthropod food webs.

    PubMed

    Bálint, János; Zytynska, Sharon E; Salamon, Rozália Veronika; Mehrparvar, Mohsen; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Schmitz, Oswald J; Benedek, Klára; Balog, Adalbert

    2016-03-01

    It is becoming increasingly appreciated that the structure and functioning of ecological food webs are controlled by the nature and level of plant chemicals. It is hypothesized that intraspecific variation in plant chemical resistance, in which individuals of a host-plant population exhibit genetic differences in their chemical contents (called 'plant chemotypes'), may be an important determinant of variation in food web structure and functioning. We evaluated this hypothesis using field assessments and plant chemical assays in the tansy plant Tanacetum vulgare L. (Asteraceae). We examined food webs in which chemotypes of tansy plants are the resource for two specialized aphids, their predators and mutualistic ants. The density of the ant-tended aphid Metopeurum fuscoviride was significantly higher on particular chemotypes (borneol) than others. Clear chemotype preferences between predators were also detected. Aphid specialist seven-spotted ladybird beetles (Coccinella septempunctata) were more often found on camphor plants, while significantly higher numbers of the polyphagous nursery web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) were observed on borneol plants. The analysis of plant chemotype effects on the arthropod community clearly demonstrates a range of possible outcomes between plant-aphid-predator networks. The findings help to offer a deeper insight into how one important factor--plant chemical content--influences which species coexist within a food web on a particular host plant and the nature of their trophic linkages. PMID:26581421

  8. US Food and Drug Administration Web Site: A Primer for Pharmacists.

    PubMed

    Leonard, James; Baker, Danial E

    2015-11-01

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site includes a vast amount of information, but it can be difficult to navigate. Despite frequently asked question (FAQ)-type pages within the Web site, it may not be easy for first-time users to find drug information. This article presents some examples of common questions, provides the locations of the answers on the FDA Web site, and gives a brief description of some of the many resources the FDA provides for health care professionals. Additionally, a newer project being undertaken by the FDA, Snapshot, is introduced. PMID:27621506

  9. A non-equilibrium model for predicting bioaccumulation of organic contaminants in aquatic food-webs

    SciTech Connect

    Morrison, H.; Lazar, R.; Haffner, G.D.; Whittle, D.M.; Gobas, F.A.P.C.

    1995-12-31

    A sub-model describing bioaccumulation and biomagnification in benthic invertebrates was incorporated into a steady-state food-web model (Gobas, 1993) was modified, to estimate concentrations of organic contaminants in aquatic organisms based on chemical concentrations in water and sediments. Model predictions were in good agreement with field data when applied to western Lake Erie. The improved ability of the model to simulate bioaccumulation by benthic invertebrates, makes this model particularly useful for quantifying contaminant transfer in the benthic food-web.

  10. Food web pathway determines how selenium affects aquatic ecosystems: a San Francisco Bay case study.

    PubMed

    Stewart, A Robin; Luoma, Samuel N; Schlekat, Christian E; Doblin, Martina A; Hieb, Kathryn A

    2004-09-01

    Chemical contaminants disrupt ecosystems, but specific effects may be under-appreciated when poorly known processes such as uptake mechanisms, uptake via diet, food preferences, and food web dynamics are influential. Here we show that a combination of food web structure and the physiology of trace element accumulation explain why some species in San Francisco Bay are threatened by a relatively low level of selenium contamination and some are not. Bivalves and crustacean zooplankton form the base of two dominant food webs in estuaries. The dominant bivalve Potamocorbula amurensis has a 10-fold slower rate constant of loss for selenium than do common crustaceans such as copepods and the mysid Neomysis mercedis (rate constant of loss, ke = 0.025, 0.155, and 0.25 d(-1), respectively). The result is much higher selenium concentrations in the bivalve than in the crustaceans. Stable isotope analyses show that this difference is propagated up the respective food webs in San Francisco Bay. Several predators of bivalves have tissue concentrations of selenium that exceed thresholds thought to be associated with teratogenesis or reproductive failure (liver Se >15 microg g(-1) dry weight). Deformities typical of selenium-induced teratogenesis were observed in one of these species. Concentrations of selenium in tissues of predators of zooplankton are less than the thresholds. Basic physiological and ecological processes can drive wide differences in exposure and effects among species, but such processes are rarely considered in traditional evaluations of contaminant impacts. PMID:15461158

  11. Ecological Processes Driving Trophic Transfer Of Metals In Aquatic Food Webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, C. Y.; Folt, C. L.

    2004-05-01

    The transfer of metals in aquatic food webs from water to fish varies among lakes and metals. It is influenced by four ecological processes: biomagnification, biodiminution, biodilution (decreasing mass specific concentrations with increased biomass), and transfer by keystone conduit species. Data from three different field studies will be used to discuss the fate of Hg, Zn, As, and Pb in food webs typical of lakes throughout the northeast US. Metal concentrations were measured in the water, particulates, two size fractions of zooplankton, and in fish in a broad gradient of lakes and were related to ecological, physico-chemical and land use variables. Some metals biomagnified (Hg, Zn) while others biodiminished (As, Pb). Hg and Zn in zooplankton and fish were also correlated suggesting food is an important source of bioaccumulation. Both plankton abundance and species composition influenced the trophic transfer of metals, particularly Hg, to fish. Specifically, Hg concentrations in both zooplankton and fish were lower in lakes with higher plankton biomass. Moreover, Hg and As bioaccumulation was greater in cladocerans than copepods suggesting that cladocerans are major metal conduits in food webs. These results underscore the importance of biological interactions to trophic transfer of metals in aquatic food webs.

  12. Food web pathway determines how selenium affects aquatic ecosystems: A San francisco Bay case study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, A.R.; Luoma, S.N.; Schlekat, C.E.; Doblin, M.A.; Hieb, K.A.

    2004-01-01

    Chemical contaminants disrupt ecosystems, but specific effects may be under-appreciated when poorly known processes such as uptake mechanisms, uptake via diet, food preferences, and food web dynamics are influential. Here we show that a combination of food web structure and the physiology of trace element accumulation explain why some species in San Francisco Bay are threatened by a relatively low level of selenium contamination and some are not. Bivalves and crustacean Zooplankton form the base of two dominant food webs in estuaries. The dominant bivalve Potamocorbula amurensis has a 10-fold slower rate constant of loss for selenium than do common crustaceans such as copepods and the mysid Neomysis mercedis (rate constant of loss, ke = 0.025, 0.155, and 0.25 d-1, respectively). The result is much higher selenium concentrations in the bivalve than in the crustaceans. Stable isotope analyses show that this difference is propagated up the respective food webs in San Francisco Bay. Several predators of bivalves have tissue concentrations of selenium that exceed thresholds thought to be associated with teratogenesis or reproductive failure (liver Se > 15 ??g g-1 dry weight). Deformities typical of selenium-induced teratogenesis were observed in one of these species. Concentrations of selenium in tissues of predators of Zooplankton are less than the thresholds. Basic physiological and ecological processes can drive wide differences in exposure and effects among species, but such processes are rarely considered in traditional evaluations of contaminant impacts.

  13. Stabilization of chaotic and non-permanent food-web dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, R. J.; Martinez, N. D.

    2004-03-01

    Several decades of dynamical analyses of food-web networks[CITE] have led to important insights into the effects of complexity, omnivory and interaction strength on food-web stability[CITE]. Several recent insights[CITE] are based on nonlinear bioenergetic consumer-resource models[CITE] that display chaotic behavior in three species food chains[CITE] which can be stabilized by omnivory[CITE] and weak interaction of a fourth species[CITE]. We slightly relax feeding on low-density prey in these models by modifying standard food-web interactions known as “typeII” functional responses[CITE]. This change drastically alters the dynamics of realistic systems containing up to ten species. Our modification stabilizes chaotic dynamics in three species systems and reduces or eliminates extinctions and non-persistent chaos[CITE] in ten species systems. This increased stability allows analysis of systems with greater biodiversity than in earlier work and suggests that dynamic stability is not as severe a constraint on the structure of large food webs as previously thought. The sensitivity of dynamical models to small changes in the predator-prey functional response well within the range of what is empirically observed suggests that functional response is a crucial aspect of species interactions that must be more precisely addressed in empirical studies.

  14. Role of detritus in a spatial food web model with diffusion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pekalski, Andrzej; Szwabiński, Janusz

    2014-05-01

    One of the central themes in modern ecology is the enduring debate on whether there is a relationship between the complexity of a biological community and its stability. In this paper, we focus on the role of detritus and spatial dispersion on the stability of ecosystems. Using Monte Carlo simulations we analyze two three-level models of food webs: a grazing one with the basal species (i.e., primary producers) having unlimited food resources and a detrital one in which the basal species uses detritus as a food resource. While the vast majority of theoretical studies neglects detritus, from our results it follows that the detrital food web is more stable than its grazing counterpart, because the interactions mediated by detritus damp out fluctuations in species' densities. Since the detritus model is the more complex one in terms of interaction patterns, our results provide evidence for the advocates of the complexity as one of the factors enhancing stability of ecosystems.

  15. Depth-specific Analyses of the Lake Superior Food Web

    EPA Science Inventory

    Characteristics of large, deep aquatic systems include depth gradients in community composition, in the quality and distribution of food resources, and in the strategies that organisms use to obtain their nutrition. In Lake Superior, nearshore communities that rely upon a combina...

  16. Food web of the intertidal rocky shore of the west Portuguese coast - Determined by stable isotope analysis.

    PubMed

    Vinagre, Catarina; Mendonça, Vanessa; Narciso, Luís; Madeira, Carolina

    2015-09-01

    The characterization of food web structure, energy pathways and trophic linkages is essential for the understanding of ecosystem functioning. Isotopic analysis was performed on food web components of the rocky intertidal ecosystem in four sites along the Portuguese west coast. The aim was to 1) determine the general food web structure, 2) estimate the trophic level of the dominant organisms and 3) track the incorporation of organic carbon of different origins in the diet of the top consumers. In this food web, fish are top consumers, followed by shrimp. Anemones and gastropods are intermediate consumers, while bivalves and zooplankton are primary consumers. Macroalgae Bifurcaria bifurcata, Ulva lactuca, Fucus vesiculosus, Codium sp. and phytoplankton are the dominant producers. Two energy pathways were identified, pelagic and benthic. Reliance on the benthic energy pathway was high for many of the consumers but not as high as previously observed in subtidal coastal food webs. The maximum TL was 3.3, which is indicative of a relatively short food web. It is argued that the diet of top consumers relies directly on low levels of the food web to a considerable extent, instead of on intermediate levels, which shortens the trophic length of the food web. PMID:26275753

  17. Climate change impacts on body size and food web structure on mountain ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Lurgi, Miguel; López, Bernat C.; Montoya, José M.

    2012-01-01

    The current distribution of climatic conditions will be rearranged on the globe. To survive, species will have to keep pace with climates as they move. Mountains are among the most affected regions owing to both climate and land-use change. Here, we explore the effects of climate change in the vertebrate food web of the Pyrenees. We investigate elevation range expansions between two time-periods illustrative of warming conditions, to assess: (i) the taxonomic composition of range expanders; (ii) changes in food web properties such as the distribution of links per species and community size-structure; and (iii) what are the specific traits of range expanders that set them apart from the other species in the community—in particular, body mass, diet generalism, vulnerability and trophic position within the food web. We found an upward expansion of species at all elevations, which was not even for all taxonomic groups and trophic positions. At low and intermediate elevations, predator : prey mass ratios were significantly reduced. Expanders were larger, had fewer predators and were, in general, more specialists. Our study shows that elevation range expansions as climate warms have important and predictable impacts on the structure and size distribution of food webs across space. PMID:23007094

  18. Climate change impacts on body size and food web structure on mountain ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lurgi, Miguel; López, Bernat C; Montoya, José M

    2012-11-01

    The current distribution of climatic conditions will be rearranged on the globe. To survive, species will have to keep pace with climates as they move. Mountains are among the most affected regions owing to both climate and land-use change. Here, we explore the effects of climate change in the vertebrate food web of the Pyrenees. We investigate elevation range expansions between two time-periods illustrative of warming conditions, to assess: (i) the taxonomic composition of range expanders; (ii) changes in food web properties such as the distribution of links per species and community size-structure; and (iii) what are the specific traits of range expanders that set them apart from the other species in the community-in particular, body mass, diet generalism, vulnerability and trophic position within the food web. We found an upward expansion of species at all elevations, which was not even for all taxonomic groups and trophic positions. At low and intermediate elevations, predator : prey mass ratios were significantly reduced. Expanders were larger, had fewer predators and were, in general, more specialists. Our study shows that elevation range expansions as climate warms have important and predictable impacts on the structure and size distribution of food webs across space. PMID:23007094

  19. HYDROLOGY AND NUTRIENT EFFECTS ON FOOD-WEB STRUCTURE IN TEN LAKE SUPERIOR COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The manuscript examines the effects of hydrology and nutrient enrichment on food-web structure. We find that the hydraulic residence time is a paramount constraint upon the relative contributions of planktonic versus benthic production to the fish community. Nutrient enrichment...

  20. SEASONAL DYNAMICS OF PCB ACCUMULATION IN A GREAT LAKES FOOD WEB. (R825151)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seston, sediment, settling organic matter, and food web members were
    collected from Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, between April 1997 and
    September 1998 to examine PCB and toxaphene biomagnification. Stable isotopes of
    nitrogen and carbon were analyzed in sampl...

  1. Seeking Emotional Involvement in Science Education: Food-Chains and Webs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alsop, Steve

    2001-01-01

    Documents a study of emotion in two grade 8 science classrooms. Describes a lesson on food-chains and webs designed with a conceptual and an emotional agenda. Discusses issues of emotion, sensation and relevance in science teaching. (Author/MM)

  2. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 24 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. 230.31 Section 230.31 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED) OCEAN DUMPING SECTION 404(b)(1) GUIDELINES FOR SPECIFICATION OF DISPOSAL SITES FOR DREDGED OR FILL MATERIAL...

  3. MONITORING FOOD WEB CHANGES IN TIDE-RESTORED SALT MARSHES: A CARBON STABLE ISOTOPE APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Primary producer (angiosperms, macroalgae, submerged aquatic vegetation), suspended particulate matter, and Fundulus heteroclitus isotope values (d13C , d15N, d34S) were examined to assess their use as an indicator for changes in food web support functions in tidally-restored sal...

  4. SHIFTS BETWEEN PERIPHYTON-AND PHYTOPLANKTON-BASED FOOD WEBS IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerous studies have revealed the importance of algae as an energetic base for wetland food webs. Earlier carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses in a Lake Superior coastal wetland (Allouez Bay, WI) indicated that, despite the large amount of vascular plant biobass present, ...

  5. Columbia River food webs: Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Alldredge, J. Richard; Beauchamp, David; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Naiman, Robert J.; Pearcy, William; Rieman, Bruce; Ruggerone, Greg; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter; Wood, Chris C.

    2011-01-01

    The objectives of this report are to provide a fundamental understanding of aquatic food webs in the Columbia River Basin and to illustrate and summarize their influences on native fish restoration efforts. The spatial scope addresses tributaries, impoundments, the free-flowing Columbia and Snake rivers, as well as the estuary and plume. Achieving the Council's vision for the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Program (NPCC 2009-09) of sustaining a "productive and diverse community" that provides "abundant" harvest, is best accomplished through a time-prioritized action plan, one that complements other approaches while addressing important challenges and uncertainties related to the Basin's food webs. Note that the oceanic food webs, although of immense importance in sustaining fish populations, are not considered beyond the plume since they involve an additional set of complex and rapidly evolving issues. An analysis of oceanic food webs of relevance to the Columbia River requires a separately focused effort (e.g., Hoegh- Guldberg and Bruno 2010).

  6. Non-random food-web assembly at habitat edges increases connectivity and functional redundancy

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Habitat fragmentation dramatically alters the spatial configuration of landscapes, with the creation of artificial edges affecting community structure and species interactions. Despite this, it is not known how the different food-webs in adjacent habitats merge at their boundaries, and what the cons...

  7. Detritus fuels ecosystem metabolism but not metazoan food webs in San Francisco estuary's freshwater delta

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sobczak, W.V.; Cloern, J.E.; Jassby, A.D.; Cole, B.E.; Schraga, T.S.; Arnsberg, A.

    2005-01-01

    Detritus from terrestrial ecosystems is the major source of organic matter in many streams, rivers, and estuaries, yet the role of detritus in supporting pelagic food webs is debated. We examined the importance of detritus to secondary productivity in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta (California, United States), a large complex of tidal freshwater habitats. The Delta ecosystem has low primary productivity but large detrital inputs, so we hypothesized that detritus is the primary energy source fueling production in pelagic food webs. We assessed the sources, quantity, composition, and bioavailability of organic matter among a diversity of habitats (e.g., marsh sloughs, floodplains, tidal lakes, and deep river channels) over two years to test this hypothesis. Our results support the emerging principle that detritus dominates riverine and estuarine organic matter supply and supports the majority of ecosystem metabolism. Yet in contrast to prevailing ideas, we found that detritus was weakly coupled to the Delta's pelagic food web. Results from independent approaches showed that phytoplankton production was the dominant source of organic matter for the Delta's pelagic food web, even though primary production accounts for a small fraction of the Delta's organic matter supply. If these results are general, they suggest that the value of organic matter to higher trophic levels, including species targeted by programs of ecosystem restoration, is a function of phytoplankton production. ?? 2005 Estuarine Research Federation.

  8. Evolutionary food web model based on body masses gives realistic networks with permanent species turnover

    PubMed Central

    Allhoff, K. T.; Ritterskamp, D.; Rall, B. C.; Drossel, B.; Guill, C.

    2015-01-01

    The networks of predator-prey interactions in ecological systems are remarkably complex, but nevertheless surprisingly stable in terms of long term persistence of the system as a whole. In order to understand the mechanism driving the complexity and stability of such food webs, we developed an eco-evolutionary model in which new species emerge as modifications of existing ones and dynamic ecological interactions determine which species are viable. The food-web structure thereby emerges from the dynamical interplay between speciation and trophic interactions. The proposed model is less abstract than earlier evolutionary food web models in the sense that all three evolving traits have a clear biological meaning, namely the average body mass of the individuals, the preferred prey body mass, and the width of their potential prey body mass spectrum. We observed networks with a wide range of sizes and structures and high similarity to natural food webs. The model networks exhibit a continuous species turnover, but massive extinction waves that affect more than 50% of the network are not observed. PMID:26042870

  9. Contribution of Allochthonous Carbon Subsidies to the Minho Estuary Lower Food Web

    EPA Science Inventory

    To study the contribution of autochthonous and allochthonous organic matter (OM) sources fuelling the lower food web in Minho River estuary (N-Portugal, Europe), we characterized the carbon (?13C) and nitrogen (?15N) stable isotope ratios of zooplankton and their potential OM sou...

  10. Effects of light reduction on food webs and associated ecosystem services of Yaquina Bay

    EPA Science Inventory

    Reduced water clarity can affect estuarine primary production but little is known of its subsequent effects to consumer guilds or ecosystem services. We investigated those effects using inverse analysis of modeled food webs of the lower (polyhaline) and upper (mesohaline) reache...