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Sample records for benthic food webs

  1. Biological vs. Physical Mixing Effects on Benthic Food Web Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    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 13C 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 (Δδ13C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom 13C 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 TO13C 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 for

  2. BENTHIC PRODUCTION AS THE BASE FOR FOOD WEBS IN ALASKAN ARCTIC LAKES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Plankton are traditionally viewed as the basis for limnetic food webs, with zooplankton acting as an energy gateway between phytoplanktonic primary producers and fish. Often, benthic production is considered to be important primarily to the benthos and in shallow systems, such as...

  3. Carbon flows in the benthic food web at the deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN (Fram Strait)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Oevelen, Dick; Bergmann, Melanie; Soetaert, Karline; Bauerfeind, Eduard; Hasemann, Christiane; Klages, Michael; Schewe, Ingo; Soltwedel, Thomas; Budaeva, Nataliya E.

    2011-11-01

    The HAUSGARTEN observatory is located in the eastern Fram Strait (Arctic Ocean) and used as long-term monitoring site to follow changes in the Arctic benthic ecosystem. Linear inverse modelling was applied to decipher carbon flows among the compartments of the benthic food web at the central HAUSGARTEN station (2500 m) based on an empirical data set consisting of data on biomass, prokaryote production, total carbon deposition and community respiration. The model resolved 99 carbon flows among 4 abiotic and 10 biotic compartments, ranging from prokaryotes up to megafauna. Total carbon input was 3.78±0.31 mmol C m -2 d -1, which is a comparatively small fraction of total primary production in the area. The community respiration of 3.26±0.20 mmol C m -2 d -1 is dominated by prokaryotes (93%) and has lower contributions from surface-deposit feeding macro- (1.7%) and suspension feeding megafauna (1.9%), whereas contributions from nematode and other macro- and megabenthic compartments were limited to <1%. The high prokaryotic contribution to carbon processing suggests that functioning of the benthic food web at the central HAUSGARTEN station is comparable to abyssal plain sediments that are characterised by strong energy limitation. Faunal diet compositions suggest that labile detritus is important for deposit-feeding nematodes (24% of their diet) and surface-deposit feeding macrofauna (˜44%), but that semi-labile detritus is more important in the diets of deposit-feeding macro- and megafauna. Dependency indices on these food sources were also calculated as these integrate direct (i.e. direct grazing and predator-prey interactions) and indirect (i.e. longer loops in the food web) pathways in the food web. Projected sea-ice retreats for the Arctic Ocean typically anticipate a decrease in the labile detritus flux to the already food-limited benthic food web. The dependency indices indicate that faunal compartments depend similarly on labile and semi-labile detritus

  4. 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.

  5. Contrasting time trends of organic contaminants in Antarctic pelagic and benthic food webs.

    PubMed

    van den Brink, Nico W; Riddle, Martin J; van den Heuvel-Greve, Martine; van Franeker, Jan Andries

    2011-01-01

    We demonstrate that pelagic Antarctic seabirds show significant decreases in concentrations of some persistent organic pollutants. Trends in Adélie penguins and Southern fulmars fit in a general pattern revealed by a broad literature review. Downward trends are also visible in pelagic fish, contrasting sharply with steady or increasing concentrations in Antarctic benthic organisms. Transfer of contaminants between Antarctic pelagic and benthic food webs is associated with seasonal sea-ice dynamics which may influence the balance between the final receptors of contaminants under different climatic conditions. This complicates the predictability of future trends of emerging compounds in the Antarctic ecosystem, such as of the brominated compounds that we detected in Antarctic petrels. The discrepancy in trends between pelagic and benthic organisms shows that Antarctic biota are still final receptors of globally released organic contaminants and it remains questionable whether the total environmental burden of contaminants in the Antarctic ecosystem is declining.

  6. Stable-isotope analysis of a deep-sea benthic-fish assemblage: evidence of an enriched benthic food web.

    PubMed

    Boyle, M D; Ebert, D A; Cailliet, G M

    2012-04-01

    In this study, fishes and invertebrates collected from the continental slope (1000 m) of the eastern North Pacific Ocean were analysed using stable-isotope analysis (SIA). Resulting trophic positions (T(P) ) were compared to known diets and habitats from the literature. Dual isotope plots indicated that most species groups (invertebrates and fishes) sorted as expected along the carbon and nitrogen axes, with less intraspecific variability than interspecific variability. Results also indicated an isotopically distinct benthic and pelagic food web, as the benthic food web was more enriched in both nitrogen and carbon isotopes. Trophic positions from SIA supported this finding, resulting in the assignment of fishes to different trophic positions from those expected based on published dietary information. These differences can be explained largely by the habitat of the prey and the percentage of the diet that was scavenged. A mixing model estimated dietary contributions of prey similar to those of the known diet of Bathyraja trachura from stomach-content analysis (SCA). Linear regressions indicated that trophic positions calculated from SIA and SCA, when plotted against B. trachura total length for 32 individuals, exhibited similar variation and patterns. Only the T(P) from SCA yielded significant results (stomach content: P < 0·05, stable isotope: P > 0·05).

  7. Roles of epiphytes associated with macroalgae in benthic food web of a eutrophic coastal lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Xinqing; Huang, Lingfeng; Lin, Rongcheng; Du, Jianguo

    2015-11-01

    Macroalgae perform a significant function in the trophic dynamics in many coastal lagoons, and conventionally, they are the key trophic base that fuels the overall aquatic food web. However, few studies have considered the trophic contribution of epiphytes that attach to macroalgae in the diet of benthic primary consumers or their contribution to the trophic base of the aquatic food web. In this study, macrobenthic invertebrate biomass was combined with multiple-isotope-mixing models to distinguish the trophic importance of macroalgae and their associated epiphytic assemblages in the benthic food web during Ulva lactuca bloom in the Yundang Lagoon, a eutrophic coastal lagoon in Xiamen, China. Amphipods primarily dominated the zoobenthos, with the biomass varied from 40.9 g/m2 in January to 283.9 g/m2 in March. They mainly fed on U. lactuca and its associated epiphytes, which jointly contributed more than 60% to amphipod diets, but species-specific feeding habits were exhibited among amphipods. Using the zoobenthos biomass as a weighting factor, the contribution of U. lactuca and its epiphytes to total benthic communities during U. lactuca bloom exceeded 65%.The epiphytes were clearly utilized more than U. lactuca, with a median contribution ranging from 48.5% in January to 66.6% in March. Our findings demonstrate the trophic importance of the epiphytes in macroalgae-based coastal habitats, as found in many seagrass beds. Therefore, we propose that further food web studies of macroalgae-based ecosystems should pay greater attention to the role of epiphytes.

  8. Food web flows through a sub-arctic deep-sea benthic community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gontikaki, E.; van Oevelen, D.; Soetaert, K.; Witte, U.

    2011-11-01

    The benthic food web of the deep Faroe-Shetland Channel (FSC) was modelled by using the linear inverse modelling methodology. The reconstruction of carbon pathways by inverse analysis was based on benthic oxygen uptake rates, biomass data and transfer of labile carbon through the food web as revealed by a pulse-chase experiment. Carbon deposition was estimated at 2.2 mmol C m -2 d -1. Approximately 69% of the deposited carbon was respired by the benthic community with bacteria being responsible for 70% of the total respiration. The major fraction of the labile detritus flux was recycled within the microbial loop leaving merely 2% of the deposited labile phytodetritus available for metazoan consumption. Bacteria assimilated carbon at high efficiency (0.55) but only 24% of bacterial production was grazed by metazoans; the remaining returned to the dissolved organic matter pool due to viral lysis. Refractory detritus was the basal food resource for nematodes covering ∼99% of their carbon requirements. On the contrary, macrofauna seemed to obtain the major part of their metabolic needs from bacteria (49% of macrofaunal consumption). Labile detritus transfer was well-constrained, based on the data from the pulse-chase experiment, but appeared to be of limited importance to the diet of the examined benthic organisms (<1% and 5% of carbon requirements of nematodes and macrofauna respectively). Predation on nematodes was generally low with the exception of sub-surface deposit-feeding polychaetes that obtained 35% of their energy requirements from nematode ingestion. Carnivorous polychaetes also covered 35% of their carbon demand through predation although the preferred prey, in this case, was other macrofaunal animals rather than nematodes. Bacteria and detritus contributed 53% and 12% to the total carbon ingestion of carnivorous polychaetes suggesting a high degree of omnivory among higher consumers in the FSC benthic food web. Overall, this study provided a unique

  9. Stable isotopes as tracers of organic matter input and transfer in benthic food webs: A review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, Bruce J.

    1999-07-01

    Some of the ways that the application of stable isotopic tracers have contributed to the extremely hard task of understanding the energy and food web relations in benthic communities are illustrated in this review. Several methods are presented and their relative advantages are discussed, namely the use of endmembers, nitrogen isotopes, carbon isotopes, and sulfur isotopes. Special attention is given to the application of multiple tracers and transects sampling, natural and man-made perturbation experiments, and 15N additions as N cycle tracers.

  10. Benthic and Pelagic Pathways of Methylmercury Bioaccumulation in Estuarine Food Webs of the Northeast United States

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Celia Y.; Borsuk, Mark E.; Bugge, Deenie M.; Hollweg, Terill; Balcom, Prentiss H.; Ward, Darren M.; Williams, Jason; Mason, Robert P.

    2014-01-01

    Methylmercury (MeHg) is a contaminant of global concern that bioaccumulates and bioamagnifies in marine food webs. Lower trophic level fauna are important conduits of MeHg from sediment and water to estuarine and coastal fish harvested for human consumption. However, the sources and pathways of MeHg to these coastal fisheries are poorly known particularly the potential for transfer of MeHg from the sediment to biotic compartments. Across a broad gradient of human land impacts, we analyzed MeHg concentrations in food webs at ten estuarine sites in the Northeast US (from the Hackensack Meadowlands, NJ to the Gulf of Maine). MeHg concentrations in water column particulate material, but not in sediments, were predictive of MeHg concentrations in fish (killifish and Atlantic silversides). Moreover, MeHg concentrations were higher in pelagic fauna than in benthic-feeding fauna suggesting that MeHg delivery to the water column from methylation sites from within or outside of the estuary may be an important driver of MeHg bioaccumulation in estuarine pelagic food webs. In contrast, bulk sediment MeHg concentrations were only predictive of concentrations of MeHg in the infaunal worms. Our results across a broad gradient of sites demonstrate that the pathways of MeHg to lower trophic level estuarine organisms are distinctly different between benthic deposit feeders and forage fish. Thus, even in systems with contaminated sediments, transfer of MeHg into estuarine food webs maybe driven more by the efficiency of processes that determine MeHg input and bioavailability in the water column. PMID:24558491

  11. 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

  12. Benthic primary producers are key to sustain the Wadden Sea food web: stable carbon isotope analysis at landscape scale.

    PubMed

    Christianen, M J A; Middelburg, J J; Holthuijsen, S J; Jouta, J; Compton, T J; van der Heide, T; Piersma, T; Sinninghe Damsté, J S; van der Veer, H W; Schouten, S; Olff, H

    2017-04-02

    Coastal food webs can be supported by local benthic or pelagic primary producers and by the import of organic matter. Distinguishing between these energy sources is essential for our understanding of ecosystem functioning. However, the relative contribution of these components to the food web at the landscape scale is often unclear, as many studies lack good taxonomic and spatial resolution across large areas. Here, using stable carbon isotopes, we report on the primary carbon sources for consumers and their spatial variability across one of the world's largest intertidal ecosystems (Dutch Wadden Sea; 1460 km(2) intertidal surface area), at an exceptionally high taxonomic (178 species) and spatial resolution (9165 samples from 839 locations). The absence of overlap in δ(13) C values between consumers and terrestrial organic matter suggests that benthic and pelagic producers dominate carbon input into this food web. In combination with the consistent enrichment of benthic primary producers (δ(13) C -16.3‰) relative to pelagic primary producers (δ(13) C -18.8) across the landscape, this allowed the use of a two-food source isotope-mixing model. This spatially resolved modelling revealed that benthic primary producers (microphytobenthos) are the most important energy source for the majority of consumers at higher trophic levels (worms, molluscs, crustaceans, fish and birds), and thus to the whole food web. In addition, we found large spatial heterogeneity in the δ(13) C values of benthic primary producers (δ(13) C -19.2 to -11.5‰) and primary consumers (δ(13) C -25.5 to -9.9‰), emphasizing the need for spatially explicit sampling of benthic and pelagic primary producers in coastal ecosystems. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of the functioning of ecological networks and for the management of coastal ecosystems. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  13. Food web structure of the benthic community at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic): a stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iken, K.; Brey, T.; Wand, U.; Voigt, J.; Junghans, P.

    The deep-sea benthic community at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (NE Atlantic) is a highly food limited system. The annual input of sedimenting phytodetritus, which reaches the sea floor around May/June, is the major input of energy. The relative trophic position of the most abundant components of the benthos (90 species or higher taxonomic groups), including meiofaunal, macrofaunal, and megafaunal organisms, was evaluated by stable isotope analysis. The majority of the macro- and megafaunal organisms investigated were deposit feeders ( N=35), less numerous were suspension feeders ( N=17) and predators/scavengers ( N=29). Stable nitrogen values overlap and cover a large range within feeding types, indicating a strong overlap in food sources and a high degree of competition for food. Suspension feeders, mainly cnidarians, have a broad trophic spectrum through feeding on resuspended material as well as capturing pelagic prey; thus during the greater part of the year they can compensate for any shortage in sedimenting fresh POM. Benthic deposit feeders use a variety of feeding strategies to exploit their common food resource. The holothurians, the dominant megabenthic group at PAP, included some highly mobile species, which seem to be quite efficient in tracing and exploiting localised patches of nutritious phytodetritus. Other holothurian species, however, forage successfully on more refractory material, possibly assisted by enteric bacteria. Predators/scavengers fall into two groups, representing two major trophic pathways. Firstly, several of the invertebrate predators prey on deposit-feeding organisms and so are the end consumers of an exclusively benthic food web. Secondly, there are highly mobile benthopelagic predators/scavengers, which are a major link with the benthopelagic food web through their feeding on pelagic prey. Generally, within the benthic community at PAP competition for food is reduced by two alternative evolutionary adaptations: (1) specialization

  14. Linking Intertidal and Subtidal Food Webs: Consumer-Mediated Transport of Intertidal Benthic Microalgal Carbon.

    PubMed

    Kang, Chang-Keun; Park, Hyun Je; Choy, Eun Jung; Choi, Kwang-Sik; Hwang, Kangseok; Kim, Jong-Bin

    2015-01-01

    We examined stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios for a large variety of consumers in intertidal and subtidal habitats, and their potential primary food sources [i.e., microphytobenthos (MPB), phytoplankton, and Phragmites australis] in a coastal bay system, Yeoja Bay of Korea, to test the hypothesis that the transfer of intertidal MPB-derived organic carbon to the subtidal food web can be mediated by motile consumers. Compared to a narrow δ13C range (-18 to -16‰) of offshore consumers, a broad δ13C range (-18 to -12‰) of both intertidal and subtidal consumers indicated that 13C-enriched sources of organic matter are an important trophic source to coastal consumers. In the intertidal areas, δ13C of most consumers overlapped with or was 13C-enriched relative to MPB. Despite the scarcity of MPB in the subtidal, highly motile consumers in subtidal habitat had nearly identical δ13C range with many intertidal foragers (including crustaceans and fish), overlapping with the range of MPB. In contrast, δ13C values of many sedentary benthic invertebrates in the subtidal areas were similar to those of offshore consumers and more 13C-depleted than motile foragers, indicating high dependence on phytoplankton-derived carbon. The isotopic mixing model calculation confirms that the majority of motile consumers and also some of subtidal sedentary ones depend on intertidal MPB for more than a half of their tissue carbon. Finally, although further quantitative estimates are needed, these results suggest that direct foraging by motile consumers on intertidal areas, and thereby biological transport of MPB-derived organic carbon to the subtidal areas, may provide important trophic connection between intertidal production and the nearshore shallow subtidal food webs.

  15. Linking Intertidal and Subtidal Food Webs: Consumer-Mediated Transport of Intertidal Benthic Microalgal Carbon

    PubMed Central

    Kang, Chang-Keun; Park, Hyun Je; Choy, Eun Jung; Choi, Kwang-Sik; Hwang, Kangseok; Kim, Jong-Bin

    2015-01-01

    We examined stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios for a large variety of consumers in intertidal and subtidal habitats, and their potential primary food sources [i.e., microphytobenthos (MPB), phytoplankton, and Phragmites australis] in a coastal bay system, Yeoja Bay of Korea, to test the hypothesis that the transfer of intertidal MPB-derived organic carbon to the subtidal food web can be mediated by motile consumers. Compared to a narrow δ13C range (−18 to −16‰) of offshore consumers, a broad δ13C range (−18 to −12‰) of both intertidal and subtidal consumers indicated that 13C-enriched sources of organic matter are an important trophic source to coastal consumers. In the intertidal areas, δ13C of most consumers overlapped with or was 13C-enriched relative to MPB. Despite the scarcity of MPB in the subtidal, highly motile consumers in subtidal habitat had nearly identical δ13C range with many intertidal foragers (including crustaceans and fish), overlapping with the range of MPB. In contrast, δ13C values of many sedentary benthic invertebrates in the subtidal areas were similar to those of offshore consumers and more 13C-depleted than motile foragers, indicating high dependence on phytoplankton-derived carbon. The isotopic mixing model calculation confirms that the majority of motile consumers and also some of subtidal sedentary ones depend on intertidal MPB for more than a half of their tissue carbon. Finally, although further quantitative estimates are needed, these results suggest that direct foraging by motile consumers on intertidal areas, and thereby biological transport of MPB-derived organic carbon to the subtidal areas, may provide important trophic connection between intertidal production and the nearshore shallow subtidal food webs. PMID:26448137

  16. Compound-Specific Amino Acid Isotopic Analysis of Benthic Food Webs in the Chukchi Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, M.; Cooper, L. W.; Biasatti, D. M.; Grebmeier, J. M.

    2014-12-01

    The Chukchi Sea is known for locally high standing stocks of benthic macrofauna and strong coupling between pelagic-benthic components of the ecosystem. However, benthic food structure is not fully understood, due to varied sources of particulate organic matter (POM) and the high diversity of benthic invertebrates. We provide the first demonstration of the application of compound-specific amino acid isotope analysis to study the dietary sources and trophic structure for this Arctic marginal sea. About 20 stations in Chukchi Sea were sampled during cruises in August of 2012 and 2013. At each station, phytoplankton, POM and benthic fauna were collected, processed and analyzed using GC-C-IRMS (gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry). Among benthic fauna, dominant species included the following taxonomic groups: Ophiuroidea, Amphipoda, Polychaeta, Gastropoda, Bivalvia, and Cnidaria. The benthic fauna showed similar patterns of individual amino acid δ13C, with glycine the most enriched in 13C and leucine the most depleted in 13C. Specific amino acids including phenylalanine showed spatial variability in δ13C and δ15N values within the sampled area, indicating contributions of different dietary sources including phytoplankton, sea ice algae, benthic algae and terrestrial organic materials. δ15N values of individual amino acids such as the difference between glutamic acid and phenylalanine, i.e. Δ15Nglu-phe (δ15Nglu - δ15Nphe), were also used to identify trophic levels of benthic invertebrates relative to estimates available from bulk δ15N values. These data will ultimately be used to evaluate the spatial variability of organic carbon sources and trophic level interactions of dominant benthic species in the Chukchi Sea.

  17. Seasonal variation exceeds effects of salmon carcass additions on benthic food webs in the Elwha River

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morley, S.A.; Coe, H.J.; Duda, J.J.; Dunphy, L.S.; McHenry, M.L.; Beckman, B.R.; Elofson, M.; Sampson, E. M.; Ward, L.

    2016-01-01

    Dam removal and other fish barrier removal projects in western North America are assumed to boost freshwater productivity via the transport of marine-derived nutrients from recolonizing Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.). In anticipation of the removal of two hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River in Washington State, we tested this hypothesis with a salmon carcass addition experiment. Our study was designed to examine how background nutrient dynamics and benthic food webs vary seasonally, and how these features respond to salmon subsidies. We conducted our experiment in six side channels of the Elwha River, each with a spatially paired reference and treatment reach. Each reach was sampled on multiple occasions from October 2007 to August 2008, before and after carcass placement. We evaluated nutrient limitation status; measured water chemistry, periphyton, benthic invertebrates, and juvenile rainbow trout (O. mykiss) response; and traced salmon-derived nutrient uptake using stable isotopes. Outside of winter, algal accrual was limited by both nitrogen and phosphorous and remained so even in the presence of salmon carcasses. One month after salmon addition, dissolved inorganic nitrogen levels doubled in treatment reaches. Two months after addition, benthic algal accrual was significantly elevated. We detected no changes in invertebrate or fish metrics, with the exception of 15N enrichment. Natural seasonal variability was greater than salmon effects for the majority of our response metrics. Yet seasonality and synchronicity of nutrient supply and demand are often overlooked in nutrient enhancement studies. Timing and magnitude of salmon-derived nitrogen utilization suggest that uptake of dissolved nutrients was favored over direct consumption of carcasses. The highest proportion of salmon-derived nitrogen was incorporated by herbivores (18–30%) and peaked 1–2 months after carcass addition. Peak nitrogen enrichment in predators (11–16%) occurred 2–3

  18. 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...

  19. 14C as a tracer of labile organic matter in Antarctic benthic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Purinton, Brett L.; DeMaster, David J.; Thomas, Carrie J.; Smith, Craig R.

    2008-11-01

    14C measurements were made on surface plankton, particle-trap material, surface sediment, benthic invertebrate gut contents, and body tissue samples to assess the effectiveness of this radioisotope as a tracer of labile organic carbon in Antarctic benthic food webs. Samples were collected on five cruises to the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) shelf between November 1999 and March 2001 as part of the Food for Benthos on the ANtarctic Continental-Shelf (FOODBANCS) Project. The 14C contents of the body tissues from a variety of deposit feeders (-126±13 per mil) were substantially enriched relative to the surface sediment (-234±13 per mil) and statistically similar to the organic matter collected in plankton tows (-135±10 per mil), indicating that recently produced marine plankton are the primary source of nutrition for these deposit feeders on the West Antarctic shelf. Selective ingestion was the primary feeding strategy used by echiuran worms and certain holothurians (i.e. Peniagone vignoni) for incorporating labile organic carbon into their tissues as demonstrated by the large differences (105±13 per mil) between surface sediment and gut content 14C activities. In contrast, digestive and/or assimilatory selection was the predominant strategy used by an irregular urchin ( Amphipneustes lorioli) and several other holothurians ( Protelpidia murrayi, Bathyplotes fuscivinculum and the head-down conveyor belt feeder, Molpadia musculus), as demonstrated by large differences (42±7 per mil) between the 14C activities of their foregut or whole-gut organic contents and their body tissues. Despite large fluctuations in carbon export from the euphotic zone, benthic feeding strategies remained essentially constant over the 15-month sampling period. No seasonal variation was evident in either the 14C abundance of the deposit-feeder body tissues, or in the 14C abundance of their gut contents. The mean 14C abundance in the body tissues of the two sub-surface deposit feeders ( A

  20. Benthic suspension feeders: their paramount role in littoral marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Gili, J M; Coma, R

    1998-08-01

    In recent years, particular attention has been paid to coupling and energy transfer between benthos and plankton. Because of their abundance, certain benthic suspension feeders have been shown to have a major impact in marine ecosystems. They capture large quantities of particles and might directly regulate primary production and indirectly regulate secondary production in littoral food chains. Suspension feeders develop dense, three-dimensional communities whose structural complexity depends on flow speed. It has been postulated that these communities can self-organize to enhance food capture and thus establish boundary systems capable of successfully exploiting a less structured system, namely, the plankton.

  1. Fatty acid profiles of marine benthic microorganisms isolated from the continental slope of bay of bengal: a possible implications in the benthic Food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, Surajit; Lyla, P. S.; Khan, S. Ajmal

    2007-12-01

    Marine bacteria, actinomycetes and fungal strains were isolated from continental slope sediment of the Bay of Bengal and studied for fatty acid profile to investigate their involvement in the benthic food-web. Fifteen different saturated and unsaturated fatty acids from bacterial isolates, 14 from actinomycetes and fungal isolates were detected. The total unsaturated fatty acids in bacterial isolates ranged from 11.85 to 37.26%, while the saturated fatty acid ranged between 42.34 and 80.74%. In actinomycetes isolates, total unsaturated fatty acids varied from 27.86 to 38.85% and saturated fatty acids ranged from 35.29 to 51.25%. In fungal isolates unsaturated fatty acids ranged between 44.62 and 65.52% while saturated FA ranged from 20.80 to 46.30%. The higher percentages of unsaturated fatty acids from the microbial isolates are helpful in anticipating the active participation in the benthic food-web of Bay of Bengal.

  2. 20th century human pressures drive reductions in deepwater oxygen leading to losses of benthic methane-based food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belle, Simon; Millet, Laurent; Verneaux, Valérie; Lami, Andrea; David, Etienne; Murgia, Laurie; Parent, Claire; Musazzi, Simona; Gauthier, Emilie; Bichet, Vincent; Magny, Michel

    2016-04-01

    Freshwater lakes play a key role in the global carbon cycle as sinks (organic carbon sequestration) and sources (greenhouse gas emissions). Understanding the carbon cycle response to environmental changes is becoming a crucial challenge in the context of global warming and the preponderance of human pressures. We reconstructed the long-term (1500 years) evolution of trophic functioning of the benthic food web, based on methanotrophic ancient DNA and chironomid isotope analyses). In addition, human land use is also reconstructed in three different lakes (eastern France, Jura Mountains). Our findings confirm that the benthic food web can be highly dependent on methane-derived carbon (up to 50% of the chironomid biomass) and reveal that the activation of this process can correspond to a natural functioning or be a consequence of anthropic perturbation. The studied lakes also showed a similar temporal evolution over the last century with the disappearance of the profundal aquatic insects (Chironomidae, Diptera), considered as keystone for the whole lake food web (e.g., coupling benthic-pelagic), inducing a potential collapse in the transfer of methane to top consumers. This functional state, also called the dead zone expansion, was caused by the change in human land-use occurring at the beginning of the 20th century. The strong modification of agro-pastoral practices (e.g., fertilization practices, intensive grazing, and sewage effluent) modified the influx of nutrients (by diffuse and/or point-source inputs) and induced a significant increase in the trophic status and organic matter sedimentation to reach unprecedented values. Further studies should be planned to assess dead zone expansion and, according to the regime shift theory, to provide environmental tipping points for sustainable resource management.

  3. Influence of diesel contamination on the benthic microbial/meiofaunal food web of a Louisiana salt marsh

    SciTech Connect

    Carman, K.R.; Fleeger, J.W.; Pomarico, S.

    1994-12-31

    The authors studied the influence of diesel-contaminated sediments on the benthic microbial/meiofaunal food web from a Louisiana salt marsh. Diesel-contaminated sediment was added to microcosms (intact cores of marsh mud) in a range of doses, and a suite of microbial and meiofaunal responses were measured over a 28-day period. The authors measured bacterial and microalgal (Chl a) abundance, bacterial and microalgal activity using radiotracers ({sup 14}C-acetate and {sup 14}CO{sub 2}, respectively), meiofaunal grazing on microalgae, meiofaunal community structure, and meiofaunal physiological condition. Preliminary results indicate that diesel-contaminated sediments influence microalgal biomass and activity, as well as the life histories of benthic copepod species.

  4. Using marine reserves to manage impact of bottom trawl fisheries requires consideration of benthic food-web interactions.

    PubMed

    van Denderen, P Daniël; Rijnsdorp, Adriaan D; van Kooten, Tobias

    2016-10-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) are widely used to protect exploited fish species as well as to conserve marine habitats and their biodiversity. They have also become a popular management tool for bottom trawl fisheries, a common fishing technique on continental shelves worldwide. The effects of bottom trawling go far beyond the impact on target species, as trawls also affect other components of the benthic ecosystem and the seabed itself. This means that for bottom trawl fisheries, MPAs can potentially be used not only to conserve target species but also to reduce impact of these side effects of the fishery. However, predicting the protective effects of MPAs is complicated because the side effects of trawling potentially alter the food-web interactions between target and non-target species. These changes in predatory and competitive interactions among fish and benthic invertebrates may have important ramifications for MPAs as tools to manage or mitigate the effects of bottom trawling. Yet, in current theory regarding the functioning of MPAs in relation to bottom trawl fisheries, such predatory and competitive interactions between species are generally not taken into account. In this study, we discuss how food-web interactions that are potentially affected by bottom trawling may alter the effectiveness of MPAs to protect (1) biodiversity and marine habitats, (2) fish populations, (3) fisheries yield, and (4) trophic structure of the community. We make the case that in order to be applicable for bottom trawl fisheries, guidelines for the implementation of MPAs must consider their potential food-web effects, at the risk of failing management.

  5. Trophic ecology of Atlantic seabob shrimp Xiphopenaeus kroyeri: Intertidal benthic microalgae support the subtidal food web off Suriname

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willems, Tomas; De Backer, Annelies; Kerkhove, Thomas; Dakriet, Nyasha Nanseerà; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Hostens, Kris

    2016-12-01

    A combination of stomach content analyses and dual stable isotope analyses was used to reveal the trophic ecology of Atlantic seabob shrimp Xiphopenaeus kroyeri off the coast of Suriname. This coastal penaeid shrimp species has a rather omnivorous diet, feeding opportunistically on both animal prey and primary food sources. The species is a predator of hyperbenthic crustaceans, including copepods, amphipods and the luciferid shrimp Lucifer faxoni, which are mainly preyed upon during daytime, when these prey typically reside near the seabed. Benthic microalgae (BM) from intertidal mudflats and offshore sedimentary organic matter (SOM) were important primary food sources. Due to their depleted 13C values, coastal sedimentary and suspended organic matter, and carbon from riverine and mangrove-derived detritus were not incorporated by X. kroyeri. An ontogenetic diet shift was observed from postlavae to juveniles and adults. Adult X. kroyeri were located higher in the food chain, mainly preying on larger benthic organisms. Intertidal BM were an important food source for all life stages of X. kroyeri, contributing up to 64% to the overall diet based on a Bayesian mixing model. Because X. kroyeri is the main epibenthic organism found at high densities in nearshore waters up to 30 m depth, the species plays a crucial role in transferring energy from low trophic level prey and primary food sources up to higher levels in the food chain. Our results indicate that primary production on intertidal mudflats, through BM, forms an important energy source for the subtidal turbid-water food web in muddy tropical coasts. Conservation of intertidal areas and their associated mangrove systems will therefore likely benefit coastal shrimp production and fisheries in tropical ecosystems.

  6. Evidence for benthic-pelagic food web coupling and carbon export from California margin bamboo coral archives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, T. M.; Myrvold, C. R.; Spero, H. J.; Guilderson, T. P.

    2014-02-01

    Deep-sea bamboo corals (order Gorgonacea, family Isididae) are known to record changes in water mass chemistry over decades to centuries. These corals are composed of a two-part skeleton of calcite internodes segmented by gorgonin organic nodes. We examine the spatial variability of bamboo coral organic node 13C/12C and 15N/14N from thirteen bamboo coral specimens sampled along the California margin (37-32° N; 792 to 2136 m depth). Radiocarbon analyses of the organic nodes show the presence of the anthropogenic bomb spike, indicating the corals utilize a surface-derived food source (pre-bomb D14C values of ∼ -100‰, post-bomb values to 82‰). Carbon and nitrogen isotope data from the organic nodes (13C = -15.9‰ to -19.2‰ 15N = 13.8‰ to 19.4‰) suggest selective feeding on surface-derived organic matter or zooplankton. A strong relationship between coral 15N and habitat depth indicate a potential archive of changing carbon export, with decreased 15N values reflecting reduced microbial degradation (increased carbon flux) at shallower depths. Using four multi-centennial length coral records, we interpret long-term 15N stability in the California Current. Organic node 13C values record differences in carbon isotope fractionation dictated by nearshore vs. offshore primary production. These findings imply strong coupling between primary production, pelagic food webs, and deep-sea benthic communities.

  7. Radiological impact of TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident on invertebrates in the coastal benthic food web.

    PubMed

    Sohtome, Tadahiro; Wada, Toshihiro; Mizuno, Takuji; Nemoto, Yoshiharu; Igarashi, Satoshi; Nishimune, Atsushi; Aono, Tatsuo; Ito, Yukari; Kanda, Jota; Ishimaru, Takashi

    2014-12-01

    Radioactive cesium ((134)Cs and (137)Cs) concentrations in invertebrates of benthic food web (10 taxonomic classes with 46 identified families) collected from wide areas off Fukushima Prefecture (3-500 m depth) were inspected from July 2011, four months after the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident, to August 2013 to elucidate time-series trends among taxa and areas. Cesium-137 was detected in seven classes (77% of 592 specimens). Higher (137)Cs concentrations within detected data were often found in areas near or south of the FDNPP, which is consistent with the reported spatial distribution of (137)Cs concentrations in highly contaminated seawater and sediments after the FDNPP accident. Overall (137)Cs concentrations in invertebrates, the maxima of which (290 Bq kg(-1)-wet in the sea urchin Glyptocidaris crenularis) were lower than in many demersal fishes, had decreased exponentially with time, and exhibited taxon-specific decreasing trends. Concentrations in Bivalvia and Gastropoda decreased clearly with respective ecological half-lives of 188 d and 102 d. In contrast, decreasing trends in Malacostraca and Polychaeta were more gradual, with longer respective ecological half-lives of 208 d and 487 d. Echinoidea showed no consistent trend, presumably because of effects of contaminated sediments taken into their digestive tract. Comparison of (137)Cs concentrations in the invertebrates and those in seawater and sediments suggest that contaminated sediments are the major source of continuing contamination in benthic invertebrates, especially in Malacostraca and Polychaeta.

  8. Benthic Food Webs of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Relative Importance of Ultimate Carbon Sources in a Changing Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunton, K. H.; Schonberg, S. V.; Mctigue, N.; Bucolo, P. A.; Connelly, T. L.; McClelland, J. W.

    2014-12-01

    Changes in sea-ice cover, coastal erosion, and freshwater run-off have the potential to greatly influence carbon assimilation pathways and affect trophic structure in benthic communities across the western Arctic. In the Chukchi Sea, variations in the duration and timing of ice cover affect the delivery of ice algae to a relatively shallow (40-50 m) shelf benthos. Although ice algae are known as an important spring carbon subsidy for marine benthic fauna, ice algal contributions may also help initiate productivity of an active microphytobenthos. Recent studies provide clear evidence that the microphytobenthos are photosynthetically active, and have sufficient light and nutrients for in situ growth. The assimilation of benthic diatoms from both sources may explain the 13C enrichment observed in benthic primary consumers throughout the northern Chukchi. On the eastern Beaufort Sea coast, shallow (2-4 m) estuarine lagoon systems receive massive subsidies of terrestrial carbon that is assimilated by a benthic fauna of significant importance to upper trophic level species, but again, distinct 13C enrichment in benthic primary consumers suggests the existence of an uncharacterized food source. Since ice algae are absent, we believe the 13C enrichment in benthic fauna is caused by the assimilation of benthic microalgae, as reflected in seasonally high benthic chlorophyll in spring under replete light and nutrient conditions. Our observations suggest that changes in ice cover, on both temporal and spatial scales, are likely to have significant effects on the magnitude and timing of organic matter delivery to both shelf and nearshore systems, and that locally produced organic matter may become an increasingly important carbon subsidy that affects trophic assimilation and secondary ecosystem productivity.

  9. Evidence for benthic-pelagic food web coupling and carbon export from California margin bamboo coral archives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, T. M.; Myrvold, C. R.; Spero, H. J.; Guilderson, T. P.

    2014-07-01

    Deep-sea bamboo corals (order Gorgonacea, family Isididae) are known to record changes in water mass chemistry over decades to centuries. These corals are composed of a two-part skeleton of calcite internodes segmented by gorgonin organic nodes. We examine the spatial variability of bamboo coral organic node 13C/12C and 15N/14N from 13 bamboo coral specimens sampled along the California margin (37-32° N, 792-2136 m depth). Radiocarbon analyses of the organic nodes show the presence of the anthropogenic bomb spike, indicating the corals utilize a surface-derived food source (pre-bomb D14C values of ∼-100‰, post-bomb values up to 82‰). Carbon and nitrogen isotope data from the organic nodes (δ13C = -15.9‰ to -19.2‰; δ15N = 13.8‰ to 19.4‰) suggest selective feeding on surface-derived organic matter or zooplankton. A strong relationship between coral δ15N and habitat depth indicates a potential archive of changing carbon export, with decreased δ15N values reflecting reduced microbial degradation (increased carbon flux) at shallower depths. Using four multi-centennial-length coral records, we interpret long-term δ15N stability in the California Current. Organic node δ15C values record differences in carbon isotope fractionation dictated by nearshore vs. offshore primary production. These findings imply strong coupling between primary production, pelagic food webs, and deep-sea benthic communities.

  10. The stable carbon isotope ratios in benthic food webs of the gulf of Calvi, Corsica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dauby, Patrick

    1989-02-01

    The Gulf of Calvi, Corsica, presents a wide diversity of biocoenoses, amongst which the seagrass Posidonia meadow is prevalent. More than 100 plant, animal and sediment samples from various biotopes were analysed for their stable carbon isotope ratios, to assess carbon flows within the food chains. Marine plants display a wide range of δ 13C values, from -6 to -32‰ but with three relatively well distinct peaks for Posidonia, brown algae and phytoplankton (-9, -19 and -23‰, respectively), which are the main carbon sources. The range of isotopic values of animals is narrower, from -14 to -24‰, suggesting that they feed mainly on algae and plankton. Computations based on simple equations show the proportion of each carbon source in the diet of the animals. Posidonia, notwithstanding their important biomass, appear to be a minor food source; this is possibly because of the transfer of their dead leaves, towards the shorelines, in winter.

  11. Benthic community responses to macroalgae invasions in seagrass beds: Diversity, isotopic niche and food web structure at community level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deudero, S.; Box, A.; Vázquez-Luis, M.; Arroyo, N. L.

    2014-04-01

    Trophic paths between species are a useful tool for analysing the impact of species invasions of a biotic community. Species invasions produce changes at trophic level and diversity shifts by replacing native species with species of similar ecological niche. This study focused on the effects of macroalgal invasions on seagrass ecosystems. We conducted two - year bimonthly sampling of a pristine Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow and dead matte colonized by three Caulerpa species bimonthly. The largest changes in faunal composition were found in meadows colonized by Caulerpa prolifera, where major differences in infaunal taxonomic distinctness were apparent. On the other hand, the infaunal community was quite similar between the two invasive Caulerpa species (Caulerpa taxifolia and Caulerpa racemosa). The isotopic niche based on the main trophic guilds established using stable isotope signatures at community level resulted in a highly compacted and 15N-enriched C. prolifera food web structure, indicating high overlap of food source utilization among faunal components, which is typical of degraded systems. Conversely, the P. oceanica ecosystem presented the most complex food web, while the influence of the 2 invasive species were similar. An attempt to reconstruct the food web at each vegetated habitat revealed high trophic linkages among the different trophic levels with a continuous transition among them by the various trophic guilds suggesting an adaptation response of the different organisms to the new habitat forming species.

  12. Benthic food web structure in the Comau fjord, Chile (∼42°S): Preliminary assessment including a site with chemosynthetic activity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zapata-Hernández, Germán; Sellanes, Javier; Mayr, Christoph; Muñoz, Práxedes

    2014-12-01

    Using C and N stable isotopes we analyzed different trophic aspects of the benthic fauna at two sites in the Comau fjord: one with presence of venting of chemically reducing fluids and extensive patches of bacterial mats (XH: X-Huinay), and one control site (PG: Punta Gruesa) with a typical fjord benthic habitat. Due to the widespread presence of such microbial patches in the fjord and their recognized trophic role in reducing environments, we hypothesize that these microbial communities could be contributing to the assimilated food of consumers and transferring carbon into high trophic levels in the food web. Food sources in the area included macroalgae with a wide range of δ13C values (-34.7 to -11.9‰), particulate organic matter (POM, δ13C = -20.1‰), terrestrial organic matter (TOM, δ13C = -32.3‰ to -27.9‰) and chemosynthetic filamentous bacteria (δ13C = ∼-33‰). At both sites, fauna depicted typical values indicating photosynthetic production as a main food source (>-20‰). However, at XH selected taxa reported lower δ13C values (e.g. -26.5‰ in Nacella deaurata), suggesting a partial use of chemosynthetic production. Furthermore, enhanced variability at this site in δ13C values of the polyplacophoran Chiton magnificus, the limpet Fissurella picta and the tanaid Zeuxoides sp. may also be responding to the use of a wider scope of primary food sources. Trophic position estimates suggest three trophic levels of consumers at both sites. However, low δ15N values in some grazer and suspension-feeder species suggest that these taxa could be using other sources still to be identified (e.g. bacterial films, microalgae and organic particles of small size-fractions). Furthermore, between-site comparisons of isotopic niche width measurements in some trophic guilds indicate that grazers from XH have more heterogenic trophic niches than at PG (measured as mean distance to centroid and standard deviation of nearest neighbor distance). This last could be

  13. Freshwater seepages and ephemeral macroalgae proliferation in an intertidal bay: I Effect on benthic community structure and food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ouisse, Vincent; Riera, Pascal; Migné, Aline; Leroux, Cédric; Davoult, Dominique

    2011-01-01

    Freshwater seepages and ephemeral Enteromorpha spp. proliferation create heterogeneity at small spatial scale in intertidal sediment. Macrobenthic community diversity was compared between these two disturbances and their respective control points throughout the year 2007 at the Roscoff Aber Bay (Western English Channel, France). In March and September 2007, trophic community pathways of characteristic species were additionally studied using stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen. The low salinity recorded at the freshwater seepage induced the exclusion of the main bioturbator and the presence of omnivores which modified the community composition by biotic pressure. Moreover, food web analyses clearly highlighted a separation at small spatial scale between the two trophic pathways of the impacted area and its control. On the contrary, little differences were observed owning to the ephemeral Enteromorpha spp. proliferation. This suggested a progressive and diffusive disturbance which was applied from the algal mat to the nearby area. However, seasonal changes were observed. First, the algal expansion phase increased the macrofauna diversity and foraminifers' abundance (meiofauna) and then acted as a physical barrier decreasing sediment and water column exchanges and decreasing the fauna diversity. This study highlights the need to take into account small spatial heterogeneity to avoid misinterpretations in intertidal ecology studies.

  14. Fossil chironomid d13C as a new proxy for past methanogenic contribution to benthic food-webs in lakes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Hardenbroek, M.; Heiri, O. M.; Grey, J.; Bodelier, P. L. E.; Lotter, A. F.

    2009-04-01

    Lake sediments are an important source of atmospheric methane. Methanogenic archaea in lake sediments produce 13C-depleted methane that is partly released to the water column and the atmosphere. Another part is utilized by methane oxidizing bacteria (MOB) that are an important food source for deposit-feeding chironomid larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae). If methane-derived carbon is a significant component of the chironomid diet this will lead to strongly negative d13C in the tissue and exoskeleton of chironomid larvae. Chironomid cuticles, especially the strongly sclerotized head capsules, are well preserved as fossils in lake sediments. If the relationship between modern methane fluxes in lakes and chironomid d13C can be established this would therefore provide an approach for estimating past methane fluxes based on d13C of fossil chironomid remains. Using culturing experiments we show that the stable carbon isotope signature of MOB and other food sources can be traced in chironomid muscle tissue as well as in the fossilizing exoskeleton. In addition we measured d13C in chironomid larval head capsules and other invertebrate remains from a range of surface and downcore sediment samples. Small intra-specific variability (-27.1 ± 0.08 permille) was measured in replicate samples of chironomid head capsules of Corynocera ambigua (n=7). d13C of chironomid head capsules from a several different taxa ranged from -28.0 to -25.8 permille, but in some instances we observed d13C values as low as -36.9 to -31.5 permille, suggesting that carbon from MOB can be successfully traced in fossil and subfossil chironomid remains. Our results demonstrate that the stable carbon isotope signature of MOB is incorporated into chironomid head capsules. Future research will focus on quantifying the relationship between methane fluxes, MOB, and head capsule d13C in order to reconstruct past methane fluxes based on the lake sediment record.

  15. 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)

  16. An abundant small sized fish as keystone species? The effect of Pomatoschistus microps on food webs and its trophic role in two intertidal benthic communities: A modeling approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pockberger, Moritz; Kellnreitner, Florian; Ahnelt, Harald; Asmus, Ragnhild; Asmus, Harald

    2014-02-01

    Ecological network analysis (ENA) was used to study the effects of Pomatoschistus microps on energy transport through the food web, its impact on other compartments and its possible role as a keystone species in the trophic webs of an Arenicola tidal flat ecosystem and a sparse Zostera noltii bed ecosystem. Three ENA models were constructed: (a) model 1 contains data of the original food web from prior research in the investigated area by Baird et al. (2007), (b) an updated model 2 which included biomass and diet data of P. microps from recent sampling, and (c) model 3 simulating a food web without P. microps. A comparison of energy transport between the different models revealed that more energy is transported from lower trophic levels up the food chain, in the presence of P. microps (models 1 and 2) than in its absence (model 3). Calculations of the keystone index (KSi) revealed the high overall impact (measured as εi) of this fish species on food webs. In model 1, P. microps was assigned a low KSi in the Arenicola flat and in the sparse Z. noltii bed. Calculations in model 2 ranked P. microps first for keystoneness and εi in both communities, the Arenicola flat and the sparse Z. noltii bed. Taken together, our results give insight into the role of P. microps when considering a whole food web and reveal direct and indirect trophic interactions of this small-sized fish species. These results might illustrate the impact and importance of abundant, widespread species in food webs and facilitate further investigations.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  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.

  20. Differential processing of anthropogenic carbon and nitrogen in benthic food webs of A Coruña (NW Spain) traced by stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bode, Antonio; Fernández, Consolación; Mompeán, Carmen; Parra, Santiago; Rozada, Fernando; Valencia-Vila, Joaquín; Viana, Inés G.

    2014-08-01

    In this study the effect of inputs of organic matter and anthropogenic nitrogen at small spatial scales were investigated in the benthos of the Ria of A Coruña (NW Spain) using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. This ria is characteristically enriched in nutrients provided either by marine processes (as coastal upwelling) or by urban and agricultural waste. Stable isotope composition in trophic guilds of infaunal benthos revealed spatial differences related to their nutrient inputs. The main difference was the presence of an additional chemoautotrophic food web at the site with a large accumulation of organic matter. The enrichment in heavy nitrogen isotopes observed in most compartments suggests the influence of sewage-derived nitrogen, despite large inputs of marine nitrogen. Macroalgae (Fucus vesiculosus) resulted significantly enriched at the site influenced by estuarine waters. In contrast, no differences were found in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis), thus suggesting a major dependence on marine nutrient sources for this species. However, the estimations of anthropogenic influence were largely dependent on assumptions required to model the different contributions of sources. The measurement of stable isotope signatures in various compartments revealed that, despite anthropogenic nutrients are readily incorporated into local food webs, a major influence of natural marine nutrient sources cannot be discarded.

  1. Estuarine Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Estuaries provide habitat for abundant plants, animals and micro-organisms, ranging from microscopic plankton (bacteria, yeasts, algae, protozoa) to larger benthic and pelagic organisms (seagrass, clams, crabs, sea trout, pelicans and dolphins). Estuarine biota can be characteri...

  2. 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...

  3. 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)

  4. Food and disturbance effects on Arctic benthic biomass and production size spectra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Górska, Barbara; Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria

    2017-03-01

    Body size is a fundamental biological unit that is closely coupled to key ecological properties and processes. At the community level, changes in size distributions may influence energy transfer pathways in benthic food webs and ecosystem carbon cycling; nevertheless they remain poorly explored in benthic systems, particularly in the polar regions. Here, we present the first assessment of the patterns of benthic biomass size spectra in Arctic coastal sediments and explore the effects of glacial disturbance and food availability on the partitioning of biomass and secondary productivity among size-defined components of benthic communities. The samples were collected in two Arctic fjords off west Spitsbergen (76 and 79°N), at 6 stations that represent three regimes of varying food availability (indicated by chlorophyll a concentration in the sediments) and glacial sedimentation disturbance intensity (indicated by sediment accumulation rates). The organisms were measured using image analysis to assess the biovolume, biomass and the annual production of each individual. The shape of benthic biomass size spectra at most stations was bimodal, with the location of a trough and peaks similar to those previously reported in lower latitudes. In undisturbed sediments macrofauna comprised 89% of the total benthic biomass and 56% of the total production. The lower availability of food resources seemed to suppress the biomass and secondary production across the whole size spectra (a 6-fold decrease in biomass and a 4-fold decrease in production in total) rather than reshape the spectrum. At locations where poor nutritional conditions were coupled with disturbance, the biomass was strongly reduced in selected macrofaunal size classes (class 10 and 11), while meiofaunal biomass and production were much higher, most likely due to a release from macrofaunal predation and competition pressure. As a result, the partitioning of benthic biomass and production shifted towards meiofauna

  5. 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.

  6. Food sources of benthic animals on intertidal and subtidal bottoms in inner Ariake Sound, southern Japan, determined by stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yokoyama, Hisashi; Sakami, Tomoko; Ishihi, Yuka

    2009-04-01

    To evaluate the relative importance of possible food sources, including riverine particulate organic matter, reeds, benthic microalgae, seaweeds, cultured laver ( Porphyra) and coastal phytoplankton, for commercial bivalves and co-occurring benthic animals, 73 macrofaunal species were collected from intertidal and subtidal soft bottoms in the inner part of Ariake Sound, Kyushu, southern Japan, and their isotopic compositions were analyzed. The results revealed that (1) both intertidal and subtidal food webs were constituted of 3 trophic levels, (2) suspension-feeding bivalves utilize a mixture of benthic microalgae and coastal phytoplankton, and omnivores and carnivores incorporate benthic microalgae and phytoplankton through their intermediate prey, and (3) 3 bivalves ( Scapharca kagoshimensis, Modiolus metcalfei and Atrina lischkeana) inhabiting both intertidal and subtidal bottoms showed similar seasonal fluctuations, suggesting no difference in the diet composition among the species and between the 2 habitats. We conclude that a large biomass of benthic microalgae which was approximately equal to that of phytoplankton and the strong tidal currents that would resuspend benthic microalgae and transport them to subtidal bottom areas account for the benthic microalgal and phytoplankton based trophic structure in the inner part of Ariake Sound.

  7. Community assembly and food web stability

    SciTech Connect

    Post, W.M.; Pimm, S.L.

    1983-01-01

    The ecological assembly of food webs is considered as a process of predator colonizations and extinctions. The results of computer simulations using predator-prey equations allow us to identify three types of food web stability and examine how they may change through development of food webs. Species turnover stability increases, stability to extensive species extinction remains constant, and local stability to population fluctuations decreases as food web assembly proceeds. 28 references, 7 figures, 3 tables.

  8. 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

    non-overlapping distributions in food web properties was the subsystem that contained primarily benthic taxa, contrary to expectations that the identified major perturbations (lower phosphorous inputs and invasive species) would more greatly affect the subsystem containing primarily pelagic taxa. Future food-web research should employ rigorous statistical analysis and incorporate uncertainty in food web properties for a better understanding of how ecological networks adapt.

  9. 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

  10. Source food webs as estimators of community web structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hawkins, Bradford A.; Martinez, Neo D.; Gilbert, Francis

    Taxonomically restricted "source webs" are commonly used to represent the community food webs of which they are part. This raises a methodological problem if source webs provide biased estimates of food web structure. We use four high quality, extensive food webs containing multiple source species to measure the sensitivity of food web metrics to the number of source species used to generate a web. The total number of species ( S), linkage density ( L/S), directed connectance ( L/S 2) and the fractions of basal ( B), intermediate ( I), and top ( T) species are all sensitive to the number of source species. Further, the pattern of variation for the latter fractions is inconsistent and web dependent, indicating that source webs are inappropriate for characterizing these properties. Linkage densities increase with the numbers of source species in all four cases, with webs based on single or few sources severely underestimating values obtained for the full webs. Connectance shows more constrained decreases with increasing numbers of sources, suggesting that multiple-source webs may provide reasonable estimates of connectance for community webs.

  11. 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

  12. 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. 

  13. 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.

  14. Drought rewires the cores of food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Xueke; Gray, Clare; Brown, Lee E.; Ledger, Mark E.; Milner, Alexander M.; Mondragón, Raúl J.; Woodward, Guy; Ma, Athen

    2016-09-01

    Droughts are intensifying across the globe, with potentially devastating implications for freshwater ecosystems. We used new network science approaches to investigate drought impacts on stream food webs and explored potential consequences for web robustness to future perturbations. The substructure of the webs was characterized by a core of richly connected species surrounded by poorly connected peripheral species. Although drought caused the partial collapse of the food webs, the loss of the most extinction-prone peripheral species triggered a substantial rewiring of interactions within the networks’ cores. These shifts in species interactions in the core conserved the underlying core/periphery substructure and stability of the drought-impacted webs. When we subsequently perturbed the webs by simulating species loss in silico, the rewired drought webs were as robust as the larger, undisturbed webs. Our research unearths previously unknown compensatory dynamics arising from within the core that could underpin food web stability in the face of environmental perturbations.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. Nearshore energy subsidies support Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates following major changes in food web structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turschak, Benjamin A; Bunnell, David B.; Czesny, Sergiusz J.; Höök, Tomas O.; Janssen, John; Warner, David M.; Bootsma, Harvey A

    2014-01-01

    Aquatic food webs that incorporate multiple energy channels (e.g. nearshore benthic or pelagic) with varying productivity and turnover rates convey stability to biological communities by providing multiple independent energy sources. Within the Lake Michigan food web, invasive dreissenid mussels have caused rapid changes to food web structure and potentially altered the channels through which consumers acquire energy. We used stable C and N isotopes to determine how Lake Michigan food web structure has changed in the past decade, coincident with the expansion of dreissenid mussels, decreased pelagic phytoplankton production and increased nearshore benthic algal production. Fish and invertebrate samples collected from sites around Lake Michigan were analyzed to determine taxa-specific 13C:12C (delta 13C) and 15N:14N (delta 15N) ratios. Sampling took place during two distinct periods, 2002-2003 and 2010-2012, that spanned the period of dreissenid expansion, and included nearshore, pelagic and profundal fish and invertebrate taxa. Magnitude and direction of the 13C shift indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates. Although the mechanisms underlying this 13C shift likely varied among species, possible causes include the transport of benthic algal production to offshore waters and an increased reliance on nearshore prey items. Delta 15N shifts were more variable and of smaller magnitude across taxa although declines in delta 15N among some pelagic fishes may indicate a shift to alternative prey resources. Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates appear to have responded to dreissenid induced changes in nutrient and energy pathways by switching from pelagic to alternative nearshore energy subsidies. Although large shifts in energy allocation (i.e. pelagic to nearshore benthic) resulting from invasive species appear to have affected total production at upper trophic

  19. Nearshore energy subsidies support Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates following major changes in food web structure.

    PubMed

    Turschak, Benjamin A; Bunnell, David; Czesny, Sergiusz; Höök, Tomas O; Janssen, John; Warner, David; Bootsma, Harvey A

    2014-05-01

    Aquatic food webs that incorporate multiple energy channels (e.g., nearshore benthic and pelagic) with varying productivity and turnover rates convey stability to biological communities by providing independent energy sources. Within the Lake Michigan food web, invasive dreissenid mussels have caused rapid changes to food web structure and potentially altered the channels through which consumers acquire energy. We used stable C and N isotopes to determine how Lake Michigan food web structure has changed in the past decade, coincident with the expansion of dreissenid mussels, decreased pelagic phytoplankton production, and increased nearshore benthic algal production. Fish and invertebrate samples collected from sites around Lake Michigan were analyzed to determine taxa-specific 13C:12C (delta13C) and 15N:14N (delta15N) ratios. Sampling took place during two distinct periods, 2002-2003 and 2010-2012, that spanned the period of dreissenid expansion, and included nearshore, pelagic and profundal fish and invertebrate taxa. The magnitude and direction of the delta13C shift indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates following dreissenid expansion. Although the mechanisms underlying this delta13C shift likely varied among species, possible causes include the transport of benthic algal production to offshore waters and increased feeding on nearshore prey items by pelagic and profundal species. delta15N shifts were more variable and of smaller magnitude across taxa, although declines in delta15N among some pelagic fishes suggest a shift to alternative prey resources. Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates appear to have responded to dreissenid-induced changes in nutrient and energy pathways by switching from pelagic to alternative nearshore energy subsidies. Although large shifts in energy allocation (i.e., pelagic to nearshore benthic) resulting from invasive species appear

  20. A robust measure of food web intervality

    PubMed Central

    Stouffer, Daniel B.; Camacho, Juan; Amaral, Luís A. Nunes

    2006-01-01

    Intervality of a food web is related to the number of trophic dimensions characterizing the niches in a community. We introduce here a mathematically robust measure for food web intervality. It has previously been noted that empirical food webs are not strictly interval; however, upon comparison to suitable null hypotheses, we conclude that empirical food webs actually do exhibit a strong bias toward contiguity of prey, that is, toward intervality. Further, our results strongly suggest that empirically observed species and their diets can be mapped onto a single dimension. This finding validates a critical assumption in the recently proposed static niche model and provides guidance for ongoing efforts to develop dynamic models of ecosystems. PMID:17146055

  1. Floating mucus aggregates derived from benthic microorganisms on rocky intertidal reefs: Potential as food sources for benthic animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tamura, Y.; Tsuchiya, M.

    2011-09-01

    Mucus films, flocs or foams consisting of fine sand, algae and detritus frequently occur in the surface waters of rocky intertidal reef flats during incoming tide. These masses are referred to as mucus aggregates. We examined the developmental process of mucus aggregates and their abundance, distribution, migration and trophic composition. The trophic composition of mucus aggregates was then compared to those of sediments to evaluate their potential nutritional value for benthic animals. The organic matter content, chlorophyll a concentration, microalgal density and bacteria-derived fatty acid contents of mucus aggregates were higher than those observed in sediment, suggesting that mucus aggregates contain not only high levels of organic matter but also dense concentrations of microalgae and bacteria; therefore, mucus aggregates may serve as a qualitatively more energetic food source for benthic fauna compared to sediments. Benthic diatoms were the most abundant organisms in mucus aggregates. Large numbers of diatoms were trapped in fine mineral particles and mucilage-like strings, suggesting that a portion of the mucus is secreted by these benthic microalgae. Mucus aggregate accounted for only 0.01-3.9% of the daily feeding requirements of the dominant detritivore, Ophiocoma scolopendrina (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) over the entire sampling area. In contrast, for the species population on the back reef, where mucus aggregates ultimately accumulate, mucus aggregates provided from 0.4 to 113.3% of food for this species. These results suggest that mucus aggregate availability varies spatiotemporally and that they do not always provide adequate food sources for O. scolopendrina populations.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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

  5. Invasive mussels alter the littoral food web of a large lake: stable isotopes reveal drastic shifts in sources and flow of energy.

    PubMed

    Ozersky, Ted; Evans, David O; Barton, David R

    2012-01-01

    We investigated how establishment of invasive dreissenid mussels impacted the structure and energy sources of the littoral benthic food web of a large temperate lake. We combined information about pre- and postdreissenid abundance, biomass, and secondary production of the littoral benthos with results of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of archival (predreissenid) and recent (postdreissenid) samples of all common benthic taxa. This approach enabled us to determine the importance of benthic and sestonic carbon to the littoral food web before, and more than a decade after dreissenid establishment. Long term dreissenid presence was associated with a 32-fold increase in abundance, 6-fold increase in biomass, and 14-fold increase in secondary production of the littoral benthos. Dreissenids comprised a large portion of the post-invasion benthos, making up 13, 38, and 56% of total abundance, biomass, and secondary production, respectively. The predreissenid food web was supported primarily by benthic primary production, while sestonic material was relatively more important to the postdreissenid food web. The absolute importance of both sestonic material and benthic primary production to the littoral benthos increased considerably following dreissenid establishment. Our results show drastic alterations to food web structure and suggest that dreissenid mussels redirect energy and material from the water column to the littoral benthos both through biodeposition of sestonic material as well as stimulation of benthic primary production.

  6. Invasive Mussels Alter the Littoral Food Web of a Large Lake: Stable Isotopes Reveal Drastic Shifts in Sources and Flow of Energy

    PubMed Central

    Ozersky, Ted; Evans, David O.; Barton, David R.

    2012-01-01

    We investigated how establishment of invasive dreissenid mussels impacted the structure and energy sources of the littoral benthic food web of a large temperate lake. We combined information about pre- and postdreissenid abundance, biomass, and secondary production of the littoral benthos with results of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of archival (predreissenid) and recent (postdreissenid) samples of all common benthic taxa. This approach enabled us to determine the importance of benthic and sestonic carbon to the littoral food web before, and more than a decade after dreissenid establishment. Long term dreissenid presence was associated with a 32-fold increase in abundance, 6-fold increase in biomass, and 14-fold increase in secondary production of the littoral benthos. Dreissenids comprised a large portion of the post-invasion benthos, making up 13, 38, and 56% of total abundance, biomass, and secondary production, respectively. The predreissenid food web was supported primarily by benthic primary production, while sestonic material was relatively more important to the postdreissenid food web. The absolute importance of both sestonic material and benthic primary production to the littoral benthos increased considerably following dreissenid establishment. Our results show drastic alterations to food web structure and suggest that dreissenid mussels redirect energy and material from the water column to the littoral benthos both through biodeposition of sestonic material as well as stimulation of benthic primary production. PMID:23284673

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Nutrient dynamics and food-web stability

    SciTech Connect

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Mulholland, P.J.; Palumbo, A.V.; Steinman, A.D.; Huston, M.A.; Elwood, J.W. )

    1989-01-01

    The importance of nutrient limitation and recycling in ecosystems is widely recognized. Nutrients, defined in the broad sense as all material elements vital to biological functions, are in such small supply that they limit production in many ecosystems. Such limitation can affect ecosystem properties, including the structure and dynamics of the food webs that link species through their feeding relationships. What are the effects of limiting nutrients on the stability of ecosystem food webs Most of the literature on food web stability centers around the dynamics of population numbers and/or biomasses. Nevertheless, a growing body of theoretical and empirical research considers the role that both nutrient limitation and recycling can play in stability. In this paper, it is the authors objective to summarize the current understanding of several important types of stability. The theoretical and empirical evidence relating these types of stability and nutrient cycling is described. A central generalization is produced in each case.

  10. Food terrorism and food defense on the Web.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Mary Kay

    2008-01-01

    Global food supplies are at risk of both accidental and deliberate contamination. As past incidents have demonstrated, food terrorism may cause social, economic, and political disruption. The United States increased its efforts to protect its food after 9/11 by broadening the roles of existing agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, and by making coordination of food defense the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security. However, weaknesses in the system remain. This article presents background information and Web sites useful for consumers, industry representatives, students, researchers, policy makers, and the librarians that serve them.

  11. IsoWeb: a bayesian isotope mixing model for diet analysis of the whole food web.

    PubMed

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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 ...

  16. Factors regulating benthic food chains in tropical river deltas and adjacent shelf areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alongi, D. M.; Robertson, A. I.

    1995-09-01

    Benthic food chains of the Amazon (Brazil) and Fly (Papua New Guinea) river deltas and adjacent shelves are compared. Abundance patterns of the major trophic groups (bacteria, meiofauna, and macroinfauna) are similar between regions, with very low densities, or the absence of benthos, within and near the deltas. For muds in the more quiescent areas, benthic abundance and productivity are highest, commonly coinciding with maximum pelagic primary production. Episodes of physical disturbance, erratic food supply, and dilution of river-derived, particulate organic matter foster the development of opportunistic benthic communities of variable diversity and low biomass, dominated by bacteria. These pioneering assemblages are the main food of penaeid shrimp, which dominate the demersal trawl fisheries of both fluvial-dominated regions.

  17. 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.

  18. Food web structure of the coastal area adjacent to the Tagus estuary revealed by stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinagre, C.; Máguas, C.; Cabral, H. N.; Costa, M. J.

    2012-01-01

    The identification of energy sources, pathways and trophic linkages among organisms is crucial for the understanding of food web dynamics. Stable isotopes were used to identify the trophic level of food web components and track the incorporation of organic matter of different origins in the coastal ecosystem adjacent to the Tagus estuary. It was shown that the river Tagus is a major source of organic carbon to this system. Also, the wide difference in δ 13C among the primary consumers allowed the identification of the pelagic and the benthic energy pathways. The maximum trophic level observed was 2.4 for Sepia officinalis. This value is indicative of a short food web. It was concluded that the diet of the upper trophic level species relies directly on the lower food web levels to a considerable extent, instead of relying mostly on intermediate trophic level species. Moreover, the δ 15N values of primary consumers were very close to that of particulate organic matter, probably due to poorly known processes occurring at the basis of the food web. This lowers the trophic length of the whole food web. Reliance on benthic affinity prey was high for all upper trophic level secondary consumers.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Tracing organophosphorus and brominated flame retardants and plasticizers in an estuarine food web.

    PubMed

    Brandsma, Sicco H; Leonards, Pim E G; Leslie, Heather A; de Boer, Jacob

    2015-02-01

    Nine organophosphorus flame retardants (PFRs) were detected in a pelagic and benthic food web of the Western Scheldt estuary, The Netherlands. Concentrations of several PFRs were an order of magnitude higher than those of the brominated flame retardants (BFRs). However, the detection frequency of the PFRs (6-56%) was lower than that of the BFRs (50-97%). Tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP), tris(isobutyl) phosphate (TIBP) and tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP) were the dominant PFRs in sediment with median concentrations of 7.0, 8.1 and 1.8 ng/g dry weight (dw), respectively. PFR levels in the suspended particular matter (SPM) were 2-12 times higher than that in sediment. TBOEP, TCIPP, TIBP, tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) and tris(phenyl) phosphate (TPHP) were found in organisms higher in the estuarine food web. The highest PFR concentrations in the benthic food web were found in sculpin, goby and lugworm with median concentrations of 17, 7.4, 4.6 and 2.0 ng/g wet weight (ww) for TBOEP, TIBP, TCIPP and TPHP, respectively. Comparable levels were observed in the pelagic food web, BDE209 was the predominant PBDE in sediment and SPM with median concentrations up to 9.7 and 385 ng/g dw, respectively. BDE47 was predominant in the biotic compartment of the food web with highest median levels observed in sculpin and common tern eggs of 79 ng/g lipid weight (lw) (2.5 ng/g ww) and 80 ng/g lw (11 ng/g ww), respectively. Trophic magnification was observed for all PBDEs with the exception of BDE209. Indications of trophic magnification of PFRs were observed in the benthic food web for TBOEP, TCIPP and TCEP with tentative trophic magnification factors of 3.5, 2.2 and 2.6, respectively (p<0.05). Most of the other PFRs showed trophic dilution in both food webs. The relative high PFR levels in several fish species suggest high emissions and substantial exposure of organisms to PFRs in the Western Scheldt.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J.; De Leo, Giulio A.; 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, Eerin 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.

  5. Food web model with detritus path

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-07-01

    We present and study a lattice (Monte Carlo) model of a food web consisting of three levels. Agents on the lowest level produce food from dead agents (detritus) of the upper levels and are themselves eaten by the first level species, which in turn are prey for the top level species. Agents which do not find food in a given time, die with a given probability, while eating enables them to produce offspring in their neighborhood. This rule applies to species on all levels, including the lowest one. The dynamics is therefore nutrient limited. We are considering two pathways - grazers and detritus (using dead organic matter). We show that the emerging dynamics is more complex than the ordinary predator-prey systems in which bottom species are indestructible. We investigate the viability of our model and we construct appropriate (extinct-alive) phase diagrams. We demonstrate how the temporal fluctuations in the densities of the three populations are correlated. We show also that the density of the middle level agents plays the key role in the viability of the investigated food web.

  6. Molecular trophic markers in marine food webs and their potential use for coral ecology.

    PubMed

    Leal, Miguel Costa; Ferrier-Pagès, Christine

    2016-10-01

    Notable advances in ecological genomics have been driven by high-throughput sequencing technology and taxonomically broad sequence repositories that allow us to accurately assess species interactions with great taxonomic resolution. The use of DNA as a marker for ingested food is particularly relevant to address predator-prey interactions and disentangle complex marine food webs. DNA-based methods benefit from reductionist molecular approaches to address ecosystem scale processes, such as community structure and energy flow across trophic levels, among others. Here we review how molecular trophic markers have been used to better understand trophic interactions in the marine environment and their advantages and limitations. We focus on animal groups where research has been focused, such as marine mammals, seabirds, fishes, pelagic invertebrates and benthic invertebrates, and use case studies to illustrate how DNA-based methods unraveled food-web interactions. The potential of molecular trophic markers for disentangling the complex trophic ecology of corals is also discussed.

  7. Interactive Effects of Metals and PAHs on Benthic Food Webs

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-06-14

    hydrocarbons and metals are quite different, and individually they may elicit different, sometimes opposite, ecological responses. Impacted field...sediments, especially in harbors, are typically contaminated with both metals and hydrocarbons, and thus ecological impacts may be a consequence of...their interactive effects. Our experimental approach to this problem will provide fundamental information on the ecological manifestations of metals

  8. Dynamically Coupled Food-web and Hydrodynamic Modeling with ADH-CASM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piercy, C.; Swannack, T. M.

    2012-12-01

    Oysters and freshwater mussels are "ecological engineers," modifying the local water quality by filtering zooplankton and other suspended particulate matter from the water column and flow hydraulics by impinging on the near-bed flow environment. The success of sessile, benthic invertebrates such as oysters depends on environmental factors including but not limited to temperature, salinity, and flow regime. Typically food-web and other types of ecological models use flow and water quality data as direct input without regard to the feedback between the ecosystem and the physical environment. The USACE-ERDC has developed a coupled hydrodynamic-ecological modeling approach that dynamically couples a 2-D hydrodynamic and constituent transport model, Adaptive Hydraulics (ADH), with a bioenergetics food-web model, the Comprehensive Aquatics Systems Model (CASM), which captures the dynamic feedback between aquatic ecological systems and the environment. We present modeling results from restored oyster reefs in the Great Wicomico River on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, which quantify ecosystem services such as the influence of the benthic ecosystem on water quality. Preliminary results indicate that while the influence of oyster reefs on bulk flow dynamics is limited due to the localized influence of oyster reefs, large reefs and the associated benthic ecosystem can create measurable changes in the concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon in the areas around reefs. We also present a sensitivity analysis to quantify the relative sensitivity of the coupled ADH-CASM model to both hydrodynamic and ecological parameter choice.

  9. Competition in di- and tri-trophic food web modules.

    PubMed

    Křivan, Vlastimil

    2014-02-21

    Competition in di- and tri-trophic food web modules with many competing species is studied. The food web modules considered are apparent competition between n species sharing a single predator and a diamond-like food web with a single resource, a single top predator and many competing middle species. The predators have either fixed preferences for their prey, or they switch between available prey in a way that maximizes their fitness. Dependence of these food web dynamics on environmental carrying capacity and food web connectance is studied. The results predict that optimal flexible foraging strongly weakens apparent competition and promotes species coexistence. Food web robustness (defined here as the proportion of surviving species) does not decrease with increased connectance in these food-webs. Moreover, it is shown that flexible prey switching leads to the same population equilibria as in corresponding food webs with highly specialized predators. The results show that flexible foraging behavior by predators can have very strong impact on species richness, as well as the response of communities to changes in resource enrichment and food-web connectance when compared to the same food-web topology with inflexible top predators. Several results on global stability using Lyapunov functions are provided.

  10. Guano-Derived Nutrient Subsidies Drive Food Web Structure in Coastal Ponds

    PubMed Central

    Vizzini, Salvatrice; Signa, Geraldina; Mazzola, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    A stable isotope study was carried out seasonally in three coastal ponds (Marinello system, Italy) affected by different gull guano input to investigate the effect of nutrient subsidies on food web structure and dynamics. A marked 15N enrichment occurred in the pond receiving the highest guano input, indicating that gull-derived fertilization (guanotrophication) had a strong localised effect and flowed across trophic levels. The main food web response to guanotrophication was an overall erosion of the benthic pathway in favour of the planktonic. Subsidized primary consumers, mostly deposit feeders, switched their diet according to organic matter source availability. Secondary consumers and, in particular, fish from the guanotrophic pond, acted as couplers of planktonic and benthic pathways and showed an omnivorous trophic behaviour. Food web structure showed substantial variability among ponds and a marked seasonality in the subsidized one: an overall simplification was evident only in summer when guano input maximises its trophic effects, while higher trophic diversity and complexity resulted when guano input was low to moderate. PMID:26953794

  11. Guano-Derived Nutrient Subsidies Drive Food Web Structure in Coastal Ponds.

    PubMed

    Vizzini, Salvatrice; Signa, Geraldina; Mazzola, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    A stable isotope study was carried out seasonally in three coastal ponds (Marinello system, Italy) affected by different gull guano input to investigate the effect of nutrient subsidies on food web structure and dynamics. A marked 15N enrichment occurred in the pond receiving the highest guano input, indicating that gull-derived fertilization (guanotrophication) had a strong localised effect and flowed across trophic levels. The main food web response to guanotrophication was an overall erosion of the benthic pathway in favour of the planktonic. Subsidized primary consumers, mostly deposit feeders, switched their diet according to organic matter source availability. Secondary consumers and, in particular, fish from the guanotrophic pond, acted as couplers of planktonic and benthic pathways and showed an omnivorous trophic behaviour. Food web structure showed substantial variability among ponds and a marked seasonality in the subsidized one: an overall simplification was evident only in summer when guano input maximises its trophic effects, while higher trophic diversity and complexity resulted when guano input was low to moderate.

  12. Stable isotopes and organochlorines in the food webs of Lakes Baikal and Superior

    SciTech Connect

    Kucklick, J.R.; Baker, J.E.; Ostrom, N.E.; Ostrom, P.H.; Lee, D.S.

    1994-12-31

    Quantifying organochlorine biomagnification in aquatic ecosystems is traditionally accomplished by assigning discreet trophic levels, which does not adequately describe feeding relationships except in well defined systems. {delta}{sup 15}N and {delta}{sup 13}C, particularly {delta}{sup 15}N values, measured in aquatic food webs provide additional information on trophic position such that it may be treated as a continuous variable. To evaluate this technique, samples were collected from the pelagic zone of Lake Baikal in August and September, 1993 for organochlorine (PCBs, DDTs, chlordanes and HCHS) and stable isotope ({delta}{sup 13}C and {delta}{sup 15}N) analyzed. These included high volume water samples, seston, net plankton, two species of pelagic sculpin Comephorus dybowskii, C. baikalensis, the omul, (Coregonus autumnalis migratorious), and 9 seal (Phoca siberica) samples of known sex and age. Food web samples from Lake Superior will be collected in June, 1994 to include benthic infauna, sculpins, Mysis and surface phytoplankton and zooplankton. Results from this study will provide a comparison of organochlorine trophodynamics between a system with a predominant pelagic food web (Lake Baikal) to one with substantial benthic/pelagic coupling (Lake Superior).

  13. Trophic structure and mercury distribution in a Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada) food web using stable isotope analysis.

    PubMed

    Lavoie, Raphael A; Hebert, Craig E; Rail, Jean-François; Braune, Birgit M; Yumvihoze, Emmanuel; Hill, Laura G; Lean, David R S

    2010-10-15

    Even at low concentrations in the environment, mercury has the potential to biomagnify in food chains and reaches levels of concern in apex predators. The aim of this study was to relate the transfer of total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in a Gulf of St. Lawrence food web to the trophic structure, from primary consumers to seabirds, using stable nitrogen (δ(15)N) and carbon (δ(13)C) isotope analysis and physical environmental parameters. The energy reaching upper trophic level species was principally derived from pelagic primary production, with particulate organic matter (POM) at the base of the food chain. We developed a biomagnification factor (BMF) taking into account the various prey items consumed by a given predator using stable isotope mixing models. This BMF provides a more realistic estimation than when using a single prey. Lipid content, body weight, trophic level and benthic connection explained 77.4 and 80.7% of the variation in THg and MeHg concentrations, respectively in this food web. When other values were held constant, relationships with lipid and benthic connection were negative whereas relationships with trophic level and body weight were positive. Total Hg and MeHg biomagnified in this food web with biomagnification power values (slope of the relationship with δ(15)N) of 0.170 and 0.235, respectively on wet weight and 0.134 and 0.201, respectively on dry weight. Values of biomagnification power were greater for pelagic and benthopelagic species compared to benthic species whereas the opposite trend was observed for levels at the base of the food chain. This suggests that Hg would be readily bioavailable to organisms at the base of the benthic food chain, but trophic transfer would be more efficient in each trophic level of pelagic and benthopelagic food chains.

  14. Climate change alters the structure of arctic marine food webs due to poleward shifts of boreal generalists.

    PubMed

    Kortsch, Susanne; Primicerio, Raul; Fossheim, Maria; Dolgov, Andrey V; Aschan, Michaela

    2015-09-07

    Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning.

  15. The role of cannibalism and contaminant source on bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Fraser, Alison J; Cahill, Thomas M; Lasenby, David C; Mackay, Donald; Milford, Lynne

    2005-04-01

    Two aspects of bioaccumulation in an aquatic food web are explored. First, the possible implications of cannibalism, including the scavenging of conspecifics, as a factor influencing food web bioaccumulation and biomagnification are explored by examining the behavior of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a simple aquatic food web consisting of plankton, juvenile and adult Mysis relicta, Diporeia, and alewife. From an analysis of trophic transfer efficiencies and food consumption rates, it is concluded that, for M. relicta, a maximum extent of cannibalism in a population is about 10%, although certain individuals may be more cannibalistic. The model suggests that cannibalism and scavenging of dead conspecifics generally result in an increase in concentration by self-biomagnification, but the effect is small and unlikely to exceed 5% on the average. Concentration differences also are likely to result from changes in the relative amounts of the dietary components. Highly cannibalistic individuals may achieve higher levels of bioaccumulation. In extreme cases, the food web model becomes mathematically unstable because of excessive feedback of high concentrations. A major implication is that differences in extent of cannibalism and scavenging probably contribute significantly to natural concentration variation in a population. Second, and more important, is the effect of benthic versus pelagic sources, especially when significant fugacity differences exist between these zones. A simple method is described by which the separate contributions from these sources can be estimated for organisms at higher trophic levels.

  16. Benthic Foraminifera, Food in the Deep Sea, and Limits to Bentho-Pelagic Coupling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, E.; Boscolo-Galazzo, F.; Arreguin-Rodrigu, G. J.; Ortiz, S.; Alegret, L.

    2015-12-01

    The deep-sea is the largest habitat on Earth, contains highly diverse biota, but is very little known. Many of its abundant benthic biota (e.g., nematodes) are not preserved in the fossil record. Calcareous and agglutinated benthic foraminifera (unicellular eukaryotes, Rhizaria; efficient dispersers) and ostracodes (Animalia, Crustacea; non-efficient dispersers) are the most common organisms providing a fossil record of deep-sea environments. Very little food is supplied to the deep-sea, because organic matter produced by photosynthesis is largely degraded before it arrives at the seafloor. Only a few % of organic matter is carried to the ocean bottom by 'marine snow', with its particle size and behavior in the water column controlled by surface ecosystem structure, including type of dominant primary producers (diatoms, cyanobacteria). Food supply and its seasonality are generally seen as the dominant control on benthic assemblages (combined with oxygenation), providing bentho-pelagic coupling between primary and benthic productivity. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages (composition and density) thus are used widely to estimate past productivity, especially during episodes of global climate change, ocean acidification, and mass extinction of primary producers. We show that some environmental circumstances may result in interrupting bentho-pelagic coupling, e.g. through lateral supply of organic matter along continental margins (adding more refractory organic matter), through trophic focusing and/or fine particle winnowing on seamounts (giving an advantage to suspension feeders), and through carbonate undersaturation (giving advantage to infaunal over epifaunal calcifyers). In addition, increased remineralization of organic matter combined with increased metabolic rates may cause assemblages to reflect more oligotrophic conditions at stable primary productivity during periods of global warming. As a result, benthic foraminiferal accumulation rates must be carefully

  17. Multiple predator effects in an intertidal food web.

    PubMed

    Van Son, Thijs Christiaan; Thiel, Martin

    2006-01-01

    1. We examined the effects of multiple predators from an intertidal boulder food web to test whether and how three different predator species affected the survival of a small amphipod species. 2. Predators were chosen because they differ in their foraging mode, two feeding at the bottom and in benthic refuges (nemertean and shrimp) and one in the water-column (juveniles of a fish). 3. Mortality of amphipods was not affected by nemerteans, but was high in the presence of shrimp or fish. Highest mortalities were observed in predator-combinations that contained both shrimp and fish. Amphipods responded to shrimp by escaping into the water column, while they avoided fish by remaining in the refuge. We conclude that predator-specific defence causes conflicts for prey when both shrimp and fish are present. 4. Comparing observed effects of multiple predators with expected effects revealed risk enhancement for the shrimp + fish combination. A comparison of different predictive models revealed that the multiplicative model was most appropriate, although additive models may work well under certain conditions. 5. Based on known consumption-ranges of the predators used, we conclude that nemerteans were saturated with prey while fish were far from their saturation point. A predator's functional response curve (prey consumption in relation to prey abundance) determines its impact on prey populations. This knowledge appears essential in order to predict whether prey organisms face risk enhancement, risk reduction or additive effects of multiple predators.

  18. Spatial complexity enhances predictability in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Mougi, Akihiko

    2017-01-01

    The prediction of an ecosystem’s response to an environmental disturbance or the artificial control of ecosystems is a challenging task in ecology. Ecological theory predicts that disturbances frequently result in unexpected responses between interacting species due to the many indirect interactions within a complex community. However, such indeterminacy appears to be unusual in nature. Here using a meta-community food web, I show that spatiality is key to resolving this disparity. A moderate level of spatial coupling strength between habitats due to species migration increases the possibility of expected responses to press perturbation or predictability. Moreover, predictability increases with increasing spatial complexity, as measured by the number of local food webs and their connectivity. A meta-community network can attenuate the propagation of disturbances through indirect pathways due to species emigration to other habitats, thereby preserving the expected effect on the interacting species. These results suggest that the isolation of communities due to habitat destruction decreases the predictability of communities, thereby complicating the control of ecosystems. PMID:28240306

  19. Metacommunity theory explains the emergence of food web complexity.

    PubMed

    Pillai, Pradeep; Gonzalez, Andrew; Loreau, Michel

    2011-11-29

    Food webs are highly complex ecological networks, dynamic in both space and time. Metacommunity models are now at the core of unified theories of biodiversity, but to date they have not addressed food web complexity. Here we show that metacommunity theory can explain the emergence of species-rich food webs with complex network topologies. Our analysis shows that network branching in the food web is maximized at intermediate colonization rates and limited dispersal scales, which also leads to concomitant peaks in species diversity. Increased food web complexity and species diversity are made possible by the structural role played by network branches that are supported by omnivore and generalist feeding links. Thus, in contrast to traditional food web theory, which emphasizes the destabilizing effect of omnivory feeding in closed systems, metacommunity theory predicts that these feeding links, which are commonly observed in empirical food webs, play a critical structural role as food webs assemble in space. As this mechanism functions at the metacommunity level, evidence for its operation in nature will be obtained through multiscale surveys of food web structure. Finally, we apply our theory to reveal the effects of habitat destruction on network complexity and metacommunity diversity.

  20. Age and trophic position dominate bioaccumulation of mercury and organochlorines in the food web of Lake Washington.

    PubMed

    McIntyre, Jenifer K; Beauchamp, David A

    2007-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms of bioaccumulation in food webs is critical to predicting which food webs are at risk for higher rates of bioaccumulation that endanger the health of upper-trophic predators, including humans. Mercury and organochlorines were measured concurrently with stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon in key fishes and invertebrates of Lake Washington to explore important pathways of bioaccumulation in this food web. Across the food web, age and trophic position together were highly significant predictors of bioaccumulation. Trophic position was more important than age for predicting accumulation of mercury, sigmaDDT, and sigma-chlordane, whereas age was more important than trophic position for predicting sigmaPCB. Excluding age from the analysis inflated the apparent importance of trophic position to bioaccumulation for all contaminants. Benthic and pelagic habitats had similar potential to bioaccumulate contaminants, although higher sigma-chlordane concentrations in organisms were weakly associated with more benthic carbon signals. In individual fish species, contaminant concentrations increased with age, size, and trophic position (delta15N), whereas relationships with carbon source (delta13C) were not consistent. Lipid concentrations were correlated with contaminant concentrations in some but not all fishes, suggesting that lipids were not involved mechanistically in bioaccumulation. Contaminant concentrations in biota did not vary among littoral sites. Collectively, these results suggest that age may be an important determinant of bioaccumulation in many food webs and could help explain a significant amount of the variability in apparent biomagnification rates among food webs. As such, effort should be made when possible to collect information on organism age in addition to stable isotopes when assessing food webs for rates of biomagnification.

  1. Age and trophic position dominate bioaccumulation of mercury and organochlorines in the food web of Lake Washington

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, J.K.; Beauchamp, D.A.

    2007-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms of bioaccumulation in food webs is critical to predicting which food webs are at risk for higher rates of bioaccumulation that endanger the health of upper-trophic predators, including humans. Mercury and organochlorines were measured concurrently with stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon in key fishes and invertebrates of Lake Washington to explore important pathways of bioaccumulation in this food web. Across the food web, age and trophic position together were highly significant predictors of bioaccumulation. Trophic position was more important than age for predicting accumulation of mercury, ???DDT, and ???-chlordane, whereas age was more important than trophic position for predicting ???PCB. Excluding age from the analysis inflated the apparent importance of trophic position to bioaccumulation for all contaminants. Benthic and pelagic habitats had similar potential to bioaccumulate contaminants, although higher ???-chlordane concentrations in organisms were weakly associated with more benthic carbon signals. In individual fish species, contaminant concentrations increased with age, size, and trophic position (??15N), whereas relationships with carbon source (??13C) were not consistent. Lipid concentrations were correlated with contaminant concentrations in some but not all fishes, suggesting that lipids were not involved mechanistically in bioaccumulation. Contaminant concentrations in biota did not vary among littoral sites. Collectively, these results suggest that age may be an important determinant of bioaccumulation in many food webs and could help explain a significant amount of the variability in apparent biomagnification rates among food webs. As such, effort should be made when possible to collect information on organism age in addition to stable isotopes when assessing food webs for rates of biomagnification. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Food web persistence is enhanced by non-trophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Hammill, Edd; Kratina, Pavel; Vos, Matthijs; Petchey, Owen L; Anholt, Bradley R

    2015-06-01

    The strength of interspecific interactions is often proposed to affect food web stability, with weaker interactions increasing the persistence of species, and food webs as a whole. However, the mechanisms that modify interaction strengths, and their effects on food web persistence are not fully understood. Using food webs containing different combinations of predator, prey, and nonprey species, we investigated how predation risk of susceptible prey is affected by the presence of species not directly trophically linked to either predators or prey. We predicted that indirect alterations to the strength of trophic interactions translate to changes in persistence time of extinction-prone species. We assembled interaction webs of protist consumers and turbellarian predators with eight different combinations of prey, predators and nonprey species, and recorded abundances for over 130 prey generations. Persistence of predation-susceptible species was increased by the presence of nonprey. Furthermore, multiple nonprey species acted synergistically to increase prey persistence, such that persistence was greater than would be predicted from the dynamics of simpler food webs. We also found evidence suggesting increased food web complexity may weaken interspecific competition, increasing persistence of poorer competitors. Our results demonstrate that persistence times in complex food webs cannot be predicted from the dynamics of simplified systems, and that species not directly involved in consumptive interactions likely play key roles in maintaining persistence. Global species diversity is currently declining at an unprecedented rate and our findings reveal that concurrent loss of species that modify trophic interactions may have unpredictable consequences for food web stability.

  3. Food web complexity and stability across habitat connectivity gradients.

    PubMed

    LeCraw, Robin M; Kratina, Pavel; Srivastava, Diane S

    2014-12-01

    The effects of habitat connectivity on food webs have been studied both empirically and theoretically, yet the question of whether empirical results support theoretical predictions for any food web metric other than species richness has received little attention. Our synthesis brings together theory and empirical evidence for how habitat connectivity affects both food web stability and complexity. Food web stability is often predicted to be greatest at intermediate levels of connectivity, representing a compromise between the stabilizing effects of dispersal via rescue effects and prey switching, and the destabilizing effects of dispersal via regional synchronization of population dynamics. Empirical studies of food web stability generally support both this pattern and underlying mechanisms. Food chain length has been predicted to have both increasing and unimodal relationships with connectivity as a result of predators being constrained by the patch occupancy of their prey. Although both patterns have been documented empirically, the underlying mechanisms may differ from those predicted by models. In terms of other measures of food web complexity, habitat connectivity has been empirically found to generally increase link density but either reduce or have no effect on connectance, whereas a unimodal relationship is expected. In general, there is growing concordance between empirical patterns and theoretical predictions for some effects of habitat connectivity on food webs, but many predictions remain to be tested over a full connectivity gradient, and empirical metrics of complexity are rarely modeled. Closing these gaps will allow a deeper understanding of how natural and anthropogenic changes in connectivity can affect real food webs.

  4. Establishment of trophic continuum in the food web of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea ecosystem: insight from carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes.

    PubMed

    Cai, Deling; Li, Hongyan; Tang, Qisheng; Sun, Yao

    2005-12-01

    Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (delta (13)C and delta (15)N) are used to study the trophic structure of food web in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea ecosystem. The trophic continuum of pelagic food web from phytoplankton to top preyer was elementarily established, and a trophic structure diagram in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea was outlined in combination with carbon isotopic data of benthic organisms, which is basically consistent with and makes some improvements on the simplified Yellow Sea food web and the trophic structure diagram drawn based on the biomass of main resource population during 1985-1986. This result indicates that the stable isotope method is a potential useful means for further studying the complete marine food web trophic continuum from viruses to top predators and food web stability.

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. Thraustochytrids, a neglected component of organic matter decomposition and food webs in marine sediments.

    PubMed

    Bongiorni, Lucia

    2012-01-01

    Decomposition of organic matter in marine sediments is a critical step influencing oxygen and carbon fluxes. In addition to heterotrophic bacteria and fungi, osmoheterotrophic protists may contribute to this process, but the extent of their role as decomposers is still unknown. Among saprophytic protists, the thraustochytrids have been isolated from different habitats and substrates. Recently, they have been reported to be particularly abundant in marine sediments characterized by the presence of recalcitrant organic matter such as seagrass and mangrove detritus where they can reach biomass comparable to those of other protists and bacteria. In addition, their capacity to produce a wide spectrum of enzymes suggests a substantial role of thraustochytrids in sedimentary organic decomposition. Moreover, thraustochytrids may represent a food source for several benthic microorganisms and animals and may be involved in the upgrading of nutrient-poor organic detritus. This chapter presents an overview on studies of thraustochytrids in benthic ecosystems and discusses future prospectives and possible methods to quantify their role in benthic food webs.

  8. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs.

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-22

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Following the flow of ornithogenic nutrients through the Arctic marine coastal food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zmudczyńska-Skarbek, Katarzyna; Balazy, Piotr

    2017-04-01

    Arctic colonial seabirds are recognized as effective fertilizers of terrestrial ecosystems by delivering marine-origin nutrients to the vicinities of their nesting sites. A proportion of this ornithogenic matter is then thought to return to the sea and, concentrated within a smaller area, locally provides additional nutrients for the nearshore marine communities. The aim of this study was to assess the presence and impact of local ornithogenic enrichment on two important elements of the Arctic coastal food web: (1) the planktonic pathway originating in the surface water, and (2) the benthic pathway based on benthic primary production. We sampled two areas in Isfjorden (Spitsbergen): one located below a coastal mixed breeding colony of guillemots and kittiwakes, and a control area not influenced by the colony. Slightly higher nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ15N) were found in particulate organic matter suspended in the surface water (POM), sedimentary organic matter (SOM) from outside the zone of dense kelp forest, and the predatory/scavenging whelks Buccinum sp. collected below the seabird colony (the components recognized as following the planktonic path). In contrast, no ornithogenic isotopic enrichment was detected in the herbivorous gastropod Margarites helicinus or in SOM from the kelp zone (benthic path). The data are compatible with those obtained from the same location a year before, showing δ15N enrichment in predatory/scavenging hermit crabs Pagurus pubescens below the seabird, and no such changes in kelps Saccharina latissima or their presumed consumers, sea urchins Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (Zmudczyńska-Skarbek et al., 2015a). The results suggest that, in the conditions of periodic, short-term pulses of ornithogenic nutrient inputs to the local marine environment, which typify the short High Arctic summer, planktonic organisms are the initial organisms to incorporate these nutrients before transfer to the benthic food web via pelagic-benthic

  11. River food web response to large-scale riparian zone manipulations.

    PubMed

    Wootton, J Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks.

  12. River Food Web Response to Large-Scale Riparian Zone Manipulations

    PubMed Central

    Wootton, J. Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks. PMID:23284786

  13. Soil food web changes during spontaneous succession at post mining sites: a possible ecosystem engineering effect on food web organization?

    PubMed

    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.

  14. Differential bioaccumulation of potentially toxic elements in benthic and pelagic food chains in Lake Baikal.

    PubMed

    Ciesielski, Tomasz M; Pastukhov, Mikhail V; Leeves, Sara A; Farkas, Julia; Lierhagen, Syverin; Poletaeva, Vera I; Jenssen, Bjørn M

    2016-08-01

    Lake Baikal is located in eastern Siberia in the center of a vast mountain region. Even though the lake is regarded as a unique and pristine ecosystem, there are existing sources of anthropogenic pollution to the lake. In this study, the concentrations of the potentially toxic trace elements As, Cd, Pb, Hg, and Se were analyzed in water, plankton, invertebrates, and fish from riverine and pelagic influenced sites in Lake Baikal. Concentrations of Cd, Hg, Pb and Se in Lake Baikal water and biota were low, while concentrations of As were similar or slightly higher compared to in other freshwater ecosystems. The bioaccumulation potential of the trace elements in both the pelagic and the benthic ecosystems differed between the Selenga Shallows (riverine influence) and the Listvenichnyĭ Bay (pelagic influence). Despite the one order of magnitude higher water concentrations of Pb in the Selenga Shallows, Pb concentrations were significantly higher in both pelagic and benthic fish from the Listvenichnyĭ Bay. A similar trend was observed for Cd, Hg, and Se. The identified enhanced bioavailability of contaminants in the pelagic influenced Listvenichnyĭ Bay may be attributed to a lower abundance of natural ligands for contaminant complexation. Hg was found to biomagnify in both benthic and pelagic Baikal food chains, while As, Cd, and Pb were biodiluted. At both locations, Hg concentrations were around seven times higher in benthic than in pelagic fish, while pelagic fish had two times higher As concentrations compared to benthic fish. The calculated Se/Hg molar ratios revealed that, even though Lake Baikal is located in a Se-deficient region, Se is still present in excess over Hg and therefore the probability of Hg induced toxicity in the endemic fish species of Lake Baikal is assumed to be low.

  15. Food web structure in a harsh glacier-fed river.

    PubMed

    Clitherow, Leonie R; Carrivick, Jonathan L; Brown, Lee E

    2013-01-01

    Glacier retreat is occurring across the world, and associated river ecosystems are expected to respond more rapidly than those in flowing waters in other regions. The river environment directly downstream of a glacier snout is characterised by extreme low water temperature and unstable channel sediments but these habitats may become rarer with widespread glacier retreat. In these extreme environments food web dynamics have been little studied, yet they could offer opportunities to test food web theories using highly resolved food webs owing to their low taxonomic richness. This study examined the interactions of macroinvertebrate and diatom taxa in the Ödenwinkelkees river, Austrian central Alps between 2006 and 2011. The webs were characterised by low taxon richness (13-22), highly connected individuals (directed connectance up to 0.19) and short mean food chain length (2.00-2.36). The dominant macroinvertebrates were members of the Chironomidae genus Diamesa and had an omnivorous diet rich in detritus and diatoms as well as other Chironomidae. Simuliidae (typically detritivorous filterers) had a diet rich in diatoms but also showed evidence of predation on Chironomidae larvae. Food webs showed strong species-averaged and individual size structuring but mass-abundance scaling coefficients were larger than those predicted by metabolic theory, perhaps due to a combination of spatial averaging effects of patchily distributed consumers and resources, and/or consumers deriving unquantified resources from microorganisms attached to the large amounts of ingested rock fragments. Comparison of food web structural metrics with those from 62 published river webs suggest these glacier-fed river food web properties were extreme but in line with general food web scaling predictions, a finding which could prove useful to forecast the effects of anticipated future glacier retreat on the structure of aquatic food webs.

  16. Food-web dynamics in a large river discontinuum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

  17. Effects of terrestrial input on macrobenthic food webs of coastal sea are detected by stable isotope analysis in Gaeta Gulf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Careddu, Giulio; Costantini, Maria Letizia; Calizza, Edoardo; Carlino, Pasquale; Bentivoglio, Flavia; Orlandi, Lucia; Rossi, Loreto

    2015-03-01

    Stable isotope analysis (SIA) of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) was used to analyse the macrobenthic food web dynamics in the Gulf of Gaeta (Tyrrhenian sea, Central Italy) under the influence of discharge from the river Garigliano. Specimens of macrobenthic invertebrates and organic matter (Phytoplankton, detritus and Sediment Organic Matter, SOM) were sampled in eight subtidal sampling sites in the Gulf and subjected to SIA. Bayesian Stable Isotope Mixing Models were used to quantify the proportional contribution of each basal resource to macrobenthic primary consumer diets. The food web topology of each sampling site was also reconstructed and the key food web metrics (connectance, linkage density, mean chain length) were calculated in order to detect potential effects of the river plume at all trophic levels. The δ13C signatures of basal resources indicated that bulk organic matter in the Gulf has two main inputs: a) autochthonous, derived from marine primary producers (phytoplankton, seagrass detritus), predominant in the northern part of the Gulf, far from the river mouth, and b) allochthonus, derived from inputs of terrigenous detritus, predominant in the southern part, near the mouth of the river Garigliano. A spatial transition was observed in the main component of primary consumer diets, from phytoplankton (north-western sampling sites) to allochthonous detritus (south-eastern sampling sites), with important influences on the structure of the food webs. Approaching the river mouth we also observed a simplification of network topology in terms of a decrease in the number of species, linkage density and mean food web chain length. Our study provides insight into coastal benthic food web and ecosystem functioning as influenced by river mouths, with particular emphasis on the linkages between pelagic-benthic and terrestrial systems, even on the local scale.

  18. Changes in fish diets and food web mercury bioaccumulation induced by an invasive planktivorous fish

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Suchanek, Thomas H.; Colwell, Arthur E.; Anderson, Norman L.; Moyle, Peter B.

    2008-01-01

    The invasion, boom, collapse, and reestablishment of a population of the planktivorous threadfin shad in Clear Lake, California, USA, were documented over a 20-year period, as were the effects of changing shad populations on diet and mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in nearshore fishes. Threadfin shad competitively displaced other planktivorous fish in the lake, such as inland silversides, young-of-year (YOY) largemouth bass, and YOY bluegill, by reducing zooplankton abundance. As a result, all three species shifted from a diet that was dominated by zooplankton to one that was almost entirely zoobenthos. Stable carbon isotopes corroborated this pattern with each species becoming enriched in δ13C, which is elevated in benthic vs. pelagic organisms. Concomitant with these changes, Hg concentrations increased by ∼50% in all three species. In contrast, obligate benthivores such as prickly sculpin showed no relationship between diet or δ13C and the presence of threadfin shad, suggesting that effects of the shad were not strongly linked to the benthic fish community. There were also no changes in Hg concentrations of prickly sculpin. The temporary extirpation of threadfin shad from the lake resulted in zooplankton densities, foraging patterns, isotope ratios, and Hg concentrations in pelagic fishes returning to pre-shad values. These results indicate that even transient perturbations of the structure of freshwater food webs can result in significant alterations in the bioaccumulation of Hg and that food webs in lakes can be highly resilient.

  19. 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.

  20. River and Wetland Food Webs in Australia's Wet-Dry Tropics: General Principles and Implications for Management.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Douglas, M. M.; Bunn, S. E.; Davies, P. M.

    2005-05-01

    The tropical rivers of northern Australia are internationally recognised for their high ecological and cultural values. They have largely unmodified flow regimes and are comparatively free of the impacts associated with intensive land use. However, there is growing demand for agricultural development and existing pressures, such as weeds and feral animals, threaten their ecological integrity. Using the international literature to provide a conceptual framework and drawing on limited published and unpublished data on rivers in northern Australia, we have derived five general principles about food webs and related ecosystem processes that both characterise tropical rivers of northern Australia and have important implications for their management. These are: (1) Seasonal hydrology is a strong driver of ecosystem processes and food web structure; (2) Hydrological connectivity is largely intact and underpins important terrestrial-aquatic food web subsidies; (3) River and wetland food webs are strongly dependent on algal production; (4) A few common macroconsumers species have a strong influence on benthic food webs; (5) Omnivory is widespread and food chains are short. These principles have implications for the management and protection of tropical rivers and wetlands of northern Australia and provide a framework for the formation of testable hypotheses in future research programs.

  1. Food web structure in exotic and native mangroves: A Hawaii-Puerto Rico comparison

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Demopoulos, A.W.J.; Fry, B.; Smith, C.R.

    2007-01-01

    Plant invasions can fundamentally alter detrital inputs and the structure of detritus-based food webs. We examined the detrital pathways in mangrove food webs in native (Puerto Rican) and introduced (Hawaiian) Rhizophora mangle forests using a dual isotope approach and a mixing model. Based on trophic-level fractionation of 0-1??? for ?? 13C and 2-3??? for ?? 15N, among the invertebrates, only nematodes, oligochaetes, and nereid polychaetes from native mangroves exhibited stable isotopes consistent with a mangrove-derived diet. Certain fauna, in particular tubificid oligochaetes, had ?? 13C values consistent with the consumption of mangrove leaves, but they were depleted in 15N, suggesting their primary nitrogen source was low in 15N, and was possibly N 2-fixing bacteria. In introduced mangroves, all feeding groups appeared to rely heavily on non-mangrove sources, especially phytoplankton inputs. Mixing model results and discriminant analysis showed clear separation of introduced and native mangrove sites based on differential food source utilization within feeding groups, with stronger and more diverse use of benthic foods observed in native forests. Observed differences between native and invasive mangrove food webs may be due to Hawaiian detritivores being poorly adapted to utilizing the tannin-rich, nitrogen-poor mangrove detritus. In addition, differential utilization of mangrove detritus between native and introduced mangroves may be a consequence of forest age. We postulate that increasing mangrove forest age may promote diversification of bacterial food webs important in N and S cycling. Our results also suggest a potentially important role for sulfur bacteria in supporting the most abundant infaunal consumers, nematodes, in the most mature systems. ?? 2007 Springer-Verlag.

  2. Tracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Kelton W; Thorrold, Simon R; Houghton, Leah A; Berumen, Michael L

    2016-03-01

    Coral reefs support spectacularly productive and diverse communities in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world's oceans. Debate continues, however, on the degree to which reef biomass is supported by new water column production, benthic primary production, and recycled detrital carbon (C). We coupled compound-specific stable C isotope ratio (δ(13)C) analyses with Bayesian mixing models to quantify C flow from primary producers to coral reef fishes across multiple feeding guilds and trophic positions in the Red Sea. Analyses of reef fishes with putative diets composed primarily of zooplankton (Amblyglyphidodon indicus), benthic macroalgae (Stegastes nigricans), reef-associated detritus (Ctenochaetus striatus), and coral tissue (Chaetodon trifascialis) confirmed that δ(13)C values of essential amino acids from all baseline C sources were both isotopically diagnostic and accurately recorded in consumer tissues. While all four source end-members contributed to the production of coral reef fishes in our study, a single-source end-member often dominated dietary C assimilation of a given species, even for highly mobile, generalist top predators. Microbially reworked detritus was an important secondary C source for most species. Seascape configuration played an important role in structuring resource utilization patterns. For instance, Lutjanus ehrenbergii showed a significant shift from a benthic macroalgal food web on shelf reefs (71 ± 13 % of dietary C) to a phytoplankton-based food web (72 ± 11 %) on oceanic reefs. Our work provides insights into the roles that diverse C sources play in the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems and illustrates a powerful fingerprinting method to develop and test nutritional frameworks for understanding resource utilization.

  3. 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.

  4. Transfer of radiocaesium from contaminated bottom sediments to marine organisms through benthic food chains in post-Fukushima and post-Chernobyl periods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bezhenar, Roman; Jung, Kyung Tae; Maderich, Vladimir; Willemsen, Stefan; de With, Govert; Qiao, Fangli

    2016-05-01

    ) is close to the observed decrease constant in sediments (0.44 yr-1). These results strongly indicate that the gradual decrease of activity in demersal fish (decrease constant is 0.46 yr-1) is caused by the transfer of activity from organic matter deposited in bottom sediment through the deposit-feeding invertebrates. The estimated model transfer coefficient from bulk sediment to demersal fish in the model for 2012-2020 (0.13) is larger than that to the deposit-feeding invertebrates (0.07). In addition, the transfer of 137Cs through food webs for the period of 1945-2020 has been modelled for the Baltic Sea contaminated due to global fallout and from the Chernobyl accident. The model simulation results obtained with generic parameters are also in good agreement with available measurements in the Baltic Sea. Unlike the open coastal system where the FDNPP is located, the dynamics of radionuclide transfer in the Baltic Sea reach a quasi-steady state due to the slow rate in water mass exchange in this semi-enclosed basin. Obtained results indicate a substantial contribution of the benthic food chain in the long-term transfer of 137Cs from contaminated bottom sediments to marine organisms and the potential application of a generic model in different regions of the world's oceans.

  5. Stable isotope ratios reveal food source of benthic fish and crustaceans along a gradient of trophic status in the East China Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Ni-Na; Shiao, Jen-Chieh; Gong, Gwo-Ching; Kao, Shuh-Ji; Hsieh, Chih-hao

    2014-08-01

    The East China Sea (ECS) receives large quantities of particulate organic matter (POM) and inorganic nutrients transported from the Changjiang (Yangtze River), which have produced high productivity in the northwestern ECS. This study evaluated potential contributions of terrigenous POM (allochthonous food source) and nutrient-induced marine production (autochthonous source) to the ECS benthic ecosystem by analyzing stable isotopic compositions of phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthic crustaceans and fish. Benthic consumers exhibited δ13C values similar to those of their autochthonous food sources (i.e., phytoplankton and zooplankton), revealing their major reliance on marine production. In contrast, the δ13C values of benthic fish (-19.6‰ to -13.5‰) and crustaceans (-18.9‰ to -15.0‰) were much higher than that of terrigenous POM (-25.7‰), which generally accounted for less than 20% of the most fish diet. Phytoplankton and zooplankton generally exhibited higher δ13C values at eutrophic and highly productive inshore sites than at oligotrophic offshore sites. This enrichment of inshore δ13C values was mainly attributed to lower photosynthetic fractionation during algal blooms, an effect that was further enhanced during flood period of the Changjiang. The δ13C values of demersal fish assemblages were also significantly higher at inshore sites and decreased seaward. However, fish δ15N values and their estimated trophic levels showed relatively small spatial variation. The disproportionate variations in δ13C and δ15N values suggested that the enriched C isotopic signatures derived from an elevated δ13C baseline of the inshore food web instead of trophic enrichment of the isotopic ratios. The significantly positive correlations between concentrations of chlorophyll a and nutrients versus fish δ13C provided further evidence for the use of pelagic algal bloom materials by inshore consumers. The isotopic and oceanographic survey data suggested that

  6. Pathways of organic matter through food webs of diverse habitats in the regulated Nakdong River estuary (Korea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choy, Eun Jung; An, Soonmo; Kang, Chang-Keun

    2008-06-01

    The benthic macroinvertebrates of the Nakdong River estuary were sampled at three different habitats: two salt marsh ( Scirpus triqueter and Phragmites australis) beds and a bare intertidal flat. Fishes were sampled in the main channel. The trophic importance of marsh vascular plants, microphytobenthos, and riverine and channel particulate organic matter to macroinvertebrate and fish production was studied using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope tracers. There was a dramatic change in coverage of macrophytes (salt marshes and seagrass) after the construction of an estuarine barrage in 1987 in the Nakdong River estuary, with the S. triqueter bed increasing, the P. australis bed decreasing, and Zostera marina habitats being nearly lost. Although the invertebrate δ 13C were within a narrower range than those of the primary producers, the values varied considerably among consumers in these habitats. However, the isotope signatures of consumers showed similarities among different habitats. Cluster analysis based on their isotopic similarity suggested that the isotope variability among species was related more to functional feeding groups than to habitats or taxonomic groups. While δ 13C values of suspension feeders were close to that of the channel POM (mainly phytoplankton), other benthic feeders and predators had δ 13C similar to that of microphytobenthos. Isotopic mixing model estimates suggest that algal sources, including microphytobenthos and phytoplankton, play an important role in supporting the benthic food web. Despite the huge productivity of emergent salt marshes, the contribution of the marsh-derived organic matter to the estuarine food webs appears to be limited to some nutrition for some invertebrates just within marsh habitats, with little on the bare intertidal flats or in the channel fish communities. Isotope signatures of the channel fishes also confirm that algal sources are important in supporting fish nutrition. Our findings suggest that

  7. The significance of linoleic acid in food sources for detritivorous benthic invertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Vonk, J. Arie; van Kuijk, Bernd F.; van Beusekom, Mick; Hunting, Ellard R.; Kraak, Michiel H. S.

    2016-01-01

    Chemical composition of organic matter (OM) is a key driver for detritus consumption by macroinvertebrates and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content is considered a candidate indicator of food palatability. Since traditionally used complex natural OM covaries in many quality attributes, it remains uncertain whether benthic invertebrates developed an actual preference for PUFA-rich food. Therefore we aimed to test the influence of the PUFA linoleic acid on OM consumption by aquatic macroinvertebrates using standardized surrogate substrates (decomposition and consumption tablet, DECOTAB) with added linoleic acid (PUFA) in comparison to consumption of DECOTAB containing only cellulose (Standard) or ground macrophytes (Plant). In microcosms, we observed a higher consumption rate of PUFA DECOTAB in comparison to Standard DECOTAB in two functionally distinct invertebrate species (Lumbriculus variegatus and Asellus aquaticus). This effect appeared to be overruled in the field due to unknown sources of natural variation. Although we observed higher consumption rates in species-rich ditches compared to species-poor ditches, consumption rates were comparable for all three types of DECOTAB deployed. Upon reduced food quality and palatability, results presented here hint that PUFA like linoleic acid may be a key OM attribute driving the performance of benthic macroinvertebrates and inherent functioning of aquatic ecosystems. PMID:27767068

  8. Trophic transfer of dechloranes in the marine food web of Liaodong Bay, north China.

    PubMed

    Peng, Hui; Wan, Yi; Zhang, Kun; Sun, Jianxian; Hu, Jianying

    2014-05-20

    Dechloranes are of particular concern because of their ubiquity in environmental matrices, but little is known about their trophic transfer in aquatic food web. This study investigated the trophic transfer of seven dechloranes in a marine food web from Liaodong Bay, China. Dechloranes were determined in sediments and 15 marine species including benthic invertebrates, fish and gulls collected from Liaodong Bay. Biomagnification factors (BMFTL) of dechloranes in black-headed gulls were calculated to be 6.4, 1.7, 0.45, 0.36, 0.14, and 0.11 for mirex, Dechlorane 602 (Dec 602), Dechlorane 603 (Dec 603), antiundecachloropentacyclooctadecadiene (anti-Cl11DP), syn-dechlorane plus (syn-DP), and anti-DP. Significantly positive relationships were found between lipid equivalent concentrations of mirex, Dec 602, and anti-Cl11DP and trophic levels, and the trophic magnification factors (TMFs) were 13, 3.7, and 5.6, respectively, indicating that these compounds undergo trophic magnification in the aquatic food web. Lipid equivalent concentrations of Dec 603 and DP isomers did not exhibit a statistically significant correlation with trophic levels. The relatively low trophic magnification potentials of Dec 603 and DP isomers were possibly due to their extreme hydrophobicity (logKOW: 11.2-11.3) and subsequent low bioavailabilities compared with mirex (7.0), Dec 602 (8.1) and anti-Cl11DP. The results provided important information for understanding the ecological risk of dechloranes.

  9. Antibiotic Pollution in Marine Food Webs in Laizhou Bay, North China: Trophodynamics and Human Exposure Implication.

    PubMed

    Liu, Sisi; Zhao, Hongxia; Lehmler, Hans-Joachim; Cai, Xiyun; Chen, Jingwen

    2017-02-21

    Little information is available about the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of antibiotics in marine food webs. Here, we investigate the levels and trophic transfer of 9 sulfonamide (SA), 5 fluoroquinolone (FQ), and 4 macrolide (ML) antibiotics, as well as trimethoprim in nine invertebrate and ten fish species collected from a marine food web in Laizhou Bay, North China in 2014 and 2015. All the antibiotics were detected in the marine organisms, with SAs and FQs being the most abundant antibiotics. Benthic fish accumulated more SAs than invertebrates and pelagic fish, while invertebrates exhibited higher FQ levels than fish. Generally, SAs and trimethoprim biomagnified in the food web, while the FQs and MLs were biodiluted. Trophic magnification factors (TMF) were 1.2-3.9 for SAs and trimethoprim, 0.3-1.0 for FQs and MLs. Limited biotransformation and relatively high assimilation efficiencies are the likely reasons for the biomagnification of SAs. The pH dependent distribution coefficients (log D) but not the lipophilicity (log KOW) of SAs and FQs had a significant correlation (r = 0.73; p < 0.05) with their TMFs. Although the calculated estimated daily intakes (EDI) for antibiotics suggest that consumption of seafood from Laizhou Bay is not associated with significant human health risks, this study provides important insights into the guidance of risk management of antibiotics.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. Food webs: reconciling the structure and function of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Ross M; Brose, Ulrich; Dunne, Jennifer A; Hall, Robert O; Hladyz, Sally; Kitching, Roger L; Martinez, Neo D; Rantala, Heidi; Romanuk, Tamara N; Stouffer, Daniel B; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2012-12-01

    The global biodiversity crisis concerns not only unprecedented loss of species within communities, but also related consequences for ecosystem function. Community ecology focuses on patterns of species richness and community composition, whereas ecosystem ecology focuses on fluxes of energy and materials. Food webs provide a quantitative framework to combine these approaches and unify the study of biodiversity and ecosystem function. We summarise the progression of food-web ecology and the challenges in using the food-web approach. We identify five areas of research where these advances can continue, and be applied to global challenges. Finally, we describe what data are needed in the next generation of food-web studies to reconcile the structure and function of biodiversity.

  14. 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

  15. Barcoding a quantified food web: crypsis, concepts, ecology and hypotheses.

    PubMed

    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 budworm

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Inducible defenses in food webs: Chapter 3.4

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vos, Matthijs; Kooi, Bob W.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.; de Ruiter, Peter; Wolters, Volkmar; Moore, John C.; Melville-Smith, Kimberly

    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.

  19. 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

  20. Mercury and selenium in the food web of Lake Nahuel Huapi, Patagonia, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Arcagni, Marina; Rizzo, Andrea; Juncos, Romina; Pavlin, Majda; Campbell, Linda M; Arribére, María A; Horvat, Milena; Ribeiro Guevara, Sergio

    2017-01-01

    Despite located far from point sources of Hg pollution, high concentrations were recorded in plankton from the deep oligotrophic Lake Nahuel Huapi, located in North Patagonia. Native and introduced top predator fish with differing feeding habits are a valuable economic resource to the region. Hence, Hg and Se trophic interactions and pathways to these fish were assessed in the food web of this lake at three sites, using stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes. As expected based on the high THg in plankton, mercury did not biomagnify in the food web of Lake Nahuel Huapi, as most of the THg in plankton is in the inorganic form. As was observed in other aquatic systems, Se did not biomagnify either. When trophic pathways to top predator fish were analyzed, they showed that THg biomagnified in the food chains of native fish but biodiluted in the food chains of introduced salmonids. A more benthic diet, typical of native fish, resulted in higher [THg] bioaccumulation than a more pelagic or mixed diet, as in the case of introduced fish. Se:THg molar ratios were higher than 1 in all the fish species, indicating that Se might be offering a natural protection against Hg toxicity.

  1. Effects of anthropogenic nitrogen input on the aquatic food webs of river ecosystem in central Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ohte, N.; Togashi, H.; Tokuchi, N.; Yoshimura, M.; Kato, Y.; Ishikawa, N. F.; Osaka, K.; Kondo, M.; Tayasu, I.

    2014-12-01

    To evaluate the impact of the anthropogenic nitrogen input to the river ecosystem, we conducted the monitoring on nutrient status of river waters and food web structures of aquatic organisms. Especially, changes of sources and concentration of nitrate (NO3-) in river water were focused to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic nitrogen loadings from agricultural and residential areas. Stable nitrogen isotope ratio (δ15N) of aquatic organisms has also intensively been monitored not only to describe their food web structure, but also to detect the influences of extraneous nitrogen inputs. Field samplings an observation campaigns were conducted in the Arida river watershed located in central part of Japan at four different seasons from September 2011 to October 2012. Five observation points were set from headwaters to the point just above the brackish waters starts. Water samples for chemical analysis were taken at the observation points for each campaign. Organisms including leaf litters, benthic algae, aquatic insects, crustacean, and fishes were sampled at each point quantitatively. Results of the riverine survey utilizing 5 regular sampling points showed that δ15N of nitrate (NO3-) increased from forested upstream (˜2 ‰) to the downstream (˜7 ‰) due to the sewage loads and fertilizer effluents from agricultural area. Correspondingly the δ15N of benthic algae and aquatic insects increased toward the downstream. This indicates that primary producers of each reach strongly relied on the local N sources and it was utilized effectively in their food web. Simulation using a GIS based mixing model considering the spatial distributions of human population density and fertilizer effluents revealed that strongest impacts of N inputs was originated from organic fertilizers applied to orchards in the middle to lower parts of catchment. Differences in δ15N between primary producers and predators were 6-7 ‰ similarly at all sampling points. Food web structural

  2. Sources and transfer of organic matter in food webs of a Mediterranean coastal environment: Evidence for spatial variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vizzini, Salvatrice; Mazzola, Antonio

    2006-02-01

    The spatial variability in the food web structure of a Mediterranean semi-enclosed coastal environment (Stagnone di Marsala, Italy) was investigated using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Organic matter sources and consumers were sampled in two locations with different environmental features (e.g. hydrodynamic regime, open-sea influence, vegetal coverage). Overall more 13C-enriched and 15N-depleted values were found in the central location than in the southern for organic matter sources and consumers. Pelagic consumers (zooplankton and juveniles of transient fish) showed slight spatial differences and in both locations seemed to depend on phytoplankton as the ultimate energy source. In contrast, benthic consumers (epifauna and resident fish) exhibited remarkable differences between locations. Spatial differences in organic matter sources were smaller than in benthic consumers and thus consumers presumably exploited different ultimate organic matter sources in the two locations. Sedimentary organic matter and epiphytes appeared to be the main primary producers transferred within the food web in both locations, and seagrasses seemed to play a non-negligible trophic role in the central location. The results of this paper corroborate the finding food webs are characterised by high spatial variability even on a small spatial scale and environmental heterogeneity more than primary production that seems to influence the trophic role of autotrophs.

  3. Mud, Macrofauna and Microbes: An ode to benthic organism-abiotic interactions at varying scales

    EPA Science Inventory

    Benthic environments are dynamic habitats, subject to variable sources and rates of sediment delivery, reworking from the abiotic and biotic processes, and complex biogeochemistry. These activities do not occur in a vacuum, and interact synergistically to influence food webs, bi...

  4. 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

  5. Effects of zebra mussels on food webs: Interactions with juvenile bluegill and water residence time

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Richardson, W.B.; Bartsch, L.A.

    1997-01-01

    We evaluated how water residence time mediated the impact of zebra mussels Dreissena polymorpha and bluegill sunfish Lepomis macrochirus on experimental food webs established in 1100-1 outdoor mesocosms. Water residence time was manipulated as a surrogate for seston resupply - a critical variable affecting growth and survival of suspension-feeding invertebrates. We used a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experimental design with eight treatment combinations (3 replicates/treatment) including the presence or absence of Dreissena (2000 per m2), juvenile bluegill (40 per mesocosm), and short (1100 1 per d) or long (220 1 per d) water residence time. Measures of seston concentration (chlorophyll a, turbidity and suspended solids) were greater in the short- compared to long water-residence mesocosms, but intermediate in short water-residence mesocosms containing Dreissena. Abundance of rotifers (Keratella and Polyarthra) was reduced in Dreissena mesocosms and elevated in short residence time mesocosms. Cladocera abundance, in general, was unaffected by the presence of Dreissena; densities were higher in short-residence time mesocosms, and reduced in the presence of Lepomis. The growth of juvenile Lepomis were unaffected by Dreissena because of abundant benthic food. The final total mass of Dreissena was significantly greater in short- than long-residence mesocosms. Impacts of Dreissena on planktonic food webs may not only depend on the density of zebra mussels but also on the residence time of the surrounding water and the resupply of seston. ?? 1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. When do evolutionary food web models generate complex networks?

    PubMed

    Allhoff, Korinna T; Drossel, Barbara

    2013-10-07

    Evolutionary foodweb models are used to build food webs by the repeated addition of new species. Population dynamics leads to the extinction or establishment of a newly added species, and possibly to the extinction of other species. The food web structure that emerges after some time is a highly nontrivial result of the evolutionary and dynamical rules. We investigate the evolutionary food web model introduced by Loeuille and Loreau (2005), which characterizes species by their body mass as the only evolving trait. Our goal is to find the reasons behind the model's remarkable robustness and its capability to generate various and stable networks. In contrast to other evolutionary food web models, this model requires neither adaptive foraging nor allometric scaling of metabolic rates with body mass in order to produce complex networks that do not eventually collapse to trivial structures. Our study shows that this is essentially due to the fact that the difference in niche value between predator and prey as well as the feeding range are constrained so that they remain within narrow limits under evolution. Furthermore, competition between similar species is sufficiently strong, so that a trophic level can accommodate several species. We discuss the implications of these findings and argue that the conditions that stabilize other evolutionary food web models have similar effects because they also prevent the occurrence of extreme specialists or extreme generalists that have in general a higher fitness than species with a moderate niche width.

  9. Key features of intertidal food webs that support migratory shorebirds.

    PubMed

    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.

  10. 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

  11. Trophic connectivity between offshore upwelling and the inshore food web of Banc d'Arguin (Mauritania): New insights from isotopic analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carlier, Antoine; Chauvaud, Laurent; van der Geest, Matthijs; Le Loc'h, François; Le Duff, Michel; Vernet, Marc; Raffray, Jean; Diakhaté, Djibril; Labrosse, Pierre; Wagué, Abdoulaye; Le Goff, Clément; Gohin, Francis; Chapron, Bertrand; Clavier, Jacques

    2015-11-01

    Banc d'Arguin (BA), Mauritania, is a nationally protected shallow gulf > 10,000 km2 between the Sahara desert and the upwelling system off the Mauritanian coast. In the southeast, BA consists of a 500 km2 tidal flat, the most important wintering site for shorebirds using the East Atlantic Flyway. The Mauritanian upwelling-driven phytoplankton production supports the most productive fisheries worldwide, but little is known about its trophic role in the functioning of the inshore BA food web. Using stable isotopes as trophic tracers to distinguish between upwelling-driven phytoplankton, open ocean phytoplankton, and benthic primary producers, we assessed the spatial extent to which the inshore BA food web is fuelled by upwelling-driven phytoplankton production. The δ13C and δ15N signals were characterized in dominant primary producers, benthic invertebrate taxa, and various fish species along an offshore-inshore (northwest-southeast) gradient. We also monitored the spatial and temporal extent of upwelling entering BA during 2008 with remote sensing of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll a data. The results suggest that benthic invertebrates and fishes living in the northwestern part of BA depend on the nearby upwelling phytoplankton production, but this food source does not support the intertidal benthic community in southeast BA. Furthermore, the isotopic signatures of fishes suggest weak trophic connectivity between the northern subtidal and southeastern intertidal BA. Our results support the hypothesis that the southeastern tidal flat region functions as a distinct ecosystem with a food web supported mainly by local benthic primary production, which is crucial knowledge for effective management of the pristine BA national park.

  12. Bioaccumulation and Toxicity of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes to Benthic Organisms at the Base of the Marine Food Chain

    EPA Science Inventory

    As the use of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) increases over time, so does the potential for environmental release. This research aimed to determine the toxicity, bioavailability, and bioaccumulation of SWNTs in marine benthic organisms at the base of the food chain. The t...

  13. Isotopic distribution of carbon from sewage sludge and eutrophication in the sediments and food web of estuarine ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Gearing, P.J.; Gearing, J.N.; Maughan, J.T.; Oviatt, C.A. )

    1991-02-01

    Stable isotope ratios ({delta}{sup 13}C) from samples of water, sediments, and biota traced the behavior of organic carbon for 3 summer months in estuarine mesocosms (three controls, three with added sewage sludge, three with added inorganic nutrients). Isotope ratios proved to be a useful quantitative tracer for sewage carbon as well as for the fresh phytoplanktonic carbon produced during nutrient fertilization. Sewage sludge sedimented within hours of its addition, and approximately 50% remained in sediments after 99 days. The sludge was not inert, but was biologically oxidized at rates similar to those of phytoplankton carbon. Its residence time in the water column was too short for uptake by zooplankton, but it was readily assimilated by some benthic organisms. Fresh phytoplanktonic carbon from nutrient-induced blooms was isotopically heavy and thus distinguishable from old primary production (fixed before the experiment). It flowed through the pelagic and benthic food webs more extensively and more uniformly than did sludge carbon.

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-10

    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.

  16. Stability in Real Food Webs: Weak Links in Long Loops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neutel, Anje-Margriet; Heesterbeek, Johan A. P.; de Ruiter, Peter C.

    2002-05-01

    Increasing evidence that the strengths of interactions among populations in biological communities form patterns that are crucial for system stability requires clarification of the precise form of these patterns, how they come about, and why they influence stability. We show that in real food webs, interaction strengths are organized in trophic loops in such a way that long loops contain relatively many weak links. We show and explain mathematically that this patterning enhances stability, because it reduces maximum ``loop weight'' and thus reduces the amount of intraspecific interaction needed for matrix stability. The patterns are brought about by biomass pyramids, a feature common to most ecosystems. Incorporation of biomass pyramids in 104 food-web descriptions reveals that the low weight of the long loops stabilizes complex food webs. Loop-weight analysis could be a useful tool for exploring the structure and organization of complex communities.

  17. 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.

  18. The interplay between population stability and food-web topology predicts the occurrence of motifs in complex food-webs.

    PubMed

    Monteiro, Angelo B; Faria, Lucas Del Bianco

    2016-11-21

    In this paper, we analyzed the occurrence of motifs (modules) in empirical food-webs from different ecosystem types. Differently from previous studies, our analysis did not relied on randomized networks with specific a priori assumptions, which has been demonstrated to produce inconsistent patterns. We aimed to evaluate the interplay between population dynamics and food-web topology, and its consequences to module occurrences in complex food-webs. We evaluated 13 arrangements of three-species modules and 199 arrangements of four-species modules. For each module, we assembled, a corresponding Jacobian predation matrix, and evaluated the arrangements expected to persist after a disturbance in the equilibrium of the populations dynamics (local stability). Our general results were that (1) a limited set of stable arrangements occurs most frequently; (2) the omnivory module is the only three-species module expected to occur both in the stable and unstable region; (3) connectance and omnivory affects the proportion of stable modules; and (4) the type of ecosystem influence the proportion of stable modules. Further, we demonstrated that food-web topology and population dynamics influenced module occurrences in natural communities; presented a function for the ways that local stability increases the probability of module occurrence; and highlighted the use of omnivory degree to access the effect of feeding at more than one trophic level on food-web stability.

  19. 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.

  20. A Biomass Flow Approach to Population Models and Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Getz, Wayne M.

    2011-01-01

    The dominant differential equation paradigm for modeling the population dynamics of species interacting in the framework of a food web retains at its core the basic prey-predator and competition models formulation by Alfred J. Lotka (1880–1945) and Vito Volterra (1860–1940) nearly nine decades ago. This paradigm lacks a trophic-level-independent formulation of population growth leading to ambiguities in how to treat populations that are simultaneously both prey and predator. Also, this paradigm does not fundamentally include inertial (i.e. change resisting) processes needed to account for the response of populations to fluctuating resource environments. Here I present an approach that corrects both these deficits and provides a unified framework for accounting for biomass transformation in food webs that include both live and dead components of all species in the system. This biomass transformation formulation (BTW) allows for a unified treatment of webs that include consumers of both live and dead material—both carnivores and carcasivores, herbivores and detritivores—and incorporates scavengers, parasites, and other neglected food web consumption categories in a coherent manner. I trace how BTW is an outgrowth of the metaphysiological growth modeling paradigm and I provide a general compact formulation of BTW in terms of a three-variable differential equation formulation for each species in the food web: viz. live biomass, dead biomass, and a food-intake-related measure called deficit-stress. I then illustrate the application of this new paradigm to provide insights into two-species competition in variable environments and discuss application of BTW to food webs that incorporate parasites and pathogens. PMID:27688596

  1. Egg boons: central components of marine fatty acid food webs.

    PubMed

    Fuiman, Lee A; Connelly, Tara L; Lowerre-Barbieri, Susan K; McClelland, James W

    2015-02-01

    Food web relationships are traditionally defined in terms of the flow of key elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and their role in limiting production. There is growing recognition that availability of important biomolecules, such as fatty acids, may exert controls on secondary production that are not easily explained by traditional element-oriented models. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required by most organisms for proper physiological function but are manufactured almost entirely by primary producers. Therefore, the flow of EFAs, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and arachidonic acid (ARA), through aquatic food webs is critical for ecosystem functioning. A meta-analysis of data on the EFA content of marine organisms reveals that individual eggs of marine animals have exceptionally high concentrations of EFAs, and that superabundances of eggs released in temporally and spatially discrete patches create rich, but temporary, nutritional resources for egg predators, called "egg boons." Mortality rates of fish eggs are disproportionately higher than animals of similar size, and those eggs are consumed by predators, both larger and smaller than the adults that produce the eggs. Thus, egg boons are a major trophic pathway through which EFAs are repackaged and redistributed, and they are among the few pathways that run counter to the main direction of trophic flow. Egg boons can transport EFAs across ecosystems through advection of patches of eggs and spawning migrations of adults. Recognizing the significance of egg boons to aquatic food webs reveals linkages and feedbacks between organisms and environments that have important implications for understanding how food webs vary in time and space. Examples are given of top-down, bottom-up, and lateral control mechanisms that could significantly alter food webs through their effects on eggs. Our results suggest that trophodynamic food web models should include EFAs

  2. A Biomass Flow Approach to Population Models and Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Getz, Wayne M

    2012-02-01

    The dominant differential equation paradigm for modeling the population dynamics of species interacting in the framework of a food web retains at its core the basic prey-predator and competition models formulation by Alfred J. Lotka (1880-1945) and Vito Volterra (1860-1940) nearly nine decades ago. This paradigm lacks a trophic-level-independent formulation of population growth leading to ambiguities in how to treat populations that are simultaneously both prey and predator. Also, this paradigm does not fundamentally include inertial (i.e. change resisting) processes needed to account for the response of populations to fluctuating resource environments. Here I present an approach that corrects both these deficits and provides a unified framework for accounting for biomass transformation in food webs that include both live and dead components of all species in the system. This biomass transformation formulation (BTW) allows for a unified treatment of webs that include consumers of both live and dead material-both carnivores and carcasivores, herbivores and detritivores-and incorporates scavengers, parasites, and other neglected food web consumption categories in a coherent manner. I trace how BTW is an outgrowth of the metaphysiological growth modeling paradigm and I provide a general compact formulation of BTW in terms of a three-variable differential equation formulation for each species in the food web: viz. live biomass, dead biomass, and a food-intake-related measure called deficit-stress. I then illustrate the application of this new paradigm to provide insights into two-species competition in variable environments and discuss application of BTW to food webs that incorporate parasites and pathogens.

  3. Food web structure and vulnerability of a deep-sea ecosystem in the NW Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tecchio, Samuele; Coll, Marta; Christensen, Villy; Company, Joan B.; Ramírez-Llodra, Eva; Sardà, Francisco

    2013-05-01

    There is increasing fishing pressure on the continental margins of the oceans, and this raises concerns about the vulnerability of the ecosystems thriving there. The current knowledge of the biology of deep-water fish species identifies potential reduced resilience to anthropogenic disturbance. However, there are extreme difficulties in sampling the deep sea, resulting in poorly resolved and indirectly obtained food-web relationships. Here, we modelled the flows and biomasses of a Mediterranean deep-sea ecosystem, the Catalan Sea continental slope at depths of 1000-1400 m. This is the first model of a deep-water ecosystem in the Mediterranean Sea. The objectives were to (a) quantitatively describe the food web structure of the ecosystem, (b) examine the role of key species in the ecosystem, and (c) explore the vulnerability of this deep-sea ecosystem to potential future fishing exploitation. We used the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) modelling approach and software to model the ecosystem. The trophic model included 18 consumers, a marine snow group, and a sediment detritus group. Trophic network analysis identified low levels of consumer biomass cycling and low system omnivory index when compared with expected values of marine ecosystems, and higher cycling and omnivory when compared with available EwE models of shallower areas of the Mediterranean Sea. The majority of flows in the ecosystem were concentrated at the trophic level of first-order consumers (TL 2). Benthic invertebrates and demersal sharks were identified to have key ecological roles in the ecosystem. We used the dynamic temporal model Ecosim to simulate expansion of the red-shrimp benthic trawl fishery that currently operates at shallower depths, down to 800 m depth. The simulations showed reductions in fish biomass and that the state of the deep continental slope ecosystem in the western Mediterranean seems to be the result of a long-term succession process, which has reached ecological stability, and is

  4. 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

  5. Press perturbations and indirect effects in real food webs.

    PubMed

    Montoya, José M; Woodward, Guy; Emmerson, Mark C; Solé, Ricard V

    2009-09-01

    The prediction of the effects of disturbances in natural systems is limited by the general lack of knowledge on the strength of species interactions, i.e., the effect of one species on the population growth rate of another, and by the uncertainty of the effects that may be manifested via indirect pathways within the food web. Here we explored the consequences of changes in species populations for the remaining species within nine exceptionally well-characterized empirical food webs, for which, unlike the vast majority of other published webs, feeding links have been fully quantified. Using the inverse of the Jacobian matrix, we found that perturbations to species with few connections have larger net effects (considering both direct and indirect pathways between two species) on the rest of the food web than do disturbances to species that are highly connected. For 40% of predator-prey links, predators had positive net effects on prey populations, due to the predominance of indirect interactions. Our results highlight the fundamental, but often counterintuitive, role of indirect effects for the maintenance of food web complexity and biodiversity.

  6. 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

  7. Seasonal pathways of organic matter within the Avilés submarine canyon: Food web implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Romero-Romero, Sonia; Molina-Ramírez, Axayacatl; Höfer, Juan; Duineveld, Gerard; Rumín-Caparrós, Aitor; Sanchez-Vidal, Anna; Canals, Miquel; Acuña, José Luis

    2016-11-01

    The transport and fate of organic matter (OM) sources within the Avilés submarine canyon (Cantabrian Sea, Southern Bay of Biscay) were studied using carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios. The isotopic composition of settling particles and deep bottom sediments closely resembled that of surface particulate OM, and there were no marked differences in the isotopic composition of settling particles inside and outside of the AC. This indicates that the Avilés Canyon (AC) receives inputs of sinking OM mostly from the upper water column and less through advective near-bottom down-canyon transport. Sinking OM fluxes are of marine and terrestrial origin in proportions which vary seasonally. Analysis of δ13C in the canyon fauna indicates a dependence on OM mainly produced by marine phytoplankton. A tight coupling of isotopic signatures between pelagic organisms and benthic suspension feeders reflects an active biological vertical transport of OM from the surface to the deep-sea. The food web presented seasonal variations in the trophic niche width and the amplitude of the primary carbon sources, reflecting seasonality in the availability of fresh particulate OM. Those seasonal changes are larger for benthic organisms of lower trophic levels.

  8. Free-Living Nematodes in the Freshwater Food Web: A Review

    PubMed Central

    Majdi, Nabil; Traunspurger, Walter

    2015-01-01

    Free-living nematodes are well-recognized as an abundant and ubiquitous component of benthic communities in inland waters. Compelling evidence from soil and marine ecosystems has highlighted the importance of nematodes as trophic intermediaries between microbial production and higher trophic levels. However, the paucity of empirical evidence of their role in freshwater ecosystems has hampered their inclusion in our understanding of freshwater food web functioning. This literature survey provides an overview of research efforts in the field of freshwater nematode ecology and of the complex trophic interactions between free-living nematodes and microbes, other meiofauna, macro-invertebrates, and fishes. Based on an analysis of the relevant literature and an appreciation of the potential of emerging approaches for the evaluation of nematode trophic ecology, we point out research gaps and recommend relevant directions for further research. The latter include (i) interactions of nematodes with protozoans and fungi; (ii) nonconsumptive effects of nematodes on microbial activity and the effects of nematodes on associated key ecosystem processes (decomposition, primary production); and (iii) the feeding selectivity and intraspecific feeding variability of nematodes and their potential impacts on the structure of benthic communities. PMID:25861114

  9. Predator richness has no effect in a diverse marine food web.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, Mary I; Bruno, John F

    2009-07-01

    1. In many ecosystems, predator abundance, composition and diversity vary naturally among seasons and habitats. In addition, predator assemblages are changing due to overharvesting, habitat destruction and species invasions. 2. Predator species composition and richness can influence prey community structure and these effects can cascade to influence plant abundance and composition. 3. To test the effects of predator presence, composition and species richness on prey abundance, species richness and composition, we conducted three experiments in a subtidal marine food web. Experimental food webs were drawn from species pools of 5-7 predator species, 19-52 prey species, benthic micro-algae and 5 macro-algae. 4. Predators reduced prey abundance in the mesocosm experiment, but this effect was diminished or absent in field experiments. Predator species differed in their effects on prey, but we found no effect of predator richness (via complementarity or selection) on any aspect of prey community structure. 5. The absence of a predator richness effect could be due to several factors including potentially opposing effects of individual predator species, intraguild predation, or greater importance of colonization relative to competition in structuring prey assemblages. Although predators can have strong top-down effects in this system, selection or resource-use complementarity among predators do not affect prey community structure.

  10. Role of chemical and ecological factors in trophic transfer of organic chemicals in aquatic food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Russell, R.W.; Gobas, F.A.P.C. . School of Resource and Environmental Management); Haffner, G.D. )

    1999-06-01

    Trophic transfer of chlorinated organic contaminants was investigated in an aquatic community composed of zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, and fish. Biomagnification, measured as the increase in lipid-based chemical concentrations in predator over that in prey, was observed for high-K[sub OW] chemicals (log K[sub OW] > 6.3). Low-K[sub OW] chemicals (log K[sub OW] < 5.5) did not biomagnify in the food web, and chemicals with log K[sub OW] between 5.5 and 6.3 showed some evidence of biomagnification. Trophic level differences in chemical accumulation in the food web could not be attributed to bioconcentration into increasing trophic levels with increasing lipid levels, as no relationship was observed between trophic position and lipid content of organisms. Plots of contaminant-ordinated principal component scores in component space predicted the detailed diets of the species examined. It is concluded that (1) trophic interactions play a crucial role in the distribution of high-K[sub OW] chemicals but not for low-K[sub OW] chemicals and that (2) contaminant distributions provide a means to determine structure in aquatic communities.

  11. 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.

  12. Critical patch sizes for food-web modules.

    PubMed

    Martinson, Holly M; Fagan, William F; Denno, Robert F

    2012-08-01

    Because patch size and connectivity may strongly impact the assemblage of species that occur on a patch, the types of food-web interactions that occur among those species may also depend on spatial structure. Here, we identify whether food-web interactions among salt-marsh-inhabiting arthropods vary with patch size and connectivity, and how such changes in trophic structure might feed back to influence the spatial distribution of prey. In a multiyear survey, patch-restricted predators exhibited steeper occupancy-patch-size relationships than herbivores, and species' critical patch sizes were correlated with overall rarity. As a result, the presence of food-web modules depended strongly on patch size: large and well-connected patches supported complex food-web modules, but only the simplest modules involving the most abundant species were found on small patches. Habitat-generalist spiders dominated on small patches, and predation pressure from such species may contribute to the observed lower densities of mesopredators on small patches. Overall, patch size and connectivity influenced the types of modules present on a patch through differential loss of rare, patch-restricted predators, but predation by generalist predators may be a key mechanism influencing the spatial structure of certain prey species.

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

  16. 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)

  17. Can UV radiation affect benthic deposit-feeders through biochemical alteration of food resources? An experimental study with juveniles of the benthic polychaete Eupolymnia nebulosa.

    PubMed

    Nahon, Sarah; Pruski, Audrey M; Duchêne, Jean-Claude; Méjanelle, Laurence; Vétion, Gilles; Desmalades, Martin; Charles, François

    2011-05-01

    The growth, tentacle development and feeding activity of the benthic polychaete Eupolymnia nebulosa were examined to determine whether UV might affect marine deposit-feeders indirectly through the modification of the nutritional quality of their resources. Since marine invertebrates have higher nutritional requirements during the period following settlement, we tested the effect of UV-altered phytodetritus on freshly settled juveniles of E. nebulosa. Phytodetritus was prepared from cultures of the diatom Skeletonema costatum either grown under or sheltered from UVB radiation. Sterol content of phytodetritus was unmodified by UV radiation. Conversely, phytodetritus was noticeably depleted in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Growth and tentacle development of juveniles fed on altered phytodetritus were reduced by 35% and 15% respectively, suggesting potential deficiencies in essential nutrients. In response to the lower quality of the phytodetritus, juveniles explored a wider area as they search for food, a strategy that could compensate for low food quality.

  18. Relationships among levels of benthic vegetation and pore-water sulfides, burrowing shrimp and infaunal amphipods in Yaquina estuary, Oregon

    EPA Science Inventory

    Benthic amphipods are an important component of estuarine food webs, which in turn support ecological services provided by near shore commercial and recreational fisheries. In this study relationships among biological and geochemical aspects of the intertidal community were inve...

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. 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)

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. Computer simulations of sympatric speciation in a simple food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luz-Burgoa, K.; Dell, Tony; de Oliveira, S. Moss

    2005-07-01

    Galapagos finches, have motivated much theoretical research aimed at understanding the processes associated with the formation of the species. Inspired by them, in this paper we investigate the process of sympatric speciation in a simple food web model. For that we modify the individual-based Penna model that has been widely used to study aging as well as other evolutionary processes. Initially, our web consists of a primary food source and a single herbivore species that feeds on this resource. Subsequently we introduce a predator that feeds on the herbivore. In both instances we manipulate directly a basal resource distribution and monitor the changes in the populations. Sympatric speciation is obtained for the top species in both cases, and our results suggest that the speciation velocity depends on how far up, in the food chain, the focus population is feeding. Simulations are done with three different sexual imprintinglike mechanisms, in order to discuss adaptation by natural selection.

  5. Potential for Biomagnification of Contaminants within Marine and Freshwater Food Webs

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1984-11-01

    Two Marine and One Inland Saltwater Food Webs .............. ...................... ... 97 J 11 Concentrations of Heavy Metals in Animals in Three...in Three Kenya Lake Drainage Systems .......... ... 155 59 DDT and PCB Concentrations in Three California Saltwater Food Webs...biomagnification of Ni in any of three saltwater food webs (Table 10). In the Salton Sea and Newport Bay food webs, Ni concentrations averaged ɘ.03

  6. Food Web Designer: a flexible tool to visualize interaction networks.

    PubMed

    Sint, Daniela; Traugott, Michael

    Species are embedded in complex networks of ecological interactions and assessing these networks provides a powerful approach to understand what the consequences of these interactions are for ecosystem functioning and services. This is mandatory to develop and evaluate strategies for the management and control of pests. Graphical representations of networks can help recognize patterns that might be overlooked otherwise. However, there is a lack of software which allows visualizing these complex interaction networks. Food Web Designer is a stand-alone, highly flexible and user friendly software tool to quantitatively visualize trophic and other types of bipartite and tripartite interaction networks. It is offered free of charge for use on Microsoft Windows platforms. Food Web Designer is easy to use without the need to learn a specific syntax due to its graphical user interface. Up to three (trophic) levels can be connected using links cascading from or pointing towards the taxa within each level to illustrate top-down and bottom-up connections. Link width/strength and abundance of taxa can be quantified, allowing generating fully quantitative networks. Network datasets can be imported, saved for later adjustment and the interaction webs can be exported as pictures for graphical display in different file formats. We show how Food Web Designer can be used to draw predator-prey and host-parasitoid food webs, demonstrating that this software is a simple and straightforward tool to graphically display interaction networks for assessing pest control or any other type of interaction in both managed and natural ecosystems from an ecological network perspective.

  7. Designing Industrial Networks Using Ecological Food Web Metrics.

    PubMed

    Layton, Astrid; Bras, Bert; Weissburg, Marc

    2016-10-18

    Biologically Inspired Design (biomimicry) and Industrial Ecology both look to natural systems to enhance the sustainability and performance of engineered products, systems and industries. Bioinspired design (BID) traditionally has focused on a unit operation and single product level. In contrast, this paper describes how principles of network organization derived from analysis of ecosystem properties can be applied to industrial system networks. Specifically, this paper examines the applicability of particular food web matrix properties as design rules for economically and biologically sustainable industrial networks, using an optimization model developed for a carpet recycling network. Carpet recycling network designs based on traditional cost and emissions based optimization are compared to designs obtained using optimizations based solely on ecological food web metrics. The analysis suggests that networks optimized using food web metrics also were superior from a traditional cost and emissions perspective; correlations between optimization using ecological metrics and traditional optimization ranged generally from 0.70 to 0.96, with flow-based metrics being superior to structural parameters. Four structural food parameters provided correlations nearly the same as that obtained using all structural parameters, but individual structural parameters provided much less satisfactory correlations. The analysis indicates that bioinspired design principles from ecosystems can lead to both environmentally and economically sustainable industrial resource networks, and represent guidelines for designing sustainable industry networks.

  8. Mercury biomagnification in a contaminated estuary food web: effects of age and trophic position using stable isotope analyses.

    PubMed

    Coelho, J P; Mieiro, C L; Pereira, E; Duarte, A C; Pardal, M A

    2013-04-15

    The main aim of this study was to ascertain the biomagnification processes in a mercury-contaminated estuary, by clarifying the trophic web structure through stable isotope ratios. For this purpose, primary producers (seagrasses and macroalgae), invertebrates (detritivores and benthic predators) and fish were analysed for total and organic mercury and for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures. Trophic structure was accurately described by δ(15)N, while δ(13)C reflected the carbon source for each species. An increase of mercury levels was observed with trophic level, particularly for organic mercury. Results confirm mercury biomagnification to occur in this estuarine food web, especially in the organic form, both in absolute concentrations and fraction of total mercury load. Age can be considered an important variable in mercury biomagnification studies, and data adjustments to account for the different exposure periods may be necessary for a correct assessment of trophic magnification rates and ecological risk.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Quantitative assessment of benthic food resources for juvenile Gulf sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi in the Suwannee River estuary, Florida, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brooks, R.A.; Sulak, K.J.

    2005-01-01

    Gulf sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi, forage extensively in the Suwannee River estuary following emigration out of the Suwannee River, Florida. While in the estuary, juvenile Gulf sturgeon primarily feed on benthic infauna. In June-July 2002 and February-April 2003, random sites within the estuary were sampled for benthic macrofauna (2002 n = 156; 2003 n = 103). A mean abundance of 2,562 ind m-2 (SE ?? 204) was found in the summer, with significantly reduced macrofaunal abundance in the winter (mean density of 1,044 ind m-2, SE ?? 117). Benthic biomass was significantly higher in the summer with an average summer sample dry weight of 5.92 g m-2 (SE ?? 0.82) compared to 3.91 g m-2 (SE ?? 0.67) in the winter. Amphipods and polychaetes were the dominant taxa collected during both sampling periods. Three different estimates of food availability were examined taking into account principal food item information and biomass estimates. All three estimates provided a slightly different view of potential resources but were consistent in indicating that food resource values for juvenile Gulf sturgeon are spatially heterogeneous within the Suwannee River estuary. ?? 2005 Estuarine Research Federation.

  12. Community fluctuations and local extinction in a planktonic food web.

    PubMed

    Segura, A M; Calliari, D; Lan, B L; Fort, H; Widdicombe, C E; Harmer, R; Arim, M

    2017-04-01

    Determining statistical patterns irrespective of interacting agents (i.e. macroecology) is useful to explore the mechanisms driving population fluctuations and extinctions in natural food webs. Here, we tested four predictions of a neutral model on the distribution of community fluctuations (CF) and the distributions of persistence times (APT). Novel predictions for the food web were generated by combining (1) body size-density scaling, (2) Taylor's law and (3) low efficiency of trophic transference. Predictions were evaluated on an exceptional data set of plankton with 15 years of weekly samples encompassing c. 250 planktonic species from three trophic levels, sampled in the western English Channel. Highly symmetric non-Gaussian distributions of CF support zero-sum dynamics. Variability in CF decreased while a change from an exponential to a power law distribution of APT from basal to upper trophic positions was detected. Results suggest a predictable but profound effect of trophic position on fluctuations and extinction in natural communities.

  13. 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.

  14. Chemical amplification in an invaded food web: seasonality and ontogeny in a high-biomass, low-diversity ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Ng, Carla A; Berg, Martin B; Jude, David J; Janssen, John; Charlebois, Patrice M; Amaral, Luis A N; Gray, Kimberly A

    2008-10-01

    The global spread of invasive species is changing the structure of aquatic food webs worldwide. The North American Great Lakes have proved particularly vulnerable to this threat. In nearshore areas, invasive benthic species such as dreissenid mussels and round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) have gained dominance in recent years. Such species are driving the flow of energy and material from the water column to the benthic zone, with dramatic effect on nutrient and contaminant cycling. Here, we develop a stage-structured model of a benthified food web in Lake Michigan with seasonal resolution and show how its bioaccumulation patterns differ from expected ones. Our model suggests that contaminant recycling through the consumption of lipid-rich fish eggs and mussel detritus is responsible for these differences. In southern Lake Michigan's Calumet Harbor (Chicago, IL, USA), round gobies have nitrogen isotope signatures with considerable spread, with some values higher than their predators and others lower than their prey. Contrary to patterns observed in linear pelagic systems, we predict that polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations in these fish decrease with increasing size due to the lipid- and benthos-enriched diets of smaller fish. We also present here round goby PCB concentrations measured in 2005 after an invasional succession in Calumet Harbor and demonstrate how the change from one invasive mussel species to another may have led to a decrease in round goby PCB accumulation. Our results suggest that benthic-dominated systems differ from pelagic ones chiefly due to the influence of detritus and that these effects are exacerbated in systems with low species diversity and high biomass.

  15. An innovative statistical approach to constructing a readily comprehensible food web for a demersal fish community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    French, Ben; Clarke, K. Robert; Platell, Margaret E.; Potter, Ian C.

    2013-07-01

    Many food webs are so complex that it is difficult to distinguish the relationships between predators and their prey. We have therefore developed an approach that produces a food web which clearly demonstrates the strengths of the relationships between the predator guilds of demersal fish and their prey guilds in a coastal ecosystem. Subjecting volumetric dietary data for 35 abundant predators along the lower western Australia coast to cluster analysis and the SIMPROF routine separated the various species × length class combinations into 14 discrete predator guilds. Following nMDS ordination, the sequence of points for these predator guilds represented a 'trophic' hierarchy. This demonstrated that, with increasing body size, several species progressed upwards through this hierarchy, reflecting a marked change in diet, whereas others remained within the same guild. A novel use of cluster analysis and SIMPROF then identified each group of prey that was ingested in a common pattern across the full suite of predator guilds. This produced 12 discrete groups of taxa (prey guilds) that each typically comprised similar ecological/functional prey, which were then also aligned in a hierarchy. The hierarchical arrangements of the predator and prey guilds were plotted against each other to show the percentage contribution of each prey guild to the diet of each predator guild. The resultant shade plot demonstrates quantitatively how food resources are spread among the fish species and revealed that two prey guilds, one containing cephalopods and teleosts and the other small benthic/epibenthic crustaceans and polychaetes, were consumed by all predator guilds.

  16. Fish introductions and light modulate food web fluxes in tropical streams: a whole-ecosystem experimental approach.

    PubMed

    Collins, Sarah M; Thomas, Steven A; Heatherly, Thomas; MacNeill, Keeley L; Leduc, Antoine O H C; López-Sepulcre, Andrés; Lamphere, Bradley A; El-Sabaawi, Rana W; Reznick, David N; Pringle, Catherine M; Flecker, Alexander S

    2016-11-01

    Decades of ecological study have demonstrated the importance of top-down and bottom-up controls on food webs, yet few studies within this context have quantified the magnitude of energy and material fluxes at the whole-ecosystem scale. We examined top-down and bottom-up effects on food web fluxes using a field experiment that manipulated the presence of a consumer, the Trinidadian guppy Poecilia reticulata, and the production of basal resources by thinning the riparian forest canopy to increase incident light. To gauge the effects of these reach-scale manipulations on food web fluxes, we used a nitrogen ((15) N) stable isotope tracer to compare basal resource treatments (thinned canopy vs. control) and consumer treatments (guppy introduction vs. control). The thinned canopy stream had higher primary production than the natural canopy control, leading to increased N fluxes to invertebrates that feed on benthic biofilms (grazers), fine benthic organic matter (collector-gatherers), and organic particles suspended in the water column (filter feeders). Stream reaches with guppies also had higher primary productivity and higher N fluxes to grazers and filter feeders. In contrast, N fluxes to collector-gatherers were reduced in guppy introduction reaches relative to upstream controls. N fluxes to leaf-shredding invertebrates, predatory invertebrates, and the other fish species present (Hart's killifish, Anablepsoides hartii) did not differ across light or guppy treatments, suggesting that effects on detritus-based linkages and upper trophic levels were not as strong. Effect sizes of guppy and canopy treatments on N flux rates were similar for most taxa, though guppy effects were the strongest for filter feeding invertebrates while canopy effects were the strongest for collector-gatherer invertebrates. Combined, these results extend previous knowledge about top-down and bottom-up controls on ecosystems by providing experimental, reach-scale evidence that both pathways can

  17. Food web structure and seasonality of slope megafauna in the NW Mediterranean elucidated by stable isotopes: Relationship with available food sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papiol, V.; Cartes, J. E.; Fanelli, E.; Rumolo, P.

    2013-03-01

    The food-web structure and seasonality of the dominant taxa of benthopelagic megafauna (fishes and decapods) on the middle slope of the Catalan Sea (Balearic Basin, NW Mediterranean) were investigated using the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of 29 species. Macrofauna (infauna, suprabenthos and zooplankton) were also analysed as potential prey. Samples were collected on a seasonal basis from 600 to 1000 m depth between February 2007 and February 2008. The fishes and decapods were classified into feeding groups based on the literature: benthic feeders (including suprabenthos) and zooplankton feeders, the latter further separated into migratory and non-migratory species. Decapods exhibited depleted δ15N and enriched δ13C compared to fishes. Annual mean δ13C of fishes ranged from - 19.15‰ (Arctozenus risso) to - 16.65‰ (Phycis blennoides) and of δ15N from 7.27‰ (Lampanyctus crocodilus) to 11.31‰ (Nezumia aequalis). Annual mean values of δ13C of decapods were from - 18.94‰ (Sergestes arcticus) to - 14.78‰ (Pontophilus norvegicus), and of δ15N from 6.36‰ (Sergia robusta) to 9.72‰ (Paromola cuvieri). Stable isotopes distinguished well amongst the 3 feeding guilds established a priori, pointing to high levels of resource partitioning in deep-sea communities. The trophic structure of the community was a function of the position of predators along the benthic-pelagic gradient, with benthic feeders isotopically enriched relative to pelagic feeders. This difference allowed the identification of two food webs based on pelagic versus benthic consumption. Prey and predator sizes were also important in structuring the community. The most generalised seasonal pattern was δ13C depletion from winter to spring and summer, especially amongst migratory macroplankton feeders. This suggests greater consumption of pelagic prey, likely related with increases in pelagic production or with ontogenic migrations of organisms from mid-water to the Benthic

  18. Degree correlations in a dynamically generated model food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rikvold, Per Arne

    2010-02-01

    We explore aspects of the community structures generated by a simple predator-prey model of biological coevolution, using large-scale kinetic Monte Carlo simulations. The model accounts for interspecies and intraspecies competition for resources, as well as adaptive foraging behavior. It produces a metastable low-diversity phase and a stable high-diversity phase. The structures and joint indegree-outdegree distributions of the food webs generated in the latter phase are discussed.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Nursery fidelity, food web interactions and primary sources of nutrition of the juveniles of Solea solea and S. senegalensis in the Tagus estuary (Portugal): A stable isotope approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinagre, C.; Salgado, J.; Costa, M. J.; Cabral, H. N.

    2008-01-01

    Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes were used to assess site fidelity of Solea solea and Solea senegalensis juveniles, to investigate food web interactions and to determine the dominant nutrient pathways in two nursery areas in the Tagus estuary, Portugal. Samples of water from the main sources and from the nursery areas and respective saltmarsh creeks were collected for isotope analysis, as well as sediment, benthic microalgae, saltmarsh halophytes, S. solea, S. senegalensis and its main prey, Nereis diversicolor, Scrobicularia plana and Corophium spp. While site fidelity was high in 0-group juveniles, it was lower for 1-group juveniles, possibly due to an increase in mobility and energy demands with increasing size. Analysis of the food web revealed a complex net of relations. Particulate organic matter from the freshwater sources, from each nursery's waters and saltmarsh creeks presented similar isotopic composition. Sediment isotopic composition and saltmarsh halophytes also did not differentiate the two areas. All components of the food web from the benthic microalgae upwards were isotopically different between the nursery areas. These components were always more enriched in δ13C and δ15N at the lower nursery area than at the nursery located upstream, appearing as if there were two parallel trophic chains with little trophic interaction between each other. A mixture of carbon and nitrogen sources is probably being incorporated into the food web. The lower nursery area is more dependent upon an isotopically enriched energy pathway, composed of marine particulate organic matter, marine benthic microalgae and detritus of the C 4 saltmarsh halophyte Spartina maritima. The two nursery areas present a different level of dependence upon the freshwater and marine energy pathways, due to hydrological features, which should be taken into account for S. solea and S. senegalensis fisheries and habitat management.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Temperature alters food web body-size structure.

    PubMed

    Gibert, Jean P; DeLong, John P

    2014-08-01

    The increased temperature associated with climate change may have important effects on body size and predator-prey interactions. The consequences of these effects for food web structure are unclear because the relationships between temperature and aspects of food web structure such as predator-prey body-size relationships are unknown. Here, we use the largest reported dataset for marine predator-prey interactions to assess how temperature affects predator-prey body-size relationships among different habitats ranging from the tropics to the poles. We found that prey size selection depends on predator body size, temperature and the interaction between the two. Our results indicate that (i) predator-prey body-size ratios decrease with predator size at below-average temperatures and increase with predator size at above-average temperatures, and (ii) that the effect of temperature on predator-prey body-size structure will be stronger at small and large body sizes and relatively weak at intermediate sizes. This systematic interaction may help to simplify forecasting the potentially complex consequences of warming on interaction strengths and food web stability.

  6. Multiple anthropogenic stressors and the structural properties of food webs.

    PubMed

    O'Gorman, Eoin J; Fitch, Jayne E; Crowe, Tasman P

    2012-03-01

    Coastal environments are among the most productive on the planet, providing a wide range of ecosystem services. Development and exploitation mean that they are faced with stresses from a number of anthropogenic sources. Such stresses are typically studied in isolation, but multiple stressors can combine in unexpected ways to alter the structure of ecological systems. Here, we experimentally explore the impacts of inorganic nutrients and organic matter on a range of food web properties. We find that these two stressors combine additively to produce significant increases in connectance and mean food chain length. Such increases are typically associated with enhanced robustness to secondary extinctions and productivity, respectively. Despite these apparent beneficial effects, we find a simplification of web structure in terms of taxon richness and diversity, and altered proportions of basal and top species. These effects are driven by a reduction in community assembly and lower consistency in a range of system properties as a result of the multiple stressors. Consequently, impacted food webs are likely to be more vulnerable to human- or climate-induced perturbations in the long-term.

  7. Successional dynamics in the seasonally forced diamond food web.

    PubMed

    Klausmeier, Christopher A; Litchman, Elena

    2012-07-01

    Plankton seasonal succession is a classic example of nonequilibrium community dynamics. Despite the fact that it has been well studied empirically, it lacks a general quantitative theory. Here we investigate a food web model that includes a resource, two phytoplankton, and a shared grazer-the diamond food web-in a seasonal environment. The model produces a number of successional trajectories that have been widely discussed in the context of the verbal Plankton Ecology Group model of succession, such as a spring bloom of a good competitor followed by a grazer-induced clear-water phase, setting the stage for the late-season dominance of a grazer-resistant species. It also predicts a novel, counterintuitive trajectory where the grazer-resistant species has both early- and late-season blooms. The model often generates regular annual cycles but sometimes produces multiyear cycles or chaos, even with identical forcing each year. Parameterizing the model, we show how the successional trajectory depends on nutrient supply and the length of the growing season, two key parameters that vary among water bodies. This model extends nonequilibrium theory to food webs and is a first step toward a quantitative theory of plankton seasonal succession.

  8. 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

  9. Trophic magnification of triphenyltin in a marine food web of Bohai Bay, North China: comparison to tributyltin.

    PubMed

    Hu, Jianying; Zhen, Huajun; Wan, Yi; Gao, Junmin; An, Wei; An, Lihui; Jin, Fen; Jin, Xiaohui

    2006-05-15

    Organotins, especially tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPT), are of particular concern due to their ubiquity in the aquatic environment and theirtoxicityto aquatic organisms. This study reports field studies on trophic magnification factors (TMF) of TBT and TPT in a marine food web. TBT, TPT, and their metabolites in plankton, five benthic invertebrate species, and six fish species collected from Bohai Bay, North China were determined, and it was found that the concentrations of TPT in marine fish were unexpectedly higherthan those of TBT. A positive relationship was found between trophic levels and concentrations of TPT, indicating trophic magnification of TPT in this food web. The TMF of TPT was calculated to be 3.70. On the other hand, concentrations of TBT, dibutyltin (DBT) and monobutyltin (MBT) did not exhibit statistically significant trends with trophic levels, and the TMF of TBT was 0.59. Analysis of organotins in the water and surface sediment from Bohai Bay revealed low inputs of TPT to the environment, which indicated that the high concentrations of TPT found in fish from Bohai Bay were due to the food web magnification of TPT.

  10. Warming shifts top-down and bottom-up control of pond food web structure and function.

    PubMed

    Shurin, Jonathan B; Clasen, Jessica L; Greig, Hamish S; Kratina, Pavel; Thompson, Patrick L

    2012-11-05

    The effects of global and local environmental changes are transmitted through networks of interacting organisms to shape the structure of communities and the dynamics of ecosystems. We tested the impact of elevated temperature on the top-down and bottom-up forces structuring experimental freshwater pond food webs in western Canada over 16 months. Experimental warming was crossed with treatments manipulating the presence of planktivorous fish and eutrophication through enhanced nutrient supply. We found that higher temperatures produced top-heavy food webs with lower biomass of benthic and pelagic producers, equivalent biomass of zooplankton, zoobenthos and pelagic bacteria, and more pelagic viruses. Eutrophication increased the biomass of all organisms studied, while fish had cascading positive effects on periphyton, phytoplankton and bacteria, and reduced biomass of invertebrates. Surprisingly, virus biomass was reduced in the presence of fish, suggesting the possibility for complex mechanisms of top-down control of the lytic cycle. Warming reduced the effects of eutrophication on periphyton, and magnified the already strong effects of fish on phytoplankton and bacteria. Warming, fish and nutrients all increased whole-system rates of net production despite their distinct impacts on the distribution of biomass between producers and consumers, plankton and benthos, and microbes and macrobes. Our results indicate that warming exerts a host of indirect effects on aquatic food webs mediated through shifts in the magnitudes of top-down and bottom-up forcing.

  11. Reconciling the role of organic matter pathways in aquatic food webs by measuring multiple tracers in individuals.

    PubMed

    Jardine, Timothy D; Woods, Ryan; Marshall, Jonathan; Fawcetr, James; Lobegeiger, Jaye; Valdez, Dominic; Kainz, Martin J

    2015-12-01

    Few studies measure multiple ecological tracers in individual organisms, thus limiting our ability to differentiate among organic matter source pathways and understand consequences of dietary variation and the use of external subsidies in complex food webs. We combined two tracers, stable isotope (SI) ratios and fatty acids (FA), to investigate linkages among ecological compartments (water column, benthos, riparian zone) in food webs in waterholes of a dryland river network, the Border Rivers in southwestern Queensland, Australia. Comprehensive analyses of sources (plankton, periphyton, leaf litter, riparian grasses) and animals (benthic insects, mollusks, large crustaceans, fishes) for SI and FA showed that all three zones contribute to animal biomass, depending on species and life stage. Large fishes derived a subsidy from the riparian/floodplain zone, likely through the consumption of terrestrial and semi-aquatic insects and prawns that fed on detritivorous insects. Importantly, post-larval bony bream (Nematalosa erebi) and golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) were tightly connected to the water column, as evidenced by 13C-depleted, 15N-enriched isotope ratios and a high content of plankton-derived polyunsaturated fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA; 20:53] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA; 22:6003]). These observations were consistent with expectations from nutritional requirements of fish early life stages and habitat changes associated with maturity. These results highlight the importance of high-quality foods during early development of fishes, and show that attempting to attribute food-web production to a single source pathway overlooks important but often subtle subsidies that maintain viable populations. A complete understanding of food-web dynamics must consider both quantity and quality of different available organic matter sources. This understanding can be achieved with a combined SI and FA approach, but more controlled dietary studies are needed to

  12. Transformation of chiral polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a stream food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dang, V.D.; Walters, D.M.; Lee, C.M.

    2010-01-01

    The enantiomeric composition of chiral PCB congeners was determined in Twelvemile Creek (Clemson, SC) to examine potential mechanisms of biotransformation in a stream food web. We measured enantiomeric fractions (EFs) of six PCB atropisomers (PCBs 84, 91, 95, 136, 149, and 174) in surface sediment, fine benthic organic matter (FBOM), coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM), periphyton, Asian clam, mayflies, yellowfin shiner, and semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) using gas chromatography (GC-ECD). Nonracemic EFs of PCBs 91, 95, 136, and 149 were measured in almost all samples. Enantiomeric compositions of PCBs 84 and 174 were infrequently detected with racemic EFs measured in samples except for a nonracemic EF of PCB 84 in clams. Nonracemic EFs of PCBs 91, 136, and 149 in SPMDs may be due to desorption of nonracemic residues from FBOM. EFs for some atropisomers were significantly different among FBOM, CPOM, and periphyton, suggesting that their microbial communities have different biotransformation processes. Nonracemic EFs in clams and fish suggest both in vivo biotransformation and uptake of nonracemic residues from their food sources. Longitudinal variability in EFs was generally low among congeners observed in matrices. ?? 2010 American Chemical Society.

  13. 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

    2015-07-15

    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.

  14. Invasive dreissenid mussels and round gobies: a benthic pathway for the trophic transfer of microcystin.

    PubMed

    Poste, Amanda E; Ozersky, Ted

    2013-09-01

    In the present preliminary study, the authors identify 2 pathways through which invasive dreissenid mussels can transfer microcystin to higher trophic levels: either directly, through consumption by benthivorous fish such as the round goby; or indirectly, through their biodeposits, which are an important food source for benthic invertebrates. The results suggest that dreissenid mussels represent a potentially important benthic pathway for the food web transfer of microcystin.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Food-web structure of seagrass communities across different spatial scales and human impacts.

    PubMed

    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

  18. Biodilution of heavy metals in a stream macroinvertebrate food web: evidence from stable isotope analysis.

    PubMed

    Watanabe, Kozo; Monaghan, Michael T; Takemon, Yasuhiro; Omura, Tatsuo

    2008-05-01

    Analysis of carbon (delta13C) and nitrogen (delta15N) stable isotopes provides an increasingly important means of understanding the complex trophic structure of macroinvertebrate communities in streams. We coupled a stable isotope approach with a contaminant analysis of six metals (Pb, Ag, Zn, Hg, Cu, As) to trace the accumulation and dilution of metals from an abandoned mine across trophic levels of the benthic community in Ginzan Creek, Japan. The delta15N signature increased with trophic level, with mean increases of 4.70 per thousand from producers to primary consumers and 3.06 per thousand from primary to secondary consumers. Tissue Pb and Ag concentrations were negatively correlated with delta15N, indicating biodilution of both metals through the food web. Although macroinvertebrate taxon body mass was negatively correlated with tissue metal concentration at several sites, it did not increase with trophic level (as delta15N) in any of the sites, suggesting that changes in body mass were not the cause of biodilution. Our findings suggest invertebrates at higher trophic levels may exhibit increasingly efficient excretion of metals. Autotrophic epilithon (mean delta13C= -21.3 per thousand) had a much higher concentration of mined metals than did riparian vegetation (mean delta13C= -29.3 per thousand); nonetheless, a carbon-mixing model indicated that taxa feeding on autochthonous carbon sources did not accumulate more metal than allochthonous feeders. It is likely that the notably high metal concentration of allochthonous FPOM plays an important role in the trophic transfer of metals. Our data suggest the strong potential for stable isotope analysis to enhance our understanding of metal transfer through stream macroinvertebrate food webs.

  19. 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

  20. Effects of extinction on food web structures on an evolutionary time scale.

    PubMed

    Hironaga, Ryo; Yamamura, Norio

    2010-03-21

    Extinction affected food web structure in paleoecosystems. Recent theoretical studies that examined the effects of extinction intensity on food web structure on ecological time scales have considered extinction to involve episodic events, with pre-extinction food webs becoming established without dynamics. However, in terms of the paleontological time scale, food web structures are generated from feedback with repeated extinctions, because extinction frequency is affected by food web structure, and food web structure itself is a product of previous extinctions. We constructed a simulation model of changes in tri-trophic-level food webs to examine how continual extinction events affect food webs on an evolutionary time scale. We showed that under high extinction intensity (1) species diversity, especially that of consumer species, decreased; (2) the total population density at each trophic level decreased, while the densities of individual species increased; and (3) the trophic link density of the food web increased. In contrast to previous models, our results were based on an assumption of long-term food web development and are able to explain overall trends posited by empirical investigations based on fossil records.

  1. Differential mercury transfer in the aquatic food web of a double basined lake associated with selenium and habitat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arcagni, Marina; Campbell, Linda; Arribére, María A.; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark; Rizzo, Andrea; Guevara, Sergio Ribeiro

    2013-01-01

    Food web trophodynamics of total mercury (THg) and selenium (Se) were assessed for the double-basined ultraoligotrophic system of Lake Moreno, Patagonia. Each basin has differing proportions of littoral and pelagic habitats, thereby providing an opportunity to assess the importance of habitat (e.g. food web structure or benthic MeHg production) in the transfer of Hg and Se to top trophic fish species. Pelagic plankton, analyzed in three size classes (10–53, 53–200, and > 200 μm), had very high [THg], exceeding 200 μg g− 1 dry weight (DW) in the smallest, and a low ratio of MeHg to THg (0.1 to 3%). In contrast, [THg] in littoral macroinvertebrates showed lower values (0.3 to 1.8 μg g− 1 DW). Juvenile and small fish species feeding upon plankton had higher [THg] (0.2 to 8 μg g− 1 muscle DW) compared to large piscivore fish species (0.1 to 1.6 μg g− 1 muscle DW). Selenium concentrations exhibited a much narrower variation range than THg in the food web, varying from 0.5 to 2.7 μg g− 1 DW. Molar Se:Hg ratios exceeded 1 for the majority of organisms in both basins, with most ratios exceeding 10. Using stable nitrogen isotopes as indicator of trophic level, no significant correlations were found with [THg], [Se] or Se:Hg. The apparent lack of biomagnification trends was attributed to elevated [THg] in plankton in the inorganic form mostly, as well as the possibility of consistent Se supply reducing the biomagnification in the food web of the organic portion of THg.

  2. Bioaccumulation of five pharmaceuticals at multiple trophic levels in an aquatic food web - Insights from a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Lagesson, A; Fahlman, J; Brodin, T; Fick, J; Jonsson, M; Byström, P; Klaminder, J

    2016-10-15

    Pharmaceuticals derived from manufacturing and human consumption contaminate surface waters worldwide. To what extent such pharmaceutical contamination accumulates and disperses over time in different compartments of aquatic food webs is not well known. In this study we assess to what extent five pharmaceuticals (diphenhydramine, oxazepam, trimethoprim, diclofenac, and hydroxyzine) are taken up by fish (European perch) and four aquatic invertebrate taxa (damselfly larvae, mayfly larvae, waterlouse, and ramshorn snail), by tracing their bioconcentrations over several months in a semi-natural large-scale (pond) system. The results suggest both significant differences among drugs in their capacity to bioaccumulate and differences among species in uptake. While no support for in situ uptake of diclofenac and trimethoprim was found, oxazepam, diphenhydramine, and hydroxyzine were detected in all analyzed species. Here, the highest bioaccumulation factor (tissue:water ratio) was found for hydroxyzine. In the food web, the highest concentrations were found in the benthic species ramshorn snail and waterlouse, indicating that bottom-living organism at lower trophic positions are the prime receivers of the pharmaceuticals. In general, concentrations in the biota decreased over time in response to decreasing water concentrations. However, two interesting exceptions to this trend were noted. First, mayfly larvae (primarily grazers) showed peak concentrations (a fourfold increase) of oxazepam, diphenhydramine, and hydroxyzine about 30days after initial addition of pharmaceuticals. Second, perch (top-predator) showed an increase in concentrations of oxazepam throughout the study period. Our results show that drugs can remain bioavailable for aquatic organism for long time periods (weeks to months) and even re-enter the food web at a later time. As such, for an understanding of accumulation and dispersion of pharmaceuticals in aquatic food webs, detailed ecological knowledge is

  3. Microphytobenthos sustain fish food webs in intertidal arid habitats: A comparison between mangrove-lined and un-vegetated creeks in the Persian Gulf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shahraki, M.; Fry, B.; Krumme, U.; Rixen, T.

    2014-08-01

    The dietary importance of mangroves for fish production often seems to be minor. However, robust comparisons of fish food webs at mangrove vs. non-mangrove sites are largely lacking. We analyzed stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope values of dominant fishes (in terms of abundance) and their potential food sources in summer and winter from arid mangrove-lined and un-vegetated intertidal creeks in Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Northern Indian Ocean (26.8°N, 55.75°E). Detritivores Liza klunzingeri (47%) and Anodontostoma chacunda (34%) dominated the abundance at the un-vegetated site; at the mangrove site L. klunzingeri (41%) also dominated, while the zooplanktivores Leiognathus daura (18%), Thryssa vitrirostris (8%) and macrobenthivores Pentaprion longimanus (10%), Acanthopagrus latus (4%) also contributed. There was high dietary reliance by fish on food items associated with non-mangrove sources as indicated by 2 source mixing models. Mangrove-derived organic matter contributed a maximum of 36% to the fish tissue whereas organic matter produced by microphytobenthos and plankton played a major role in the diet of the most abundant fish species with contributions of 64-100%. Two trophic pathways, a pelagic pathway and a benthic pathway, were present in the fish food webs at both sites. The pelagic and benthic food sources of the un-vegetated site were 13C-enriched, consistent with stronger contributions of abundant benthic cyanobacteria found within that food web. Spatial δ13C variation of microphytobenthos and plankton was also reflected in the δ13C values of the feeding guilds and some fish species, suggesting that fish were relatively resident at each site. The isotope values of most food sources and fish did not differ significantly between seasons. Overall, regardless of habitat type and season, microphytobenthos and plankton largely sustained fishes in this region while mangroves, where present, were of minor importance. Our results suggest both

  4. Entry of Oil to the Coastal Planktonic Food Web During the Deepwater Horizon Spill (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, W. M.; Condon, R. H.; Carmichael, R. H.; D'Ambra, I.; Patterson, H. K.; Hernandez, F. J., Jr.

    2010-12-01

    occurred in late July, and depleted δ13C was observed in mid-August at the furthest offshore stations. Depletion and recovery cycles on the order of a few weeks are consistent with published warm water petroleum hydrocarbon decay time-scales. Carbon isotopic depletion in both surface and bottom samples suggests trophic transfer of oil carbon into the planktonic food web. A similar response found in benthic communities around natural seeps suggests that carbon isotopic shifts in the plankton fractions are likely due to the duration and magnitude of depleted carbon released into the system. These data provide strong evidence that labile fractions of the oil extended throughout the shallow water column during northward slick transport and that this carbon was processed at least two trophic levels beyond prokaryotic hydrocarbon consumers.

  5. Microbial Food-Web Drivers in Tropical Reservoirs.

    PubMed

    Domingues, Carolina Davila; da Silva, Lucia Helena Sampaio; Rangel, Luciana Machado; de Magalhães, Leonardo; de Melo Rocha, Adriana; Lobão, Lúcia Meirelles; Paiva, Rafael; Roland, Fábio; Sarmento, Hugo

    2017-04-01

    Element cycling in aquatic systems is driven chiefly by planktonic processes, and the structure of the planktonic food web determines the efficiency of carbon transfer through trophic levels. However, few studies have comprehensively evaluated all planktonic food-web components in tropical regions. The aim of this study was to unravel the top-down controls (metazooplankton community structure), bottom-up controls (resource availability), and hydrologic (water residence time) and physical (temperature) variables that affect different components of the microbial food web (MFW) carbon stock in tropical reservoirs, through structural equation models (SEM). We conducted a field study in four deep Brazilian reservoirs (Balbina, Tucuruí, Três Marias, and Funil) with different trophic states (oligo-, meso-, and eutrophic). We found evidence of a high contribution of the MFW (up to 50% of total planktonic carbon), especially in the less-eutrophic reservoirs (Balbina and Tucuruí). Bottom-up and top-down effects assessed through SEM indicated negative interactions between soluble reactive phosphorus and phototrophic picoplankton (PPP), dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF). Copepods positively affected ciliates, and cladocerans positively affected heterotrophic bacteria (HB) and PPP. Higher copepod/cladoceran ratios and an indirect positive effect of copepods on HB might strengthen HB-HNF coupling. We also found low values for the degree of uncoupling (D) and a low HNF/HB ratio compared with literature data (mostly from temperate regions). This study demonstrates the importance of evaluating the whole size spectrum (including microbial compartments) of the different planktonic compartments, in order to capture the complex carbon dynamics of tropical aquatic ecosystems.

  6. Global synthesis suggests that food web connectance correlates to invasion resistance.

    PubMed

    Smith-Ramesh, Lauren M; Moore, Alexandria C; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2017-02-01

    Biological invasions are a key component of global change, and understanding the drivers of global invasion patterns will aid in assessing and mitigating the impact of invasive species. While invasive species are most often studied in the context of one or two trophic levels, in reality species invade communities comprised of complex food webs. The complexity and integrity of the native food web may be a more important determinant of invasion success than the strength of interactions between a small subset of species within a larger food web. Previous efforts to understand the relationship between food web properties and species invasions have been primarily theoretical and have yielded mixed results. Here, we present a synthesis of empirical information on food web connectance and species invasion success gathered from different sources (estimates of food web connectance from the primary literature and estimates of invasion success from the Global Invasive Species Database as well as the primary literature). Our results suggest that higher-connectance food webs tend to host fewer invaders and exert stronger biotic resistance compared to low-connectance webs. We argue that while these correlations cannot be used to infer a causal link between food web connectance and habitat invasibility, the promising findings beg for further empirical research that deliberately tests for relationships between food web connectance and invasion.

  7. Global Patterns in Ecological Indicators of Marine Food Webs: A Modelling Approach

    PubMed Central

    Heymans, Johanna Jacomina; Coll, Marta; Libralato, Simone; Morissette, Lyne; Christensen, Villy

    2014-01-01

    Background Ecological attributes estimated from food web models have the potential to be indicators of good environmental status given their capabilities to describe redundancy, food web changes, and sensitivity to fishing. They can be used as a baseline to show how they might be modified in the future with human impacts such as climate change, acidification, eutrophication, or overfishing. Methodology In this study ecological network analysis indicators of 105 marine food web models were tested for variation with traits such as ecosystem type, latitude, ocean basin, depth, size, time period, and exploitation state, whilst also considering structural properties of the models such as number of linkages, number of living functional groups or total number of functional groups as covariate factors. Principal findings Eight indicators were robust to model construction: relative ascendency; relative overhead; redundancy; total systems throughput (TST); primary production/TST; consumption/TST; export/TST; and total biomass of the community. Large-scale differences were seen in the ecosystems of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with the Western Atlantic being more complex with an increased ability to mitigate impacts, while the Eastern Atlantic showed lower internal complexity. In addition, the Eastern Pacific was less organised than the Eastern Atlantic although both of these systems had increased primary production as eastern boundary current systems. Differences by ecosystem type highlighted coral reefs as having the largest energy flow and total biomass per unit of surface, while lagoons, estuaries, and bays had lower transfer efficiencies and higher recycling. These differences prevailed over time, although some traits changed with fishing intensity. Keystone groups were mainly higher trophic level species with mostly top-down effects, while structural/dominant groups were mainly lower trophic level groups (benthic primary producers such as seagrass and macroalgae

  8. Assimilation of aged organic carbon in a glacial river food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fellman, J.; Hood, E. W.; Raymond, P. A.; Bozeman, M.; Hudson, J.; Arimitsu, M.

    2013-12-01

    Identifying the key sources of organic carbon supporting fish and invertebrate consumers is fundamental to our understanding of stream ecosystems. Recent laboratory bioassays highlight that aged organic carbon from glacier environments is highly bioavailable to stream bacteria relative to carbon originating from ice-free areas. However, there is little evidence suggesting that this aged, bioavailable organic carbon is also a key basal carbon source for stream metazoa. We used natural abundance of Δ14C, δ13C, and δ15N to determine if fish and invertebrate consumers are subsidized by aged organic carbon in a glacial river in southeast Alaska. We collected biofilm, leaf litter, three different species of macroinvertebrates, and resident juvenile salmonids from a reference stream and two sites (one site is directly downstream of the glacial outflow and one site is upstream of the tidal estuary) on the heavily glaciated Herbert River. Key producers, fish, and invertebrate consumers in the reference stream had carbon isotope values that ranged from -26 to -30‰ for δ13C and from -12 to 53‰ for Δ14C, reflecting a food web sustained mainly on contemporary primary production. In contrast, biofilm in the two glacial sites was highly Δ14C depleted (-203 to -215‰) relative to the reference site. Although biofilm may consist of both bacteria and benthic algae utilizing carbon depleted in Δ14C, δ13C values for biofilm (-24.1‰), dissolved inorganic carbon (-5.9‰), and dissolved organic carbon (-24.0‰) suggest that biofilm consist of bacteria sustained in part by glacier-derived, aged organic carbon. Invertebrate consumers (mean Δ14C of -80.5, mean δ13C of -26.5) and fish (mean Δ14C of -63.3, mean δ13C of -25.7) in the two glacial sites had carbon isotope values similar to biofilm. These results similarly show that aged organic carbon is incorporated into the metazoan food web. Overall, our findings indicate that continued watershed deglaciation and

  9. 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.

  10. Parasitism and Food Web Structure in Defoliating Lepidoptera - Parasitoid Communities on Soybean.

    PubMed

    Avalos, D S; Mangeaud, A; Valladares, G R

    2016-12-01

    Food webs are usually regarded as snapshots of community feeding interactions. Here, we describe the yearly and cumulative structure of parasitoid-caterpillar food webs on soybean in central Argentina, analyzing parasitism rates and their variability in relation to parasitoid diversity and food web vulnerability in the system. Lepidoptera larvae were collected along four seasons from soybean crops and reared in laboratory to obtain and identify adults and parasitoids. Eleven species of defoliating Lepidoptera and ten parasitoid species were recorded. Food web statistics showed rather low annual variability, with most variation coefficients in the order of 0.20 and generality showing the most stable values. Parasitism showed the highest variability, which was independent of parasitoid diversity and food web vulnerability, although parasitism rates were negatively related to parasitoid richness. Our study highlights the need to consider food web structure and variability in order to understand the functioning of ecological communities in general and in extensive agricultural ecosystems in particular.

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

    PubMed

    Mougi, A; Kondoh, M

    2016-04-13

    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.

  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. Quantitative approaches to the analysis of stable isotope food web data.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Stephanie N; Olden, Julian D; Solomon, Christopher T; Vander Zanden, M Jake

    2007-11-01

    Ecologists use stable isotopes (delta13C, delta15N) to better understand food webs and explore trophic interactions in ecosystems. Traditionally, delta13C vs. delta15N bi-plots have been used to describe food web structure for a single time period or ecosystem. Comparisons of food webs across time and space are increasing, but development of statistical approaches for testing hypotheses regarding food web change has lagged behind. Here we present statistical methodologies for quantitatively comparing stable isotope food web data. We demonstrate the utility of circular statistics and hypothesis tests for quantifying directional food web differences using two case studies: an arthropod salt marsh community across a habitat gradient and a freshwater fish community from Lake Tahoe, USA, over a 120-year time period. We calculated magnitude and mean angle of change (theta) for each species in food web space using mean delta13C and delta15N of each species as the x, y coordinates. In the coastal salt marsh, arthropod consumers exhibited a significant shift toward dependence on Spartina, progressing from a habitat invaded by Phragmites to a restored Spartina habitat. In Lake Tahoe, we found that all species from the freshwater fish community shifted in the same direction in food web space toward more pelagic-based production with the introduction of nonnative Mysis relicta and onset of cultural eutrophication. Using circular statistics to quantitatively analyze stable isotope food web data, we were able to gain significant insight into patterns and changes in food web structure that were not evident from qualitative comparisons. As more ecologists incorporate a food web perspective into ecosystem analysis, these statistical tools can provide a basis for quantifying directional food web differences from standard isotope data.

  14. Effects of food web changes on Mysis diluviana diet in Lake Ontario

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Malley, Brian P.; Rudstam, Lars G.; Watkins, James M.; Holda, Toby J.; Weidel, Brian C.

    2017-01-01

    Mysids are important benthic-pelagic omnivores in many deep-lake food webs, yet quantitative data on their diet are limited. We explored the trophic role of Mysis diluviana in offshore Lake Ontario using samples collected in May, July, and September 2013 with a focus on seasonal and ontogenetic patterns in herbivory and zooplanktivory using two approaches. We hypothesized that Mysis diet in 2013 differs from the last investigation in 1995 in response to changes in pelagic prey over 1995 to 2013. Gut fluorescence indicated high grazing by adult and juvenile Mysis in May 2013. In July, smaller mysids were more herbivorous than larger individuals, a pattern that was less pronounced in September. Microscopic gut analysis showed copepods, including Limnocalanus, were common in diets of both size groups in May. In July, mainly cladocerans were consumed, including Cercopagis pengoi which represents a change from a past investigation that preceded Cercopagis invasion in the lake. Our results are consistent with earlier observations of a larger proportion of algae in mysid diets in spring, transitioning to relatively more zooplanktivory and use of cladocerans in the summer and fall. Higher chlorophyll content in small mysids in July than in September may be associated with the presence of a deep chlorophyll layer in July that had largely dissipated by September. Overall, Mysis in Lake Ontario continues to be a generalist omnivore, incorporating new prey items and exhibiting higher herbivory in spring.

  15. Deep-sea food web analysis using cross-reacting antisera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feller, Robert J.; Zagursky, Gregory; Day, Elizabeth A.

    1985-04-01

    The high incidence of unrecognizable prey in the stomachs of deep-sea predators prompted the application of serological methods for identification of trophic connections. Antisera to whole-organism extracts of estuarine taxa cross-reacted with antigenic protein extracts of mid-water and deep-sea taxa along phylogenetically correct lines, indicating their potential as tools for gut contents immunoassay. Stomach, intestine, and rectum contents of grenadiers ( Coryphaenoides armatus) trapped at 2500 m in the North Atlantic were analyzed visually and with 32 antisera representing taxa from 10 common deep-sea phyla. While visual analysis only revealed the presence of fluids, parasites, crustacean exoskeletons, and gastropod opercula, the immunoassay indicated the presence of antigenic proteins from holothurian, anemone, gastropod, decapod, and foraminiferan prey in the same samples. This qualitative serological identification of prey at non-specific taxonomic levels provides evidence that benthic predation may be important within deep-sea communities. The immunoassay technique, although not a panacea for elucidating food web dynamics in remote environments, may be useful when other methods fail to identify trophic pathways.

  16. Integrating spatial and temporal variability into the analysis of fish food web linkages in Tijuana Estuary.

    SciTech Connect

    West, Janelle M.; Williams, Greg D.; Madon, Sharook P.; Zedler, Joy B.

    2003-05-14

    Our understanding of fish feeding interactions at Tijuana Estuary was improved by incorporating estimates of spatial and temporal variability into diet analyses. We examined the stomach contents of 7 dominant species (n=579 total fish) collected between 1994 and 1999. General feeding patterns pooled over time produced a basic food web consisting of 3 major trophic levels: (1) primary consumers (Atherinops affinis, Mugil cephalus) that ingested substantial amounts of plant material and detritus; (2) benthic carnivores (Clevelandia ios, Hypsopsetta guttulata, Gillichthys mirabilis, and Fundulus parvipinnis) that ingested high numbers of calanoid copepods and exotic amphipods (Grandidierella japonica); and (3) piscivores (Paralichthys californicus and Leptocottus armatus) that often preyed on smaller gobiids. Similarity-based groupings of individual species' diets were identified using nonmetric multidimensional scaling to characterize their variability within and between species, and in s pace and time. This allowed us to identify major shifts and recognize events (i.e., modified prey abundance during 1997-98 El Nino floods) that likely caused these shifts.

  17. Moving beyond linear food chains: trait-mediated indirect interactions in a rocky intertidal food web.

    PubMed

    Trussell, Geoffrey C; Matassa, Catherine M; Ewanchuk, Patrick J

    2017-03-29

    In simple, linear food chains, top predators can have positive indirect effects on basal resources by causing changes in the traits (e.g. behaviour, feeding rates) of intermediate consumers. Although less is known about trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs) in more complex food webs, it has been suggested that such complexity dampens trophic cascades. We examined TMIIs between a predatory crab (Carcinus maenas) and two ecologically important basal resources, fucoid algae (Ascophyllum nodosum) and barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides), which are consumed by herbivorous (Littorina littorea) and carnivorous (Nucella lapillus) snails, respectively. Because crab predation risk suppresses snail feeding rates, we hypothesized that crabs would also shape direct and indirect interactions among the multiple consumers and resources. We found that the magnitude of TMIIs between the crab and each resource depended on the suite of intermediate consumers present in the food web. Carnivorous snails (Nucella) transmitted TMIIs between crabs and barnacles. However, crab-algae TMIIs were transmitted by both herbivorous (Littorina) and carnivorous (Nucella) snails, and these TMIIs were additive. By causing Nucella to consume fewer barnacles, crab predation risk allowed fucoids that had settled on or between barnacles to remain in the community. Hence, positive interactions between barnacles and algae caused crab-algae TMIIs to be strongest when both consumers were present. Studies of TMIIs in more realistic, reticulate food webs will be necessary for a more complete understanding of how predation risk shapes community dynamics.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Body size drives allochthony in food webs of tropical rivers.

    PubMed

    Jardine, Timothy D; Rayner, Thomas S; Pettit, Neil E; Valdez, Dominic; Ward, Douglas P; Lindner, Garry; Douglas, Michael M; Bunn, Stuart E

    2017-02-01

    Food web subsidies from external sources ("allochthony") can support rich biological diversity and high secondary and tertiary production in aquatic systems, even those with low rates of primary production. However, animals vary in their degree of dependence on these subsidies. We examined dietary sources for aquatic animals restricted to refugial habitats (waterholes) during the dry season in Australia's wet-dry tropics, and show that allochthony is strongly size dependent. While small-bodied fishes and invertebrates derived a large proportion of their diet from autochthonous sources within the waterhole (phytoplankton, periphyton, or macrophytes), larger animals, including predatory fishes and crocodiles, demonstrated allochthony from seasonally inundated floodplains, coastal zones or the surrounding savanna. Autochthony declined roughly 10% for each order of magnitude increase in body size. The largest animals in the food web, estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), derived ~80% of their diet from allochthonous sources. Allochthony enables crocodiles and large predatory fish to achieve high biomass, countering empirically derived expectations for negative density vs. body size relationships. These results highlight the strong degree of connectivity that exists between rivers and their floodplains in systems largely unaffected by river regulation or dams and levees, and how large iconic predators could be disproportionately affected by these human activities.

  1. Coupled predator-prey oscillations in a chaotic food web.

    PubMed

    Benincà, Elisa; Jöhnk, Klaus D; Heerkloss, Reinhard; Huisman, Jef

    2009-12-01

    Coupling of several predator-prey oscillations can generate intriguing patterns of synchronization and chaos. Theory predicts that prey species will fluctuate in phase if predator-prey cycles are coupled through generalist predators, whereas they will fluctuate in anti-phase if predator-prey cycles are coupled through competition between prey species. Here, we investigate predator-prey oscillations in a long-term experiment with a marine plankton community. Wavelet analysis of the species fluctuations reveals two predator-prey cycles that fluctuate largely in anti-phase. The phase angles point at strong competition between the phytoplankton species, but relatively little prey overlap among the zooplankton species. This food web architecture is consistent with the size structure of the plankton community, and generates highly dynamic food webs. Continued alternations in species dominance enable coexistence of the prey species through a non-equilibrium 'killing-the-winner' mechanism, as the system shifts back and forth between the two predator-prey cycles in a chaotic fashion.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.; 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.

  4. Transfer of radionuclides from high polluted bottom sediments to marine organisms through benthic food chain in post Fukushima period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bezhenar, Roman; Jung, Kyung Tae; Maderich, Vladimir; Willemsen, Stefan; de With, Govert; Qiao, Fangli

    2015-04-01

    A catastrophic earthquake and tsunami occurred on March 11, 2011 and severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) that resulted in an uncontrolled release of radioactivity into air and ocean. Around 80% of the radioactivity released due to the FDNPP accident in March-April 2011 was either directly discharged into the ocean or deposited onto the ocean surface from the atmosphere. A large amount of long-lived radionuclides (mainly Cs-137) were released into the environment. The concentration of radionuclides in the ocean reached a maximum in mid-April of 2011, and then gradually decreased. From 2011 the concentration of Cs-137 in water essentially fell except the area around the FDNPP where leaks of contaminated water are continued. However, in the bottom sediment high concentrations of Cs-137 were found in the first months after the accident and slowly decreased with time. Therefore, it should be expected that a time delay is found of sediment-bound radionuclides in marine organisms. For the modeling of radionuclide transfer from highly polluted bottom sediments to marine organisms the dynamical food chain model BURN-POSEIDON (Heling et al, 2002; Maderich et al., 2014) was extended. In this model marine organisms are grouped into a limited number of classes based on their trophic level and type of species. These include: phytoplankton, zooplankton, fishes (two types: piscivorous and non-piscivorous), crustaceans, and molluscs for pelagic food chain and bottom sediment invertebrates, demersal fishes and bottom predators for benthic food chain and whole water column predators feeding by pelagial and benthic fishes. Bottom invertebrates consume organic parts of bottom sediments with adsorbed radionuclides which then migrate through the food chain. All organisms take radionuclides directly from water as well as via food. In fishes where radioactivity is not homogeneously distributed over all tissues of the organism, it is assumed that radionuclide

  5. Food web structure and the evolution of ecological communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quince, Christopher; Higgs, Paul G.; McKane, Alan J.

    Simulations of the coevolution of many interacting species are performed using the Webworld model. The model has a realistic set of predator-prey equations that describe the population dynamics of the species for any structure of the food web. The equations account for competition between species for the same resources, and for the diet choice of predators between alternative prey according to an evolutionarily stable strategy. The set of species present undergoes long-term evolution d ue to speciation and extinction events. We summarize results obtained on the macro-evolutionary dynamics of speciations and extinctions, and on the statistical properties of the food webs that are generated by the model. Simulations begin from small numbers of species and build up to larger webs with relatively constant species number on average. The rate of origination and extinction of species are relatively high, but remain roughly balanced throughout the simulations. When a 'parent' species undergoes sp eciation, the 'child' species usually adds to the same trophic level as the parent. The chance of the child species surviving is significantly higher if the parent is on the second or third trophic level than if it is on the first level, most likely due to a wider choice of possible prey for species on higher levels. Addition of a new species sometimes causes extinction of existing species. The parent species has a high probability of extinction because it has strong competition with the new species. Non-pa rental competitors of the new species also have a significantly higher extinction probability than average, as do prey of the new species. Predators of the new species are less likely than average to become extinct.

  6. 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.

  7. Continuous and simultaneous cultivation of benthic food diatom Nitzschia sp. and abalone Haliotis sieboldii by using deep seawater.

    PubMed

    Fukami; Kawai; Asada; Okabe; Hotta; Moriyama; Doi; Nishijima; Yamaguchi; Taniguchi

    1998-12-01

    By using low-temperature, clean, and nutrient-rich properties of deep seawater (DSW; seawater below the euphotic layer), a continuous and simultaneous cultivation system for a benthic food diatom, Nitzschia sp., and juvenile abalone was established. Cell suspension of Nitzschia sp. was added to a bioreactor made of acrylic pipe (7 cm diameter x 50 cm long) containing short vinyl tubes (2 cm diameter x 2 cm long) as substrata. DSW collected from 320 m depth at Muroto City, in Kochi Prefecture, Japan, was supplied to the reactor and incubated under natural light (ca. 6000 lux) with a continuous DSW flow rate of 40 turnovers per hour. After growing enough benthic diatoms in the reactor, juveniles of abalone, Haliotis sieboldii (shell length ca. 10-20 mm) were put into a reactor, and cultivated simultaneously with food diatoms in the continuous flow system. During the four-month incubation, 7-month-old abalone juveniles with a shell length of 12.4 (average) +/-0.2 (SD) mm were grown to 19.4 (+/-1.7) mm in the reactor. Daily growth rates of abalones were 50-110 µm/day. These results indicate that the continuous cultivation system with DSW supports the growth of juvenile abalone without any supply of seaweed until it grows to release size.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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…

  11. The probabilistic niche model reveals substantial variation in the niche structure of empirical food webs.

    PubMed

    Williams, Richard J; Purves, Drew W

    2011-09-01

    The structure of food webs, complex networks of interspecies feeding interactions, plays a crucial role in ecosystem resilience and function, and understanding food web structure remains a central problem in ecology. Previous studies have shown that key features of empirical food webs can be reproduced by low-dimensional "niche" models. Here we examine the form and variability of food web niche structure by fitting a probabilistic niche model to 37 empirical food webs, a much larger number of food webs than used in previous studies. The model relaxes previous assumptions about parameter distributions and hierarchy and returns parameter estimates for each species in each web. The model significantly outperforms previous niche model variants and also performs well for several webs where a body-size-based niche model performs poorly, implying that traits other than body size are important in structuring these webs' niche space. Parameter estimates frequently violate previous models' assumptions: in 19 of 37 webs, parameter values are not significantly hierarchical, 32 of 37 webs have nonuniform niche value distributions, and 15 of 37 webs lack a correlation between niche width and niche position. Extending the model to a two-dimensional niche space yields networks with a mixture of one- and two-dimensional niches and provides a significantly better fit for webs with a large number of species and links. These results confirm that food webs are strongly niche-structured but reveal substantial variation in the form of the niche structuring, a result with fundamental implications for ecosystem resilience and function.

  12. Trophic positioning of meiofauna revealed by stable isotopes and food web analyses.

    PubMed

    Schmid-Araya, Jenny M; Schmid, Peter E; Tod, Steven P; Esteban, Genoveva F

    2016-11-01

    Despite important advances in the ecology of river food webs, the strength and nature of the connection between the meio- and macrofaunal components of the web are still debated. Some unresolved issues are the effects of the inclusion of meiofaunal links and their temporal variations on the overall river food web properties, and the significance of autochthonous and allochthonous material for these components. In the present study, we conducted analyses of gut content of macro- and meiofauna and stable isotope analyses of meiofauna to examine seasonal food webs of a chalk stream. The results of the gut content analyses, confirmed by the δ(13) C signatures, revealed a seasonal shift from a dependence on autochthonous (biofilm) to allochthonous food sources. Here, we demonstrate that aggregating basal or meiofaunal species into single categories affects key web properties such as web size, links, linkage density, and predator-prey ratios. More importantly, seasonal variation in attributes characterized the entire web and these changes persist regardless of taxonomic resolution. Furthermore, our analyses evidenced discrete variations in δ(15) N across the meiofauna community with a trophic structure that confirms gut content analyses, placing the meiofauna high in the food web. We, therefore, conclude that small-body-sized taxa can occur high in dynamic river food webs, questioning assumptions that trophic position increases with body size and that webs are static.

  13. Global multi-level analysis of the 'scientific food web'.

    PubMed

    Mazloumian, Amin; Helbing, Dirk; Lozano, Sergi; Light, Robert P; Börner, Katy

    2013-01-01

    We introduce a network-based index analyzing excess scientific production and consumption to perform a comprehensive global analysis of scholarly knowledge production and diffusion on the level of continents, countries, and cities. Compared to measures of scientific production and consumption such as number of publications or citation rates, our network-based citation analysis offers a more differentiated picture of the 'ecosystem of science'. Quantifying knowledge flows between 2000 and 2009, we identify global sources and sinks of knowledge production. Our knowledge flow index reveals, where ideas are born and consumed, thereby defining a global 'scientific food web'. While Asia is quickly catching up in terms of publications and citation rates, we find that its dependence on knowledge consumption has further increased.

  14. Tracing the isotopic signal of a cyanobacteria bloom through the food web of a Baltic Sea coastal lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lesutienė, Jūratė; Bukaveckas, Paul A.; Gasiūnaitė, Zita R.; Pilkaitytė, Renata; Razinkovas-Baziukas, Artūras

    2014-02-01

    This study shows that cyanobacteria blooms support secondary production in a diverse group of benthic and pelagic consumers and illustrate the utility of stable isotopes for tracking the cyanobacteria signal in aquatic food webs. We characterized seasonal patterns in δ13C and δ15N signatures of particulate organic matter (POM) and consumers in a eutrophic coastal lagoon (Curonian Lagoon, SE Baltic Sea) before, during and after a cyanobacteria bloom. We found that during the pre- and post-bloom periods (spring and autumn), POM from the lagoon was isotopically indistinguishable from riverine POM. During the bloom, the increase in phytoplankton biomass and dominance by N2-fixing cyanobacteria resulted in higher δ13C and lower δ15N of POM. These changes in POM were reflected in isotopic signatures of primary consumers with greatest response among fast-growing planktonic and nectobenthic crustaceans and chironomids. Results from end-member mixing analyses suggest that cyanobacteria accounted for 50-80% of production by these consumers during the bloom period. Weaker responses were observed among slow-growing species, particularly long-lived bivalves such as Dreissena. Cyanobacteria-induced shifts in δ13C and δ15N could be tracked to secondary consumers, particularly fast-growing forms such as predatory zooplankton (Leptodora) and juvenile fishes (European perch). We suggest that reconstruction of the food web at the upper trophic levels should incorporate isotopic baselines of both fast- and slow-growing primary consumers to reflect the contribution of blooms events.

  15. Isomer-specific trophic transfer of perfluorocarboxylic acids in the marine food web of Liaodong Bay, North China.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhong; Peng, Hui; Wan, Yi; Hu, Jianying

    2015-02-03

    Trophic transfers of perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) have been well studied in aquatic food webs; however, most studies examined PFCAs as single compounds without differentiating isomers. In this study, an in-port derivatization GC-MS method was used to determine PFCA (perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA; perfluorononanoic acid, PFNA; perfluorodecanoate acid, PFDA; perfluoroundecanoate acid, PFUnDA; perfluorododecanoate acid, PFDoDA; perfluorotridecanoate acid, PFTriDA, and perfluorotetradecanoate acid, PFTeDA) structural isomers in 11 marine species including benthic invertebrates, fishes, and gulls collected in November 2006 from Liaodong Bay in China. The total concentrations of linear PFCAs were 0.35-1.10, 0.93-2.61, and 2.13-2.69 ng/g ww, and the corresponding percentages of branched PFCAs to linear PFCAs were 6.6-15.5%, 4.2-9.9%, and 4.5-6.0% in invertebrates, fishes, and birds, respectively. Except for linear PFOA, significant positive relationships were found between the concentrations of all the target linear PFCAs and trophic levels, and the trophic magnification factors (TMFs) ranged from 1.90 to 4.88. Positive correlations between the concentrations of branched PFCAs isomers and trophic levels were also observed but were without statistical significance. The relatively high biomagnification of linear isomers of PFCAs would lead to low percentages of branched PFCAs to total PFCAs in organisms at high trophic levels. This study for the first time clarified isomer-specific trophic transfers of PFCAs in a marine food web.

  16. 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.

  17. 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 ...

  18. 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...

  19. 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…

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  4. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  5. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 25 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  6. 40 CFR 230.31 - Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 40 Protection of Environment 26 2012-07-01 2011-07-01 true Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other... § 230.31 Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other aquatic organisms in the food web. (a) Aquatic organisms in the food web include, but are not limited to, finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects,...

  7. Food web of a confined and anthropogenically affected coastal basin (the Mar Piccolo of Taranto) revealed by carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes analyses.

    PubMed

    Bongiorni, Lucia; Fiorentino, Federica; Auriemma, Rocco; Aubry, Fabrizio Bernardi; Camatti, Elisa; Camin, Federica; Nasi, Federica; Pansera, Marco; Ziller, Luca; Grall, Jacques

    2016-07-01

    Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis was used to examine the food web of the Mar Piccolo of Taranto, a coastal basin experiencing several anthropogenic impacts. Main food sources (algal detritus, seaweeds, particulate organic matter (POM) and sediment organic matter (SOM)) and benthic and pelagic consumers were collected during two contrasting seasons (June and April), at four sites distributed over two inlets, and characterized by different level of confinements, anthropogenic inputs and the presence of mussels farming. δ(13)C values of organic sources revealed an important contribution of POM to both planktonic and benthic pathways, as well as the influence of terrigenous inputs within both inlets, probably due to high seasonal land runoff. Although δ(13)C of both sources and consumers varied little between sampling sites and dates, δ(15)N spatial variability was higher and clearly reflected the organic enrichment in the second inlet as well as the uptake of anthropogenically derived material by benthic consumers. On the other hand, within the first inlet, the isotopic composition of consumers did not change in response to chemical contamination. However, the impact of polluted sediments near the Navy Arsenal in the first inlet was detectable at the level of the macrobenthic trophic structure, showing high dominance of motile, upper level consumers capable to face transient conditions and the reduction of the more resident deposit feeders. We therefore underline the great potential of matching stable isotope analysis with quantitative studies of community structure to assess the effects of multiple anthropogenic stressors.

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

    Memmott, Jane

    2009-06-27

    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.

  10. Kinematics of benthic suction feeding in Callichthyidae and Mochokidae, with functional implications for the evolution of food scraping in catfishes.

    PubMed

    Van Wassenbergh, Sam; Lieben, Tim; Herrel, Anthony; Huysentruyt, Frank; Geerinckx, Tom; Adriaens, Dominique; Aerts, Peter

    2009-01-01

    Food scraping has independently evolved twice from suction feeding in the evolution of catfishes: within neotropical Loricarioidea and paleotropical Mochokidae. To gain insight in the evolutionary transitions associated with the evolution towards scraping, we analyzed prey capture kinematics in two species of benthic suction feeders which belong to taxa that are closely related to the scraper lineages (respectively, Corydoras splendens and Synodontis multipunctatus), and compared it to prey capture in a more distantly related, generalist suction feeder (Clarias gariepinus). Simultaneous ventral and lateral view high-speed videos were recorded to quantify the movements of the lower jaw, hyoid, pectoral girdle and neurocranium. Additionally, ellipse modeling was applied to relate head shape differences to buccal expansion kinematics. Similarly to what has been observed in scrapers, rotations of the neurocranium are minimal in the benthic suction feeders, and may consequently have facilitated the evolution of a scraping feeding mechanism. The hypothesis that fish with a more laterally compressed head rely more heavily on lateral expansion of the buccal cavity to generate suction, was confirmed in our sample of catfish species. Since an important contribution of lateral expansion of the head to suction may avoid the need for a strong, ventral depression of the mouth floor during feeding, we hypothesized that this may have allowed a closer association with the substrate in the ancestors of scrapers. However, our hypothesis was not supported by an ancestral state reconstruction, which suggests that scraping probably evolved from sub-terminal mouthed ancestors with dorsoventrally flattened heads.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Antarctic benthic and sea-ice microalgal interactions: food chain processes and physiology

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, G.A.; White, D.C.; Nichols, P.D.

    1986-01-01

    Annual sea-ice in McMurdo Sound is known to provide an extensive microhabitat for microalgae containing a high biomass within the lower 5 cm at the water/ice interface, with an estimated annual production of 4.1 g of carbon/m/sup 2/. Upon senescence, this microalgal population contributes a large amount of C to the benthic biota. Total biomass as measured by membrane phospholipids of benthic microorganisms from three sites in McMurdo Sound were comparable to those of a Florida estuary and greater than those of deep-sea trenches. In addition to total biomass, changes in community structure of the sediments at the McMurdo study sites of Cape Evans, Cape Armitage, and New Harbor are detectable by detailed fatty-acid profiles of phospholipid membranes. These data are comparable to studies of the benthic macrofauna from McMurdo Sound which indicated that the east Sound sites are more productive than the west. The east Sound sediment sites were found to contain the greatest amount of the phospholipid fatty acid which is a major component of the sea-ice diatom Nitzschia cylindrus. Bacterial biomarkers indicated little difference in total biomass between the sites but did reveal community structure differences. Saturated, branched, and odd carbon fatty acids, were present in similar relative proportions. Fatty acids from triglyceride and sterols from the neutral lipid fractions of the sediments indicated a similar pattern to that of the phospholipid biomasses, with the east Sound sites containing greater amounts. Metabolic activities at the sites were measured by their incorporation of radiolabeled precursors into bacterial DNA and lipid classes. Lipid and metabolic activity monitoring has proven to be a useful technique in ice algal physiology studies.

  14. Toxaphene congeners in the Canadian Great Lakes basin: temporal and spatial food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Whittle, D M; Kiriluk, R M; Carswell, A A; Keir, M J; MacEachen, D C

    2000-01-01

    the 1990's. Initially a nonachlorobornane congener (Parlar #50) was predominant, with congeners #40, #62 and #21 being the next most prominent in the 1980 samples. Samples from the 1990's showed a significant decline in the presence of lower chlorinated congeners #40 and #21. Analysis of total toxaphene in food webs, indicated elevated levels in lower trophic level species such as Diporeia and Cottus sp. which have a benthic association. The stable isotope temporal trend 13C signature identified a significant shift in the lake trout diet over the period 1993 to 1996.

  15. 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 ...

  16. Trophic levels and trophic tangles: the prevalence of omnivory in real food webs.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Ross M; Hemberg, Martin; Starzomski, Brian M; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2007-03-01

    The concept of trophic levels is one of the oldest in ecology and informs our understanding of energy flow and top-down control within food webs, but it has been criticized for ignoring omnivory. We tested whether trophic levels were apparent in 58 real food webs in four habitat types by examining patterns of trophic position. A large proportion of taxa (64.4%) occupied integer trophic positions, suggesting that discrete trophic levels do exist. Importantly however, the majority of those trophic positions were aggregated around integer values of 0 and 1, representing plants and herbivores. For the majority of the real food webs considered here, secondary consumers were no more likely to occupy an integer trophic position than in randomized food webs. This means that, above the herbivore trophic level, food webs are better characterized as a tangled web of omnivores. Omnivory was most common in marine systems, rarest in streams, and intermediate in lakes and terrestrial food webs. Trophic-level-based concepts such as trophic cascades may apply to systems with short food chains, but they become less valid as food chains lengthen.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Anti-predator defence and the complexity-stability relationship of food webs.

    PubMed

    Kondoh, Michio

    2007-07-07

    The mechanism for maintaining complex food webs has been a central issue in ecology because theory often predicts that complexity (higher the species richness, more the interactions) destabilizes food webs. Although it has been proposed that prey anti-predator defence may affect the stability of prey-predator dynamics, such studies assumed a limited and relatively simpler variation in the food-web structure. Here, using mathematical models, I report that food-web flexibility arising from prey anti-predator defence enhances community-level stability (community persistence and robustness) in more complex systems and even changes the complexity-stability relationship. The model analysis shows that adaptive predator-specific defence enhances community-level stability under a wide range of food-web complexity levels and topologies, while generalized defence does not. Furthermore, while increasing food-web complexity has minor or negative effects on community-level stability in the absence of defence adaptation, or in the presence of generalized defence, in the presence of predator-specific defence, the connectance-stability relationship may become unimodal. Increasing species richness, in contrast, always lowers community-level stability. The emergence of a positive connectance-stability relationship however necessitates food-web compartmentalization, high defence efficiency and low defence cost, suggesting that it only occurs under a restricted condition.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-06

    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.

  3. Incorporating food web dynamics into ecological restoration: a modeling approach for river ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bellmore, J Ryan; Benjamin, Joseph R; Newsom, Michael; Bountry, Jennifer A; Dombroski, Daniel

    2017-04-01

    Restoration is frequently aimed at the recovery of target species, but also influences the larger food web in which these species participate. Effects of restoration on this broader network of organisms can influence target species both directly and indirectly via changes in energy flow through food webs. To help incorporate these complexities into river restoration planning, we constructed a model that links river food web dynamics to in-stream physical habitat and riparian vegetation conditions. We present an application of the model to the Methow River, Washington, USA, a location of on-going restoration aimed at recovering salmon. Three restoration strategies were simulated: riparian vegetation restoration, nutrient augmentation via salmon carcass addition, and side channel reconnection. We also added populations of nonnative aquatic snails and fish to the modeled food web to explore how changes in food web structure mediate responses to restoration. Simulations suggest that side channel reconnection may be a better strategy than carcass addition and vegetation planting for improving conditions for salmon in this river segment. However, modeled responses were strongly sensitive to changes in the structure of the food web. The addition of nonnative snails and fish modified pathways of energy through the food web, which negated restoration improvements. This finding illustrates that forecasting responses to restoration may require accounting for the structure of food webs, and that changes in this structure, as might be expected with the spread of invasive species, could compromise restoration outcomes. Unlike habitat-based approaches to restoration assessment that focus on the direct effects of physical habitat conditions on single species of interest, our approach dynamically links the success of target organisms to the success of competitors, predators, and prey. By elucidating the direct and indirect pathways by which restoration affects target species

  4. Incorporating food web dynamics into ecological restoration: A modeling approach for river ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bellmore, J. Ryan; Benjamin, Joseph R.; Newsom, Michael; Bountry, Jennifer A.; Dombroski, Daniel

    2017-01-01

    Restoration is frequently aimed at the recovery of target species, but also influences the larger food web in which these species participate. Effects of restoration on this broader network of organisms can influence target species both directly and indirectly via changes in energy flow through food webs. To help incorporate these complexities into river restoration planning we constructed a model that links river food web dynamics to in-stream physical habitat and riparian vegetation conditions. We present an application of the model to the Methow River, Washington (USA), a location of on-going restoration aimed at recovering salmon. Three restoration strategies were simulated: riparian vegetation restoration, nutrient augmentation via salmon carcass addition, and side-channel reconnection. We also added populations of nonnative aquatic snails and fish to the modeled food web to explore how changes in food web structure mediate responses to restoration. Simulations suggest that side-channel reconnection may be a better strategy than carcass addition and vegetation planting for improving conditions for salmon in this river segment. However, modeled responses were strongly sensitive to changes in the structure of the food web. The addition of nonnative snails and fish modified pathways of energy through the food web, which negated restoration improvements. This finding illustrates that forecasting responses to restoration may require accounting for the structure of food webs, and that changes in this structure—as might be expected with the spread of invasive species—could compromise restoration outcomes. Unlike habitat-based approaches to restoration assessment that focus on the direct effects of physical habitat conditions on single species of interest, our approach dynamically links the success of target organisms to the success of competitors, predators, and prey. By elucidating the direct and indirect pathways by which restoration affects target species

  5. 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.

  6. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity. PMID:27703157

  7. 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.

  8. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Florian D; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-05

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  9. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  10. Transfer of heavy metals through terrestrial food webs: a review.

    PubMed

    Gall, Jillian E; Boyd, Robert S; Rajakaruna, Nishanta

    2015-04-01

    Heavy metals are released into the environment by both anthropogenic and natural sources. Highly reactive and often toxic at low concentrations, they may enter soils and groundwater, bioaccumulate in food webs, and adversely affect biota. Heavy metals also may remain in the environment for years, posing long-term risks to life well after point sources of heavy metal pollution have been removed. In this review, we compile studies of the community-level effects of heavy metal pollution, including heavy metal transfer from soils to plants, microbes, invertebrates, and to both small and large mammals (including humans). Many factors contribute to heavy metal accumulation in animals including behavior, physiology, and diet. Biotic effects of heavy metals are often quite different for essential and non-essential heavy metals, and vary depending on the specific metal involved. They also differ for adapted organisms, including metallophyte plants and heavy metal-tolerant insects, which occur in naturally high-metal habitats (such as serpentine soils) and have adaptations that allow them to tolerate exposure to relatively high concentrations of some heavy metals. Some metallophyte plants are hyperaccumulators of certain heavy metals and new technologies using them to clean metal-contaminated soil (phytoextraction) may offer economically attractive solutions to some metal pollution challenges. These new technologies provide incentive to catalog and protect the unique biodiversity of habitats that have naturally high levels of heavy metals.

  11. Mercury in the Pelagic Food Web of Lake Champlain

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Celia; Kamman, Neil; Shanley, James; Chalmers, Ann; Jackson, Brian; Taylor, Vivien; Smeltzer, Eric; Stangel, Pete; Shambaugh, Angela

    2013-01-01

    Lake Champlain continues to experience mercury contamination resulting in public advisories to limit human consumption of top trophic level fish such as walleye. Prior research suggested that mercury levels in biota could be modified by differences in ecosystem productivity as well as mercury loadings. We investigated relationships between mercury in different trophic levels in Lake Champlain. We measured inorganic and methyl mercury in water, seston, and two size fractions of zooplankton from 13 sites representing a range of nutrient loading conditions and productivity. Biomass varied significantly across lake segments in all measured ecosystem compartments in response to significant differences in nutrient levels. Local environmental factors such as alkalinity influenced the partitioning of mercury between water and seston. Mercury incorporation into biota was influenced by the biomass and mercury content of different ecosystem strata. Pelagic fish tissue mercury was a function of fish length and the size of the mercury pool associated with large zooplankton. We used these observations to parameterize a model of mercury transfers in the Lake Champlain food web that accounts for ecosystem productivity effects. Simulations using the mercury trophic transfer model suggest that reductions of 25 to 75% in summertime dissolved eplimnetic total mercury will likely allow fish tissue mercury concentrations to drop to the target level of 0.3 µg g−1 in a 40-cm fish in all lake segments. Changes in nutrient loading and ecosystem productivity in eutrophic segments may delay any response to reduced dissolved mercury and may result in increases in fish tissue mercury. PMID:22193540

  12. 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.

  13. A unifying approach for food webs, phylogeny, social networks, and statistics

    PubMed Central

    Chiu, Grace S.; Westveld, Anton H.

    2011-01-01

    A food web consists of nodes, each consisting of one or more species. The role of each node as predator or prey determines the trophic relations that weave the web. Much effort in trophic food web research is given to understand the connectivity structure, or the nature and degree of dependence among nodes. Social network analysis (SNA) techniques—quantitative methods commonly used in the social sciences to understand network relational structure—have been used for this purpose, although postanalysis effort or biological theory is still required to determine what natural factors contribute to the feeding behavior. Thus, a conventional SNA alone provides limited insight into trophic structure. Here we show that by using novel statistical modeling methodologies to express network links as the random response of within- and internode characteristics (predictors), we gain a much deeper understanding of food web structure and its contributing factors through a unified statistical SNA. We do so for eight empirical food webs: Phylogeny is shown to have nontrivial influence on trophic relations in many webs, and for each web trophic clustering based on feeding activity and on feeding preference can differ substantially. These and other conclusions about network features are purely empirical, based entirely on observed network attributes while accounting for biological information built directly into the model. Thus, statistical SNA techniques, through statistical inference for feeding activity and preference, provide an alternative perspective of trophic clustering to yield comprehensive insight into food web structure. PMID:21896716

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Peralta, Guadalupe; Frost, Carol M; Didham, Raphael K; Rand, Tatyana A; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2017-04-01

    Habitat fragmentation dramatically alters the spatial configuration of landscapes, with the creation of artificial edges affecting community structure and dynamics. Despite this, it is not known how the different food webs in adjacent habitats assemble at their boundaries. Here we demonstrate that the composition and structure of herbivore-parasitoid food webs across edges between native and plantation forests are not randomly assembled from those of the adjacent communities. Rather, elevated proportions of abundant, interaction-generalist parasitoid species at habitat edges allowed considerable interaction rewiring, which led to higher linkage density and less modular networks, with higher parasitoid functional redundancy. This was despite high overlap in host composition between edges and interiors. We also provide testable hypotheses for how food webs may assemble between habitats with lower species overlap. In an increasingly fragmented world, non-random assembly of food webs at edges may increasingly affect community dynamics at the landscape level.

  16. 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...

  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.

  18. 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

  19. δ15N-Size Relationships in River Invertebrate Communities: An Integrated Measure of Food web Structure?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, C.; Cabana, G.

    2005-05-01

    Anthropogenic perturbations can alter the composition and structure of benthic communities in rivers. Here, we examine the use of estimates of fish trophic position measured with stable nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N), and δ15N-size relationships for the invertebrate community, as indicators of food web structure in rivers affected by various anthropogenic disturbances. Results revealed that δ15N-size relationships of invertebrate communities showed a variety of responses, some sites (50%) showing significant increases in δ15N with invertebrate size, whereas others did not. Similarly, the number of trophic levels between invertebrate-eating fish and primary consumers varied greatly among study sites, ranging from 0.6 to 2.2 levels. To investigate whether these estimates of fish trophic position integrated changes in invertebrate community structure, we compared slopes of invertebrate δ15N versus size with slopes of baseline-corrected fish δ15N versus size. Both slopes tended to be correlated, although the relationship was not significant (r2 = 0.26, p = 0.07). This trend suggests, however, that invertebrate-feeding fish trophic position measured with δ15N might reflect overall community structure, and could possibly be used as an easily measured indicator of food chain collapse following anthropogenic perturbations.

  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. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Consumption processes and food web structure in the Columbia River Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simenstad, Charles A.; Small, Lawrence F.; David McIntire, C.

    Consumption processes at several trophic levels tend to coverage in the central (estuarine-mixing) region of the Columbia River estuary, where living and dentrital food resources are entrained within the energy null of the turbidity maximum zone. Primary consumers in this region are generalist and omnivorous feeders, capable of exploiting both autotrophic and heterotrophic food web pathways. In the presence of higher standing stocks of their prey resources, feeding by secondary and tertiary consumers is also concentrated, or more effective, in the estuarine mixing region of the estuary. During the 1980-1981 studies of the estuary, total consumer (metazoan) production averaged 5.5g C m -2 within the estuary. Of the estimated 15 x 10 3mt Cyy -1 attributed to primary consumption in the water column, 83% was the result of suspension-feeding pelagic zooplankton. In comparison to grazing on phytoplankton, it was estimated that approximately 84% of primary consumption in the water column was based on suspended detritus and, presumably, associated microbiota. Endemic primary,consumers, principally epibenthic crustaceans such as the calanoid copepod Eurytemora affinis, the harpacticoid copepod Scottolana canadensis, and the crangonid shrimp Crangon franciscorum, accounted for a high proportion of the consumption of suspended particles. Wertland herbivores inhabiting the estuary's extensive marshes, on the other hand, were estimated to account for only 2 to 17% of total estuarine primary consumption. Trophic linkages to secondary and tertiary consumers were more evenly apportioned among pelagic fishes, motile macroinvertebrates, and benthic infauna. High, comparatively unknown fluxes of migratory or wide-ranging tertiary consumers, such as piscivorous birds, seals and sea lions, made estimation of their annual consumption rates in the estuary highly tenuous. The physical processes of mixing and stratification, sediments accretion and erosion, and salinity intrusion appear to

  4. Development of a multichemical food web model: application to PBDEs in Lake Ellasjoen, Bear Island, Norway.

    PubMed

    Gandhi, Nilima; Bhavsar, Satyendra P; Gewurtz, Sarah B; Diamond, Miriam L; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm N; Gregor, Dennis

    2006-08-01

    A multichemical food web model has been developed to estimate the biomagnification of interconverting chemicals in aquatic food webs. We extended a fugacity-based food web model for single chemicals to account for reversible and irreversible biotransformation among a parent chemical and transformation products, by simultaneously solving mass balance equations of the chemicals using a matrix solution. The model can be applied to any number of chemicals and organisms or taxonomic groups in a food web. The model was illustratively applied to four PBDE congeners, BDE-47, -99, -100, and -153, in the food web of Lake Ellasjøen, Bear Island, Norway. In Ellasjøen arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), the multichemical model estimated PBDE biotransformation from higher to lower brominated congeners and improved the correspondence between estimated and measured concentrations in comparison to estimates from the single-chemical food web model. The underestimation of BDE-47, even after considering bioformation due to biotransformation of the otherthree congeners, suggests its formation from additional biotransformation pathways not considered in this application. The model estimates approximate values for congener-specific biotransformation half-lives of 5.7,0.8,1.14, and 0.45 years for BDE-47, -99, -100, and -153, respectively, in large arctic char (S. alpinus) of Lake Ellasjøen.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

    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.

  6. Trophic magnification of Dechlorane Plus in the marine food webs of Fildes Peninsula in Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Na, Guangshui; Yao, Yao; Gao, Hui; Li, Ruijing; Ge, Linke; Titaley, Ivan A; Santiago-Delgado, Lisandra; Massey Simonich, Staci L

    2017-02-14

    The food web composition, assimilation efficiency of Dechlorane Plus (DP) in food web components, and even extrinsic conditions can affect the trophic biomagnification potentials of DP isomers in food webs. Antarctica ecological system is characterized by the presence of few consumers and simple trophic levels (TLs), which are crucial in discussing the behavior of contaminants. To assess the biomagnification potential of DP in the Antarctic food web, nine representative species were sampled and analyzed from the Fildes Peninsula. Results showed the DP concentrations ranged from 0.25ngg(-1) to 6.81ngg(-1) lipid weight in Antarctic biota and the concentrations of anti-DP and syn-DP showed significantly positive correlations with TLs (p<0.05, ra=0.85; rs=0.81, respectively), suggesting that syn-DP and anti-DP underwent biomagnification and the biomagnification ability of anti-DP was higher than that of syn-DP. The anti-DP fraction (anti-DP/∑DP) (ƒanti=0.23-0.53) of the organisms was lower than that of commercial products (ƒanti=0.68), demonstrating ƒanti was changed during long-range atmospheric transport or stereoselection enrichment through the food web. Furthermore, based on food web magnification factors (FWMF) comparison between DP and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the biomagnification potential of DP was found to be similar to that of highly chlorinated PCBs.

  7. 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

  8. Anthropogenic shift of planktonic food web structure in a coastal lagoon by freshwater flow regulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemraj, Deevesh A.; Hossain, A.; Ye, Qifeng; Qin, Jian G.; Leterme, Sophie C.

    2017-03-01

    Anthropogenic modification of aquatic systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem states. To reverse the adverse effects of modified freshwater flow, adequate management of discharge is required, especially due to higher water requirements and abstractions for human use. Here, we look at the effects of anthropogenically controlled freshwater flow regimes on the planktonic food web of a Ramsar listed coastal lagoon that is under recovery from degradation. Our results show shifts in water quality and plankton community interactions associated to changes in water flow. These shifts in food web interactions represent modifications in habitat complexity and water quality. At high flow, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions dominate the food web. Conversely, at low flow, bacteria, viruses and nano/picoplankton interactions are more dominant, with a substantial switch of the food web towards heterotrophy. This switch can be associated with excess organic matter loading, decomposition of dead organisms, and synergistic and antagonistic interactions. We suggest that a lower variability in flow amplitude could be beneficial for the long-term sustaining of water quality and food web interactions, while improving the ecosystem health of systems facing similar stresses as the Coorong.

  9. 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

    2016-02-17

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Anthropogenic shift of planktonic food web structure in a coastal lagoon by freshwater flow regulation

    PubMed Central

    Hemraj, Deevesh A.; Hossain, A.; Ye, Qifeng; Qin, Jian G.; Leterme, Sophie C.

    2017-01-01

    Anthropogenic modification of aquatic systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem states. To reverse the adverse effects of modified freshwater flow, adequate management of discharge is required, especially due to higher water requirements and abstractions for human use. Here, we look at the effects of anthropogenically controlled freshwater flow regimes on the planktonic food web of a Ramsar listed coastal lagoon that is under recovery from degradation. Our results show shifts in water quality and plankton community interactions associated to changes in water flow. These shifts in food web interactions represent modifications in habitat complexity and water quality. At high flow, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions dominate the food web. Conversely, at low flow, bacteria, viruses and nano/picoplankton interactions are more dominant, with a substantial switch of the food web towards heterotrophy. This switch can be associated with excess organic matter loading, decomposition of dead organisms, and synergistic and antagonistic interactions. We suggest that a lower variability in flow amplitude could be beneficial for the long-term sustaining of water quality and food web interactions, while improving the ecosystem health of systems facing similar stresses as the Coorong. PMID:28327643

  12. Anthropogenic shift of planktonic food web structure in a coastal lagoon by freshwater flow regulation.

    PubMed

    Hemraj, Deevesh A; Hossain, A; Ye, Qifeng; Qin, Jian G; Leterme, Sophie C

    2017-03-22

    Anthropogenic modification of aquatic systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem states. To reverse the adverse effects of modified freshwater flow, adequate management of discharge is required, especially due to higher water requirements and abstractions for human use. Here, we look at the effects of anthropogenically controlled freshwater flow regimes on the planktonic food web of a Ramsar listed coastal lagoon that is under recovery from degradation. Our results show shifts in water quality and plankton community interactions associated to changes in water flow. These shifts in food web interactions represent modifications in habitat complexity and water quality. At high flow, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions dominate the food web. Conversely, at low flow, bacteria, viruses and nano/picoplankton interactions are more dominant, with a substantial switch of the food web towards heterotrophy. This switch can be associated with excess organic matter loading, decomposition of dead organisms, and synergistic and antagonistic interactions. We suggest that a lower variability in flow amplitude could be beneficial for the long-term sustaining of water quality and food web interactions, while improving the ecosystem health of systems facing similar stresses as the Coorong.

  13. 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.

  14. Inferring chemical effects on carbon flows in aquatic food webs: methodology and case study.

    PubMed

    De Laender, Frederik; Soetaert, K; Middelburg, J J

    2010-05-01

    The majority of ecotoxicological enclosure experiments monitor species abundances at different chemical concentrations. Here, we present a new modelling approach that estimates changes in food web flows from such data and show that population- and food web level effects are revealed that are not apparent from abundance data alone. For the case of cypermethrin in freshwater enclosures, photosynthesis and excretion (d(-1)) of phytoplankton at 3.643 microg L(-1) cypermethrin were 30% lower and 100% higher than in the control, respectively. The ingestion rate of mesozooplankton (d(-1)) was 6 times higher in the treated enclosures than in the control as food concentration increased with insecticide exposure. With increasing cypermethrin concentrations, nanoflagellates progressively relied on phytoplankton as their main food source, which rendered the food web less stable. We conclude that this tool has excellent potential to analyse the wealth of enclosure data as it only needs species abundance and general constraints.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Stable nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids reveals food web structure in stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Naoto F; Kato, Yoshikazu; Togashi, Hiroyuki; Yoshimura, Mayumi; Yoshimizu, Chikage; Okuda, Noboru; Tayasu, Ichiro

    2014-07-01

    The stable N isotopic composition of individual amino acids (SIAA) has recently been used to estimate trophic positions (TPs) of animals in several simple food chain systems. However, it is unknown whether the SIAA is applicable to more complex food web analysis. In this study we measured the SIAA of stream macroinvertebrates, fishes, and their potential food sources (periphyton and leaf litter of terrestrial C3 plants) collected from upper and lower sites in two streams having contrasting riparian landscapes. The stable N isotope ratios of glutamic acid and phenylalanine confirmed that for primary producers (periphyton and C3 litter) the TP was 1, and for primary consumers (e.g., mayfly and caddisfly larvae) it was 2. We built a two-source mixing model to estimate the relative contributions of aquatic and terrestrial sources to secondary and higher consumers (e.g., stonefly larva and fishes) prior to the TP calculation. The estimated TPs (2.3-3.5) roughly corresponded to their omnivorous and carnivorous feeding habits, respectively. We found that the SIAA method offers substantial advantages over traditional bulk method for food web analysis because it defines the food web structure based on the metabolic pathway of amino groups, and can be used to estimate food web structure under conditions where the bulk method cannot be used. Our result provides evidence that the SIAA method is applicable to the analysis of complex food webs, where heterogeneous resources are mixed.

  18. Ecosystem structure and fishing impacts in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea using a food web model within a comparative approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corrales, Xavier; Coll, Marta; Tecchio, Samuele; Bellido, José María; Fernández, Ángel Mario; Palomera, Isabel

    2015-08-01

    We developed an ecological model to characterize the structure and functioning of the marine continental shelf and slope area of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, from Toulon to Cape La Nao (NWM model), in the early 2000s. The model included previously modeled areas in the NW Mediterranean (the Gulf of Lions and the Southern Catalan Sea) and expanded their ranges, covering 45,547 km2, with depths from 0 to 1000 m. The study area was chosen to specifically account for the connectivity between the areas and shared fish stocks and fleets. Input data were based on local scientific surveys and fishing statistics, published data on stomach content analyses, and the application of empirical equations to estimate consumption and production rates. The model was composed of 54 functional groups, from primary producers to top predators, and Spanish and French fishing fleets were considered. Results were analyzed using ecological indicators and compared with outputs from ecosystem models developed in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Cadiz prior to this study. Results showed that the main trophic flows were associated with detritus, phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates. Several high trophic level organisms (such as dolphins, benthopelagic cephalopods, large demersal fishes from the continental shelf, and other large pelagic fishes), and the herbivorous salema fish, were identified as keystone groups within the ecosystem. Results confirmed that fishing impact was high and widespread throughout the food web. The comparative approach highlighted that, despite productivity differences, the ecosystems shared common features in structure and functioning traits such as the important role of detritus, the dominance of the pelagic fraction in terms of flows and the importance of benthic-pelagic coupling.

  19. Brown trout and food web interactions in a Minnesota stream

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zimmerman, J.K.H.; Vondracek, B.

    2007-01-01

    1. We examined indirect, community-level interactions in a stream that contained non-native brown trout (Salmo trutta Linnaeus), native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis Mitchill) and native slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus Richardson). Our objectives were to examine benthic invertebrate composition and prey selection of fishes (measured by total invertebrate dry mass, dry mass of individual invertebrate taxa and relative proportion of invertebrate taxa in the benthos and diet) among treatments (no fish, juvenile brook trout alone, juvenile brown trout alone, sculpin with brook trout and sculpin with brown trout). 2. We assigned treatments to 1 m2 enclosures/exclosures placed in riffles in Valley Creek, Minnesota, and conducted six experimental trials. We used three designs of fish densities (addition of trout to a constant number of sculpin with unequal numbers of trout and sculpin; addition of trout to a constant number of sculpin with equal numbers of trout and sculpin; and replacement of half the sculpin with an equal number of trout) to investigate the relative strength of interspecific versus intraspecific interactions. 3. Presence of fish (all three species, alone or in combined-species treatments) was not associated with changes in total dry mass of benthic invertebrates or shifts in relative abundance of benthic invertebrate taxa, regardless of fish density design. 4. Brook trout and sculpin diets did not change when each species was alone compared with treatments of both species together. Likewise, we did not find evidence for shifts in brown trout or sculpin diets when each species was alone or together. 5. We suggest that native brook trout and non-native brown trout fill similar niches in Valley Creek. We did not find evidence that either species had an effect on stream communities, potentially due to high invertebrate productivity in Valley Creek. ?? 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  20. Biomass Reallocation between Juveniles and Adults Mediates Food Web Stability by Distributing Energy Away from Strong Interactions.

    PubMed

    Caskenette, Amanda L; McCann, Kevin S

    2017-01-01

    Ecological theory has uncovered dynamical differences between food web modules (i.e. low species food web configurations) with only species-level links and food web modules that include within-species links (e.g. non-feeding links between mature and immature individuals) and has argued that these differences ought to cause food web theory that includes within-species links to contrast with classical food web theory. It is unclear, however, if life-history will affect the observed connection between interaction strength and stability in species-level theory. We show that when the predator in a species-level food chain is split into juvenile and adult stages using a simple nested approach, stage-structure can mute potentially strong interactions through the transfer of biomass within a species. Within-species biomass transfer distributes energy away from strong interactions promoting increased system stability consistent with classical food web theory.

  1. Biomass Reallocation between Juveniles and Adults Mediates Food Web Stability by Distributing Energy Away from Strong Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Caskenette, Amanda L.; McCann, Kevin S.

    2017-01-01

    Ecological theory has uncovered dynamical differences between food web modules (i.e. low species food web configurations) with only species-level links and food web modules that include within-species links (e.g. non-feeding links between mature and immature individuals) and has argued that these differences ought to cause food web theory that includes within-species links to contrast with classical food web theory. It is unclear, however, if life-history will affect the observed connection between interaction strength and stability in species-level theory. We show that when the predator in a species-level food chain is split into juvenile and adult stages using a simple nested approach, stage-structure can mute potentially strong interactions through the transfer of biomass within a species. Within-species biomass transfer distributes energy away from strong interactions promoting increased system stability consistent with classical food web theory. PMID:28114339

  2. Lateral cascade of indirect effects in food webs with different types of adaptive behavior.

    PubMed

    Kamran-Disfani, Ahmad R; Golubski, Antonio J

    2013-12-21

    It is widely recognized that indirect effects due to adaptive behaviors can have important effects on food webs. One consequence may be to change how readily perturbations propagate through the web, because species' behaviors as well as densities may respond to perturbations. It is not well understood which types of behavior are more likely to facilitate versus inhibit propagation of disturbances through a food web, or how this might be affected by the shape of a food web or the patterns of interaction strengths within it. We model two simple, laterally expanded food webs (one with three trophic levels and one with four), and compare how various adaptive behaviors affect the potential for a newly introduced predator to change the equilibrium densities of distant species. Patterns of changes in response to the introduction were qualitatively similar across most models, as were the ways in which patterns of direct interaction strengths affected those responses. Depending on both the web structure and the specific adaptive behavior, the potential for density changes to propagate through the web could be either increased or diminished relative to the no-behavior model. Two behaviors allowed density changes to propagate through a four-level web that precluded such propagation in the no-behavior model, and each of these two behaviors led to qualitatively different patterns of density changes. In the one model (diet choice) in which density changes were able to propagate in both web structures, patterns of density changes differed qualitatively between webs. Some of our results flowed from the fact that behaviors did not interact directly in the systems we considered, so that indirect effects on distant species had to be at least partly density-mediated. Our models highlight this as an inherent limitation of considering in isolation behaviors that are strictly foraging-related or strictly defense-related, making a case for the value of simultaneously considering multiple

  3. 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…

  4. Reconciling the role of terrestrial leaves in pond food webs: a whole-ecosystem experiment.

    PubMed

    Holgerson, Meredith A; Post, David M; Skelly, David K

    2016-07-01

    Terrestrial carbon and nutrients can subsidize the detrital pool of freshwater ecosystems; yet, the importance of terrestrial subsidies to lake and pond food webs is uncertain and debated. Terrestrial detritus is expected to have the greatest impact on food webs when water bodies are small and shallow with low levels of incident light. Temporary forested ponds fit this description and are often assumed to have a leaf detritus-based food web, but this has not been quantified. In a whole-ecosystem experiment, we traced the flow of isotopically enriched leaf litter to primary producers and consumers in a small, forested pond. We found that terrestrial leaves provided nutrients to algae, offering an indirect pathway in which leaf litter can enter the food web. Terrestrial leaves were also consumed directly, and larval caddisfly (Limnephilus sp.) shredders likely mobilized leaf nutrients to other consumers, a process overlooked in many previous small-scale experiments that did not incorporate shredders. Unexpectedly, most consumers relied heavily upon algal food pathways despite low light and net heterotrophic conditions. Overall, our study highlights the interconnectedness of algal and leaf litter pathways in small pond food webs, and emphasizes that algal pathways are prevalent and important even in small, shaded ponds with high loads of terrestrial leaf litter.

  5. Trophic Magnification of Parabens and Their Metabolites in a Subtropical Marine Food Web.

    PubMed

    Xue, Xiaohong; Xue, Jingchuan; Liu, Wenbin; Adams, Douglas H; Kannan, Kurunthachalam

    2017-01-17

    Despite the widespread use of parabens in a range of consumer products, little is known about bioaccumulation of these chemicals in aquatic environments. In this study, six parabens and four of their common metabolites were measured in abiotic (water, sediment) and biotic (fish including sharks, invertebrates, plants) samples collected from a subtropical marine food web in coastal Florida. Methyl paraben (MeP) was found in all abiotic (100%) and a majority of biotic (87%) samples. 4-Hydroxy benzoic acid (4-HB) was the most abundant metabolite, found in 97% of biotic and all abiotic samples analyzed. The food chain accumulation of MeP and 4-HB was investigated for this food web. The trophic magnification factor (TMF) of MeP was estimated to be 1.83, which suggests considerable bioaccumulation and biomagnification of this compound in the marine food web. In contrast, a low TMF value was found for 4-HB (0.30), indicating that this compound is metabolized and excreted along the food web. This is the first study to document the widespread occurrence of parabens and their metabolites in fish, invertebrates, seagrasses, marine macroalgae, mangroves, seawater, and ocean sediments and to elucidate biomagnification potential of MeP in a marine food web.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. FoodPro: A Web-Based Tool for Evaluating Covariance and Correlation NMR Spectra Associated with Food Processes.

    PubMed

    Chikayama, Eisuke; Yamashina, Ryo; Komatsu, Keiko; Tsuboi, Yuuri; Sakata, Kenji; Kikuchi, Jun; Sekiyama, Yasuyo

    2016-10-19

    Foods from agriculture and fishery products are processed using various technologies. Molecular mixture analysis during food processing has the potential to help us understand the molecular mechanisms involved, thus enabling better cooking of the analyzed foods. To date, there has been no web-based tool focusing on accumulating Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectra from various types of food processing. Therefore, we have developed a novel web-based tool, FoodPro, that includes a food NMR spectrum database and computes covariance and correlation spectra to tasting and hardness. As a result, FoodPro has accumulated 236 aqueous (extracted in D₂O) and 131 hydrophobic (extracted in CDCl₃) experimental bench-top 60-MHz NMR spectra, 1753 tastings scored by volunteers, and 139 hardness measurements recorded by a penetrometer, all placed into a core database. The database content was roughly classified into fish and vegetable groups from the viewpoint of different spectrum patterns. FoodPro can query a user food NMR spectrum, search similar NMR spectra with a specified similarity threshold, and then compute estimated tasting and hardness, covariance, and correlation spectra to tasting and hardness. Querying fish spectra exemplified specific covariance spectra to tasting and hardness, giving positive covariance for tasting at 1.31 ppm for lactate and 3.47 ppm for glucose and a positive covariance for hardness at 3.26 ppm for trimethylamine N-oxide.

  11. FoodPro: A Web-Based Tool for Evaluating Covariance and Correlation NMR Spectra Associated with Food Processes

    PubMed Central

    Chikayama, Eisuke; Yamashina, Ryo; Komatsu, Keiko; Tsuboi, Yuuri; Sakata, Kenji; Kikuchi, Jun; Sekiyama, Yasuyo

    2016-01-01

    Foods from agriculture and fishery products are processed using various technologies. Molecular mixture analysis during food processing has the potential to help us understand the molecular mechanisms involved, thus enabling better cooking of the analyzed foods. To date, there has been no web-based tool focusing on accumulating Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectra from various types of food processing. Therefore, we have developed a novel web-based tool, FoodPro, that includes a food NMR spectrum database and computes covariance and correlation spectra to tasting and hardness. As a result, FoodPro has accumulated 236 aqueous (extracted in D2O) and 131 hydrophobic (extracted in CDCl3) experimental bench-top 60-MHz NMR spectra, 1753 tastings scored by volunteers, and 139 hardness measurements recorded by a penetrometer, all placed into a core database. The database content was roughly classified into fish and vegetable groups from the viewpoint of different spectrum patterns. FoodPro can query a user food NMR spectrum, search similar NMR spectra with a specified similarity threshold, and then compute estimated tasting and hardness, covariance, and correlation spectra to tasting and hardness. Querying fish spectra exemplified specific covariance spectra to tasting and hardness, giving positive covariance for tasting at 1.31 ppm for lactate and 3.47 ppm for glucose and a positive covariance for hardness at 3.26 ppm for trimethylamine N-oxide. PMID:27775560

  12. Structure and dynamics of food webs in the water column on shelf and slope grounds of the western Mediterranean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valls, M.; Sweeting, C. J.; Olivar, M. P.; Fernández de Puelles, M. L.; Pasqual, C.; Polunin, N. V. C.; Quetglas, A.

    2014-10-01

    Benthic-pelagic coupling is an important process connecting species throughout the water column, particularly, in deep-sea systems where faunal assemblages can be dense if indirectly sustained by production from the above. Through stable isotope analyses, this study explored the sources of production, trophic structure, and bentho-pelagic coupling in two locations with contrasting oceanographic conditions from the western Mediterranean, in the Balearic (BsB) and the Algerian (AsB) sub-basins. The samples of 89 dominant species (23 decapods, 19 cephalopods, 33 fishes, among the other taxa), inhabiting the hyperbenthic and pelagic domains, from the shelf break (250 m), upper slope (650 m), and middle slope (850 m) were analyzed. Results suggested long food webs of approximately four trophic levels (TrLs) that were sustained by planktonic source material in shallower waters and degraded particulate organic matter of planktonic origin in deeper waters. Most of the collected species (70%) occupied intermediate trophic positions between the 3rd and 4th TrLs. The species δ15N and δ13C values exhibited a broad range, consistent with the high diversity that might be attributed to the oligotrophic conditions. As the depth increased, stronger segregation occurred between the trophic groups, and spatial differences were found among consumers of the two locations. Species in the AsB always had consistently higher δ15N values than in the BsB, which could possibly be attributed to the basal δ15N that was present through the food web. Despite the contrasting basin characteristics, a similarly close bentho-pelagic coupling pattern was observed at both locations, except at the deepest ground, especially at the AsB, where the mean δ13C values from the hyperbenthic and pelagic compartments were more distant. This could be related to the higher degree of reworking of organic matter in the AsB. Overall, these findings suggested the need for a depth-stratified approach to analyze

  13. Spatial variation in organic matter utilization by benthic communities from Yura River-Estuary to offshore of Tango Sea, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonio, Emily S.; Kasai, Akihide; Ueno, Masahiro; Won, Nam-il; Ishihi, Yuka; Yokoyama, Hisashi; Yamashita, Yoh

    2010-01-01

    We investigated the distribution of δ 13C and δ 15N of organic matter among benthic communities from the upper estuary of Yura River to offshore of Tango Sea, Japan, to determine spatial variation in utilization of organic matter by benthic communities. The δ 13C values of benthic animals ranged from -27 to -15‰ in the upper estuary, -21 to -15‰ in the lower estuary, -20 to -16‰ in the shallow coast (5-10 m depths), -18 to -16‰ in the deep coast (30-60 m depths) and -19 to -15‰ in offshore (100-150 m depths) stations. Adapting the dual isotope values to mixing models, we estimated the relative contributions of potential food sources to the benthos diet. Phytoplankton and macroalgae that intruded the estuary in summer were utilized as alternative food aside from the terrestrial-origin organic matter assimilated by the estuarine benthic consumers. Resuspended benthic microalgae were important source of energy in the shallow coastal stations, while abundant supply of phytodetritus fueled the deep coastal and offshore benthic food webs. Spatial difference in the diet of benthic communities depends largely on the shifts in the primary carbon source. Thus, benthic communities are important link of autochthonous/allochthonous production and secondary production in the continuous river-estuary-marine system.

  14. Arsenic, cobalt and chromium food web biodilution in a Patagonia mountain lake.

    PubMed

    Revenga, J E; Campbell, L M; Arribére, M A; Ribeiro Guevara, S

    2012-07-01

    Mussels, Diplon chilensis, from Lake Moreno, a double-basined mountain lake in southern Argentina, is known to have elevated concentrations of chromium (Cr, > 25 μg g⁻¹ dry weight DW) and arsenic (As, 35 μg g⁻¹ DW), attributed to untreated sewage. To further understand the trophodynamics of Cr, As and cobalt (Co), we investigated concentrations and transfer throughout the food web in each basin of Lake Moreno. Each basin differs in morphology in that the gently-sloping Lake Moreno West has more littoral habitat than deeper Lake Moreno East with its higher proportion of pelagic habitat. Despite the morphological differences, both basins share similar water quality parameters and species assemblages. As a result, Lake Moreno provides an exceptional opportunity to compare trophodynamics of elements that enable us to hypothesize pelagic-littoral habitat coupling in response to lake morphology as the underlying factor influencing both Cr pathway and Co and As trophodynamic modeling. Using stable isotopes of nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) and carbon (δ¹³C) to characterize metals trophodynamics in each basin, biodilution of As, Cr and Co were indicated by negative regressions. This is confirmed by elevated As, Co and Cr concentrations in phytoplankton (11.3±5.7, 7.4±4.9, 44.5±40.7 μg g⁻¹ DW respectively), while zooplankton and biofilm had the next elevated concentrations. Those elevated concentrations are in contrast with lower concentrations in sport fish such as rainbow trout (0.5±0.5, 0.2±0.3, 1.8±1.2 μg g⁻¹ DW). Higher concentrations of Cr in fish were associated with higher proportion of benthic/littoral prey items in western basin, and were confirmed by significant correlation with δ¹³C values. Arsenic, Co and Cr concentrations in fish, while elevated, do not post health risks to human or wildlife consumers.

  15. Comparative biomass structure and estimated carbon flow in food webs in the deep Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowe, Gilbert T.; Wei, Chihlin; Nunnally, Clifton; Haedrich, Richard; Montagna, Paul; Baguley, Jeffrey G.; Bernhard, Joan M.; Wicksten, Mary; Ammons, Archie; Briones, Elva Escobar; Soliman, Yousra; Deming, Jody W.

    2008-12-01

    A budget of the standing stocks and cycling of organic carbon associated with the sea floor has been generated for seven sites across a 3-km depth gradient in the NE Gulf of Mexico, based on a series of reports by co-authors on specific biotic groups or processes. The standing stocks measured at each site were bacteria, Foraminifera, metazoan meiofauna, macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna, and demersal fishes. Sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC) by the sediment-dwelling organisms was measured at each site using a remotely deployed benthic lander, profiles of oxygen concentration in the sediment pore water of recovered cores and ship-board core incubations. The long-term incorporation and burial of organic carbon into the sediments has been estimated using profiles of a combination of stable and radiocarbon isotopes. The total stock estimates, carbon burial, and the SCOC allowed estimates of living and detrital carbon residence time within the sediments, illustrating that the total biota turns over on time scales of months on the upper continental slope but this is extended to years on the abyssal plain at 3.6 km depth. The detrital carbon turnover is many times longer, however, over the same depths. A composite carbon budget illustrates that total carbon biomass and associated fluxes declined precipitously with increasing depth. Imbalances in the carbon budgets suggest that organic detritus is exported from the upper continental slope to greater depths offshore. The respiration of each individual "size" or functional group within the community has been estimated from allometric models, supplemented by direct measurements in the laboratory. The respiration and standing stocks were incorporated into budgets of carbon flow through and between the different size groups in hypothetical food webs. The decline in stocks and respiration with depth were more abrupt in the larger forms (fishes and megafauna), resulting in an increase in the relative predominance of

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    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

    2016-01-01

    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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Legacy effects of drought on plant growth and the soil food web.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Franciska Trijntje; Liiri, Mira E; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Setälä, Heikki M; Christensen, Søren; Bardgett, Richard D

    2012-11-01

    Soils deliver important ecosystem services, such as nutrient provision for plants and the storage of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N), which are greatly impacted by drought. Both plants and soil biota affect soil C and N availability, which might in turn affect their response to drought, offering the potential to feed back on each other's performance. In a greenhouse experiment, we compared legacy effects of repeated drought on plant growth and the soil food web in two contrasting land-use systems: extensively managed grassland, rich in C and with a fungal-based food web, and intensively managed wheat lower in C and with a bacterial-based food web. Moreover, we assessed the effect of plant presence on the recovery of the soil food web after drought. Drought legacy effects increased plant growth in both systems, and a plant strongly reduced N leaching. Fungi, bacteria, and their predators were more resilient after drought in the grassland soil than in the wheat soil. The presence of a plant strongly affected the composition of the soil food web, and alleviated the effects of drought for most trophic groups, regardless of the system. This effect was stronger for the bottom trophic levels, whose resilience was positively correlated to soil available C. Our results show that plant belowground inputs have the potential to affect the recovery of belowground communities after drought, with implications for the functions they perform, such as C and N cycling.

  2. Stability of complex food webs: resilience, resistance and the average interaction strength.

    PubMed

    Vallina, Sergio M; Le Quéré, Corinne

    2011-03-07

    In the face of stochastic climatic perturbations, the overall stability of an ecosystem will be determined by the balance between its resilience and its resistance, but their relative importance is still unknown. Using aquatic food web models we study ecosystem stability as a function of food web complexity. We measured three dynamical stability properties: resilience, resistance, and variability. Specifically, we evaluate how a decrease in the strength of predator-prey interactions with food web complexity, reflecting a decrease in predation efficiency with the number of prey per predator, affects the overall stability of the ecosystem. We find that in mass conservative ecosystems, a lower interaction strength slows down the mass cycling rate in the system and this increases its resistance to perturbations of the growth rate of primary producers. Furthermore, we show that the overall stability of the food webs is mostly given by their resistance, and not by their resilience. Resilience and resistance display opposite trends, although they are shown not to be simply opposite concepts but rather independent properties. The ecological implication is that weaker predator-prey interactions in closed ecosystems can stabilize food web dynamics by increasing its resistance to climatic perturbations.

  3. Linking water quality and quantity in environmental flow assessment in deteriorated ecosystems: a food web view.

    PubMed

    Chen, He; Ma, Lekuan; Guo, Wei; Yang, Ying; Guo, Tong; Feng, Cheng

    2013-01-01

    Most rivers worldwide are highly regulated by anthropogenic activities through flow regulation and water pollution. Environmental flow regulation is used to reduce the effects of anthropogenic activities on aquatic ecosystems. Formulating flow alteration-ecological response relationships is a key factor in environmental flow assessment. Traditional environmental flow models are characterized by natural relationships between flow regimes and ecosystem factors. However, food webs are often altered from natural states, which disturb environmental flow assessment in such ecosystems. In ecosystems deteriorated by heavy anthropogenic activities, the effects of environmental flow regulation on species are difficult to assess with current modeling approaches. Environmental flow management compels the development of tools that link flow regimes and food webs in an ecosystem. Food web approaches are more suitable for the task because they are more adaptive for disordered multiple species in a food web deteriorated by anthropogenic activities. This paper presents a global method of environmental flow assessment in deteriorated aquatic ecosystems. Linkages between flow regimes and food web dynamics are modeled by incorporating multiple species into an ecosystem to explore ecosystem-based environmental flow management. The approach allows scientists and water resources managers to analyze environmental flows in deteriorated ecosystems in an ecosystem-based way.

  4. Linking Water Quality and Quantity in Environmental Flow Assessment in Deteriorated Ecosystems: A Food Web View

    PubMed Central

    Chen, He; Ma, Lekuan; Guo, Wei; Yang, Ying; Guo, Tong; Feng, Cheng

    2013-01-01

    Most rivers worldwide are highly regulated by anthropogenic activities through flow regulation and water pollution. Environmental flow regulation is used to reduce the effects of anthropogenic activities on aquatic ecosystems. Formulating flow alteration–ecological response relationships is a key factor in environmental flow assessment. Traditional environmental flow models are characterized by natural relationships between flow regimes and ecosystem factors. However, food webs are often altered from natural states, which disturb environmental flow assessment in such ecosystems. In ecosystems deteriorated by heavy anthropogenic activities, the effects of environmental flow regulation on species are difficult to assess with current modeling approaches. Environmental flow management compels the development of tools that link flow regimes and food webs in an ecosystem. Food web approaches are more suitable for the task because they are more adaptive for disordered multiple species in a food web deteriorated by anthropogenic activities. This paper presents a global method of environmental flow assessment in deteriorated aquatic ecosystems. Linkages between flow regimes and food web dynamics are modeled by incorporating multiple species into an ecosystem to explore ecosystem-based environmental flow management. The approach allows scientists and water resources managers to analyze environmental flows in deteriorated ecosystems in an ecosystem-based way. PMID:23894669

  5. Food web accumulation of cyclic siloxanes in Lake Mjøsa, Norway.

    PubMed

    Borgå, Katrine; Fjeld, Eirik; Kierkegaard, Amelie; McLachlan, Michael S

    2012-06-05

    The biomagnification of the cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) and dodecamethylcyclohexatetrasiloxane (D6) was analyzed in the Lake Mjøsa food web in Norway from zooplankton and Mysis to planktivorous and piscivorous fish. The trophic magnification factor (TMF) for D5 was determined and compared with TMFs of several legacy contaminants: polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners 153 and 180, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners 47 and 99, and p,p'-DDE. D5 showed TMF significantly greater than 1, implying food web biomagnification (TMF = 2.28, CI: 1.22-4.29). This contrasts with two studies that reported TMF < 1, which may reflect variability in TMF between food webs. The Lake Mjøsa D5 TMF was sensitive to the species included at the higher trophic level; whole food web TMF differed from TMF excluding smelt (Osmerus eperlanus) or brown trout (Salmo trutta) (TMF(-SMELT) = 1.62, CI: 0.96-2.72; TMF(-TROUT) = 3.58, CI: 1.82-7.03). For legacy contaminants (e.g., PCB-153 and PCB-180), the TMFs were less sensitive to the food web composition, and a better model fit was obtained compared to D5. The differences in biomagnification behavior between D5 and the legacy contaminants suggest that the biomagnification of D5 is being governed by species-specific properties such as biotransformation rate or tissue distribution that differ from those of legacy contaminants.

  6. 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.

  7. Internet food marketing strategies aimed at children and adolescents: a content analysis of food and beverage brand web sites.

    PubMed

    Weber, Kristi; Story, Mary; Harnack, Lisa

    2006-09-01

    Americans are spending an increasing amount of time using "new media" like the Internet. There has been little research examining food and beverage Web sites' content and marketing practices, especially those that attract children and adolescents. The purpose of this study was to conduct a content analysis of food- and beverage-brand Web sites and the marketing techniques and advertising strategies present on these sites. The top five brands in eight food and beverage categories, 40 brands in total, were selected based on annual sales data from Brandweek magazine's annual "Superbrands" report. Data were collected using a standardized coding form. The results show a wide variety of Internet marketing techniques and advertising strategies targeting children and adolescents. "Advergaming" (games in which the advertised product is part of the game) was present on 63% of the Web sites. Half or more of the Web sites used cartoon characters (50%) or spokescharacters (55%), or had a specially designated children's area (58%) with a direct link from the homepage. With interactive media still in its developmental stage, there is a need to develop safeguards for children. Food and nutrition professionals need to advocate for responsible marketing techniques that will support the health of children.

  8. Rapid scavenging of jellyfish carcasses reveals the importance of gelatinous material to deep-sea food webs

    PubMed Central

    Sweetman, Andrew K.; Smith, Craig R.; Dale, Trine; Jones, Daniel O. B.

    2014-01-01

    Jellyfish blooms are common in many oceans, and anthropogenic changes appear to have increased their magnitude in some regions. Although mass falls of jellyfish carcasses have been observed recently at the deep seafloor, the dense necrophage aggregations and rapid consumption rates typical for vertebrate carrion have not been documented. This has led to a paradigm of limited energy transfer to higher trophic levels at jelly falls relative to vertebrate organic falls. We show from baited camera deployments in the Norwegian deep sea that dense aggregations of deep-sea scavengers (more than 1000 animals at peak densities) can rapidly form at jellyfish baits and consume entire jellyfish carcasses in 2.5 h. We also show that scavenging rates on jellyfish are not significantly different from fish carrion of similar mass, and reveal that scavenging communities typical for the NE Atlantic bathyal zone, including the Atlantic hagfish, galatheid crabs, decapod shrimp and lyssianasid amphipods, consume both types of carcasses. These rapid jellyfish carrion consumption rates suggest that the contribution of gelatinous material to organic fluxes may be seriously underestimated in some regions, because jelly falls may disappear much more rapidly than previously thought. Our results also demonstrate that the energy contained in gelatinous carrion can be efficiently incorporated into large numbers of deep-sea scavengers and food webs, lessening the expected impacts (e.g. smothering of the seafloor) of enhanced jellyfish production on deep-sea ecosystems and pelagic–benthic coupling. PMID:25320167

  9. Rapid scavenging of jellyfish carcasses reveals the importance of gelatinous material to deep-sea food webs.

    PubMed

    Sweetman, Andrew K; Smith, Craig R; Dale, Trine; Jones, Daniel O B

    2014-12-07

    Jellyfish blooms are common in many oceans, and anthropogenic changes appear to have increased their magnitude in some regions. Although mass falls of jellyfish carcasses have been observed recently at the deep seafloor, the dense necrophage aggregations and rapid consumption rates typical for vertebrate carrion have not been documented. This has led to a paradigm of limited energy transfer to higher trophic levels at jelly falls relative to vertebrate organic falls. We show from baited camera deployments in the Norwegian deep sea that dense aggregations of deep-sea scavengers (more than 1000 animals at peak densities) can rapidly form at jellyfish baits and consume entire jellyfish carcasses in 2.5 h. We also show that scavenging rates on jellyfish are not significantly different from fish carrion of similar mass, and reveal that scavenging communities typical for the NE Atlantic bathyal zone, including the Atlantic hagfish, galatheid crabs, decapod shrimp and lyssianasid amphipods, consume both types of carcasses. These rapid jellyfish carrion consumption rates suggest that the contribution of gelatinous material to organic fluxes may be seriously underestimated in some regions, because jelly falls may disappear much more rapidly than previously thought. Our results also demonstrate that the energy contained in gelatinous carrion can be efficiently incorporated into large numbers of deep-sea scavengers and food webs, lessening the expected impacts (e.g. smothering of the seafloor) of enhanced jellyfish production on deep-sea ecosystems and pelagic-benthic coupling.

  10. Experimental investigation of the effects of aromatic hydrocarbons on a sediment food web. University research initiative. Final draft report

    SciTech Connect

    Carman, K.R.; Fleeger, J.W.; Pomarico, S.M.; Conn, C.; Todaro, A.

    1994-07-01

    The influence of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) on a sedimentary salt-marsh food web was examined using microcosm and laboratory experiments that simulated natural conditions. Microcosms were dosed with concentrations of PAH-contaminated sediment collected from a produced water site at Pass Fourchon, LA. Bacterial activity and abundance were not influenced by PAH, but microalgal activity and physiological condition were. Grazing by copepods on benthic microalgae was not significantly influenced by PAH concentration, nor was the physiological condition of copepods. Meiofaunal community composition was influenced by PAH, as nematodes became disproportionally abundant, and the nauplius/copepod ratio increased in high-PAH treatments. Overall, sublethal effects of PAH were not pronounced at the concentrations (0.3 to 3.0 ppm) we examined. Fish-predation studies indicated that Leiostomus xanthurus could not detect PAH-contaminated sediments, and continued to feed normally when exposed to them. PAH contamination did not decrease the number of feeding strikes or sediment processing time. This lack of ability to discriminate between contaminated and uncontaminated sediments could have serious implications in terms of bioaccumulation of PAH (or other contaminants) by these bottom-feeding fish.

  11. Evaluating the effects of trophic complexity on a keystone predator by disassembling a partial intraguild predation food web.

    PubMed

    Davenport, Jon M; Chalcraft, David R

    2012-01-01

    1. Many taxa can be found in food webs that differ in trophic complexity, but it is unclear how trophic complexity affects the performance of particular taxa. In pond food webs, larvae of the salamander Ambystoma opacum occupy the intermediate predator trophic position in a partial intraguild predation (IGP) food web and can function as keystone predators. Larval A. opacum are also found in simpler food webs lacking either top predators or shared prey. 2. We conducted an experiment where a partial IGP food web was simplified, and we measured the growth and survival of larval A. opacum in each set of food webs. Partial IGP food webs that had either a low abundance or high abundance of total prey were also simplified by independently removing top predators and/or shared prey. 3. Removing top predators always increased A. opacum survival, but removal of shared prey had no effect on A. opacum survival, regardless of total prey abundance. 4. Surprisingly, food web simplification had no effect on the growth of A. opacum when present in food webs with a low abundance of prey but had important effects on A. opacum growth in food webs with a high abundance of prey. Simplifying a partial IGP food web with a high abundance of prey reduced A. opacum growth when either top predators or shared prey were removed from the food web and the loss of top predators and shared prey influenced A. opacum growth in a non-additive fashion. 5. The non-additive response in A. opacum growth appears to be the result of supplemental prey availability augmenting the beneficial effects of top predators. Top predators had a beneficial effect on A. opacum populations by reducing the abundance of A. opacum present and thereby reducing the intensity of intraspecific competition. 6. Our study indicates that the effects of food web simplification on the performance of A. opacum are complex and depend on both how a partial IGP food web is simplified and how abundant prey are in the food web. These

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Topographically driven predictions for river food webs: responses to land cover and climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, M. E.; Dietrich, W. E.; Finlay, J. C.; Bode, C. A.; Hondzo, M.; Limm, M.; National CenterEarth Surface Dynamics

    2011-12-01

    Fluxes of materials and energy, as well as the performances and interactions of organisms in food webs are strongly influenced by topography and vegetation. We have been using a "predictive mapping" approach to investigate how resource fluxes and food web interactions change down the Eel River drainage network in Northwestern California. In this talk, I will focus on hydrologic and food web controls on the production and fate of dominant primary producers in the river (macroalgae, diatoms and cyanobacteria). Algal mediated processes (e.g. nitrogen-fixation) and processes that limit algal abundance (e.g. grazer control) change abruptly through the season and down drainage networks. Field surveys and mensurative experiments that map the drainage network positions of these changes, and manipulative field experiments that uncover their causes, set the stage for predictive mapping, which is necessary if not sufficient for forecasts of river ecosystem response to changes in climate, land use, or biota.

  17. Benthic algal production across lake size gradients: interactions among morphometry, nutrients, and light.

    PubMed

    Vadeboncoeur, Yvonne; Peterson, Garry; Vander Zanden, M Jake; Kalff, Jacob

    2008-09-01

    Attached algae play a minor role in conceptual and empirical models of lake ecosystem function but paradoxically form the energetic base of food webs that support a wide variety of fishes. To explore the apparent mismatch between perceived limits on contributions of periphyton to whole-lake primary production and its importance to consumers, we modeled the contribution of periphyton to whole-ecosystem primary production across lake size, shape, and nutrient gradients. The distribution of available benthic habitat for periphyton is influenced by the ratio of mean depth to maximum depth (DR = z/ z(max)). We modeled total phytoplankton production from water-column nutrient availability, z, and light. Periphyton production was a function of light-saturated photosynthesis (BPmax) and light availability at depth. The model demonstrated that depth ratio (DR) and light attenuation strongly determined the maximum possible contribution of benthic algae to lake production, and the benthic proportion of whole-lake primary production (BPf) declined with increasing nutrients. Shallow lakes (z < or =5 m) were insensitive to DR and were dominated by either benthic or pelagic primary productivity depending on trophic status. Moderately deep oligotrophic lakes had substantial contributions by benthic primary productivity at low depth ratios and when maximum benthic photosynthesis was moderate or high. Extremely large, deep lakes always had low fractional contributions of benthic primary production. An analysis of the world's largest lakes showed that the shapes of natural lakes shift increasingly toward lower depth ratios with increasing depth, maximizing the potential importance of littoral primary production in large-lake food webs. The repeatedly demonstrated importance of periphyton to lake food webs may reflect the combination of low depth ratios and high light penetration characteristic of large, oligotrophic lakes that in turn lead to substantial contributions of periphyton

  18. Biomagnification of persistent chlorinated and brominated contaminants in food web components of the Yellow Sea.

    PubMed

    Byun, Gyo-Hyuk; Moon, Hyo-Bang; Choi, Jung-Hwa; Hwang, Jeomshik; Kang, Chang-Keun

    2013-08-15

    Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were measured in 32 species inhabiting the Yellow Sea to assess their bioaccumulation potentials. The concentrations in these samples were lower than those reported for other countries or locations. Relatively high levels of BDE 209 in biota suggest an ongoing source of deca-BDE technical mixing within the Yellow Sea. The accumulation profiles of PCBs were uniform between species, but the concentrations of OCPs and PBDEs varied widely. Pelagic and benthic food-chain components were separated by their δ(13)C values. Significant positive correlations between δ(15)N and PCB 153, PCB 138, p,p'-DDE, oxy-chlordane, and trans-nonachlordane were found only for pelagic consumers, indicating that the pelagic food chain is an important bioaccumulation pathway for selected PCB and OCP compounds. The other compounds did not show any biomagnification through benthic and pelagic food chains, suggesting the lower bioaccumulation potentials of these contaminants.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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

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

    PubMed Central

    Baker, Danial E.

    2015-01-01

    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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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 organization

  4. 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

  5. The Serengeti food web: empirical quantification and analysis of topological changes under increasing human impact.

    PubMed

    de Visser, Sara N; Freymann, Bernd P; Olff, Han

    2011-03-01

    1. To address effects of land use and human overexploitation on wildlife populations, it is essential to better understand how human activities have changed species composition, diversity and functioning. Theoretical studies modelled how network properties change under human-induced, non-random species loss. However, we lack data on realistic species-loss sequences in threatened, real-world food webs to parameterize these models. 2. Here, we present a first size-structured topological food web of one of the most pristine terrestrial ecosystems in the world, the Serengeti ecosystem (Tanzania). The food web consists of 95 grouped nodes and includes both invertebrates and vertebrates ranging from body masses between 10(-7) and 10(4) kg. 3. We study the topological changes in this food web that result from the simulated IUCN-based species-loss sequence representing current species vulnerability to human disturbances in and around this savanna ecosystem. We then compare this realistic extinction scenario with other extinction sequences based on body size and connectance and perform an analysis of robustness of this savanna food web. 4. We demonstrate that real-world species loss in this case starts with the biggest (mega) herbivores and top predators, causing higher predator-prey mass ratios. However, unlike theoretically modelled linear species deletion sequences, this causes poor-connected species to be lost first, while more highly connected species become lost as human impact progresses. This food web shows high robustness to decreasing body size and increasing connectance deletion sequences compared with a high sensitivity to the decreasing connectance deletion scenario. 5. Furthermore, based on the current knowledge of the Serengeti ecosystem, we discuss how the focus on food web topology alone, disregarding nontrophic interactions, may lead to an underestimation of human impacts on wildlife communities, with the number of trophic links affected by a

  6. Synthesis: comparing effects of resource and consumer fluxes into recipient food webs using meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Allen, Daniel C; Wesner, Jeff S

    2016-03-01

    Here we synthesize empirical research using meta-analysis to compare how consumer and resource fluxes affect recipient food webs. We tested the following hypotheses: (H1) The direct effects of resource fluxes (bottom-up) should be stronger than the direct effects of consumer fluxes (top-down), because resource fluxes are permanent (do not return to the food web in which they were produced) but consumer fluxes may not be (consumers can leave). (H2) Following H1, the indirect effects should attenuate (weaken) more quickly for consumer fluxes than for resource fluxes due to their direct effects being weaker, (H3) The effects of resource fluxes should be stronger when recipient food webs are in different ecosystems than donor food webs due to differences in elevation that accompany cross-ecosystem food web interfaces, often increasing flux quantity due to gravity, while the effects of consumer fluxes should be stronger when donor and recipient food webs are in the same ecosystem as they should more easily assimilate into the recipient food web. We found no differences in the magnitude of bottom-up and top-down direct effects for resource and consumer fluxes, but top-down direct effects were 122% stronger than top-down indirect effects. Indirect effects of prey and predator fluxes quickly attenuated while indirect effects of non-prey resource and herbivore fluxes did not, as the overall direct effects of prey and predator fluxes were 123% and 163% stronger than their indirect effects, respectively. This result suggests that the magnitude of indirect effects decrease as the trophic level of resource and consumer fluxes increases, and also contrasts with results from studies showing in situ top-down indirect effects are stronger than in situ bottom-up indirect effects. We found that resource and consumer flux effect sizes were similar when they occurred between ecosystems, but when they occurred within ecosystems predator flux effects were 107% stronger than nutrient flux

  7. Climate change-contaminant interactions in marine food webs: Toward a conceptual framework.

    PubMed

    Alava, Juan José; Cheung, William W L; Ross, Peter S; Sumaila, U Rashid

    2017-02-17

    Climate change is reshaping the way in which contaminants move through the global environment, in large part by changing the chemistry of the oceans and affecting the physiology, health, and feeding ecology of marine biota. Climate change-associated impacts on structure and function of marine food webs, with consequent changes in contaminant transport, fate, and effects, are likely to have significant repercussions to those human populations that rely on fisheries resources for food, recreation, or culture. Published studies on climate change-contaminant interactions with a focus on food web bioaccumulation were systematically reviewed to explore how climate change and ocean acidification may impact contaminant levels in marine food webs. We propose here a conceptual framework to illustrate the impacts of climate change on contaminant accumulation in marine food webs, as well as the downstream consequences for ecosystem goods and services. The potential impacts on social and economic security for coastal communities that depend on fisheries for food are discussed. Climate change-contaminant interactions may alter the bioaccumulation of two priority contaminant classes: the fat-soluble persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as the protein-binding methylmercury (MeHg). These interactions include phenomena deemed to be either climate change dominant (i.e., climate change leads to an increase in contaminant exposure) or contaminant dominant (i.e., contamination leads to an increase in climate change susceptibility). We illustrate the pathways of climate change-contaminant interactions using case studies in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. The important role of ecological and food web modeling to inform decision-making in managing ecological and human health risks of chemical pollutants contamination under climate change is also highlighted. Finally, we identify the need to develop integrated policies that manage the

  8. 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.

  9. Variable and complex food web structures revealed by exploring missing trophic links between birds and biofilm.

    PubMed

    Kuwae, Tomohiro; Miyoshi, Eiichi; Hosokawa, Shinya; Ichimi, Kazuhiko; Hosoya, Jun; Amano, Tatsuya; Moriya, Toshifumi; Kondoh, Michio; Ydenberg, Ronald C; Elner, Robert W

    2012-04-01

    Food webs are comprised of a network of trophic interactions and are essential to elucidating ecosystem processes and functions. However, the presence of unknown, but critical networks hampers understanding of complex and dynamic food webs in nature. Here, we empirically demonstrate a missing link, both critical and variable, by revealing that direct predator-prey relationships between shorebirds and biofilm are widespread and mediated by multiple ecological and evolutionary determinants. Food source mixing models and energy budget estimates indicate that the strength of the missing linkage is dependent on predator traits (body mass and foraging action rate) and the environment that determines food density. Morphological analyses, showing that smaller bodied species possess more developed feeding apparatus to consume biofilm, suggest that the linkage is also phylogenetically dependent and affords a compelling re-interpretation of niche differentiation. We contend that exploring missing links is a necessity for revealing true network structure and dynamics.

  10. A stable isotope ( δ13C, δ15N) model for the North Water food web: implications for evaluating trophodynamics and the flow of energy and contaminants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobson, Keith A.; Fisk, Aaron; Karnovsky, Nina; Holst, Meike; Gagnon, Jean-Marc; Fortier, Martin

    The North Water Polynya is an area of high biological activity that supports large numbers of higher trophic-level organisms such as seabirds and marine mammals. An overall objective of the Upper Trophic-Level Group of the International North Water Polynya Study (NOW) was to evaluate carbon and contaminant flux through these high trophic-level (TL) consumers. Crucial to an evaluation of the role of such consumers, however, was the establishment of primary trophic linkages within the North Water food web. We used δ15N values of food web components from particulate organic matter (POM) through polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) to create a trophic-level model based on the assumptions that Calanus hyperboreus occupies TL 2.0 and there is a 2.4‰ trophic enrichment in 15N between birds and their diets, and a 3.8‰ trophic enrichment for all other components. This model placed the planktivorous dovekie ( Alle alle) at TL 3.3, ringed seal ( Phoca hispida) at TL 4.5, and polar bear at TL 5.5. The copepods C. hyperboreus, Chiridius glacialis and Euchaeta glacialis formed a trophic continuum (TL 2.0-3.0) from primary herbivore through omnivore to primary carnivore. Invertebrates were generally sorted according to planktonic, benthic and epibenthic feeding groups. Seabirds formed three trophic groups, with dovekie occupying the lowest, black-legged kittiwake ( Rissa tridactyla), northern fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis), thick-billed murre ( Uria aalge), and ivory gull ( Pagophilia eburnea) intermediate (TL 3.9-4.0), and glaucous gull ( Larus hyperboreus) the highest (TL 4.6) trophic positions. Among marine mammals, walrus ( Odobenus rosmarus) occupied the lowest (TL 3.2) and bearded seal ( Erignathus barbatus), ringed seal, beluga whale ( Delphinapterus leucas), and narwhal ( Monodon monoceros) intermediate positions (TL 4.1-4.6). In addition to arctic cod ( Boreogadus saida), we suggest that lower trophic-level prey, in particular the amphipod Themisto libellula, contribute

  11. 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...

  12. Importance of benthic production to fish populations in Lake Mead prior to the establishment of quagga mussels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Umek, John; Chandra, Sudeep; Rosen, Michael; Wittmann, Marion; Sullivan, Joe; Orsak, Erik

    2010-01-01

    Limnologists recently have developed an interest in quantifying benthic resource contributions to higher-level consumers. Much of this research focuses on natural lakes with very little research in reservoirs. In this study, we provide a contemporary snapshot of the food web structure of Lake Mead to evaluate the contribution of benthic resources to fish consumers. In addition, we document the available food to fishes on soft sediments and changes to the invertebrate community over 2 time periods. Benthic invertebrate food availability for fishes is greater in Las Vegas Bay than Overton Arm. Las Vegas Bay is dominated by oligochaetes, whose biomass increased with depth, while Overton Arm is dominated by chironomids, whose biomass did not change with depth. Diet and isotopic measurements indicate the fish community largely relies on benthic resources regardless of basin (Las Vegas Bay >80%; Overton Arm >92%); however, the threadfin shad likely contribute more to largemouth and striped bass production in Overton Arm versus Las Vegas Bay. A 2-time period analysis, pre and post quagga mussel establishment and during lake level declines, suggests there is no change in the density of benthic invertebrates in Boulder Basin, but there were greater abundances of select taxa in this basin by season and depth than in other basins. Given the potential of alterations as a result of the expansion of quagga mussel and the reliance of the fishery on benthic resources, future investigation of basin specific, benthic processes is recommended.

  13. 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)

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. NATURAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC FACTORS INFLUENCING FOOD WEB STRUCTURE IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We are investigating factors governing the biological organization of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Food web analyses using stable isotope techniques verify the role of algae as an energetic foundation, and also suggest that fundamental changes occur as a result of anthropogenic ...

  17. Dams and downstream aquatic biodiversity: Potential food web consequences of hydrologic and geomorphic change

    SciTech Connect

    Power, M.E.; Dietrich, W.E.; Finlay, J.C.

    1996-11-01

    Responses of rivers and river ecosystems to dams are complex and varied, as they depend on local sediment supplies, geomorphic constraints, climate, dam structure and operation, and key attributes of the biota. Therefore, {open_quotes}one-size-fits-all{close_quotes} prescriptions cannot substitute for local knowledge in developing prescriptions for dam structure and operation to protect local biodiversity. One general principle is self-evident: that biodiversity is best protected in rivers where physical regimes are the most natural. A sufficiently natural regime of flow variation is particularly crucial for river biota and food webs. We review our research and that of others to illustrate the ecological importance of alternating periods of low an high flow, of periodic bed scour, and of floodplain inundation and dewatering. These fluctuations regulate both the life cycles of river biota and species interactions in the food webs that sustain them. Even if the focus of biodiversity conservation efforts is on a target species rather than whole ecosystems, a food web perspective is necessary, because populations of any species depend critically on how their resources, prey, and potential predators also respond to environmental change. In regulated rivers, managers must determine how the frequency, magnitude, and timing of hydrologic events interact to constrain or support species and food webs. Simple ecological modeling, tailored to local systems, may provide a framework and some insight into explaining ecosystem response to dams and should give direction to mitigation efforts. 78 refs.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-05

    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.

  19. 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

  20. Invasive rodents have multiple indirect effects on seabird island invertebrate food web structure.

    PubMed

    Thoresen, Joshua; Towns, David; Leuzinger, Sebastian; Durrett, Mel; Mulder, Christa P H; Wardle, David A

    2017-01-31

    Burrowing seabirds that nest on islands transfer nutrients from the sea, disturb the soil through burrowing, damage tree foliage when landing, and thereby modify the surface litter. However, seabirds are in decline worldwide, as are their community- and ecosystem-level impacts, primarily due to invasive predatory mammals. The direct and indirect effects of seabird decline on communities and ecosystems are inherently complex. Here we employed network analysis, as a means of simplifying ecological complexity, to better understand the effects seabird loss may have on island invertebrate communities. Using data on leaf litter communities, we constructed invertebrate food webs for each of eighteen offshore oceanic islands in north-eastern New Zealand, nine of which have high seabird densities and nine of were invaded by rats. Ten network topological metrics (including entropy, generality and vulnerability) were compared between rat invaded and uninvaded (seabird dominant) islands. We found that on rat-islands the invertebrate food webs were smaller and less complex than on their seabird-dominated counterparts, which may be due to the suppression of seabird derived nutrients and consequent effects on trophic cascades. This decreased complexity of food webs due to the presence of rats is indicative of lower ecosystem resistance via lower trophic redundancy. Our results show that rat effects on island ecosystems are manifested throughout entire food webs, and demonstrate how network analysis may be useful to assess ecosystem recovery status as these invaded islands are restored. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  1. 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...

  2. Mercury biomagnification through food webs is affected by physical and chemical characteristics of lakes.

    PubMed

    Clayden, Meredith G; Kidd, Karen A; Wyn, Brianna; Kirk, Jane L; Muir, Derek C G; O'Driscoll, Nelson J

    2013-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) contamination in aquatic systems remains a global concern because the organic form, methyl Hg (MeHg), can biomagnify to harmful concentrations in fish, fish-eating wildlife, and humans. Food web transfer of MeHg has been explored using models of log MeHg versus relative trophic position (nitrogen isotopes, δ(15)N), but regression slopes vary across systems for unknown reasons. In this study, MeHg biomagnification was determined for 11 lake food webs in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada, and compared to physical and chemical lake characteristics using principal component and multiple regression analyses. MeHg biomagnification (regression slopes of log MeHg versus baseline-adjusted δ(15)N for fishes and invertebrates) varied significantly across lakes and was higher in systems with lower aqueous nutrient/MeHg/chloride scores. This is one of the largest, consistent data sets available on MeHg biomagnification through temperate lake food webs and the first study to use a principal component and multiple regression approach to understand how lake chemical and physical characteristics interact to affect biomagnification among systems. Overall, our results show that the magnitude of MeHg biomagnification through lake food webs is related to the chemical and physical characteristics of the systems, but the underlying mechanisms warrant further investigation.

  3. 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.

  4. FOOD WEB STRUCTURE AS A POTENTIAL INDICATOR OF NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Analyses of the food webs of Great Lakes coastal wetlands verify the role of algae as an energetic foundation, and also suggest that fundamental changes occur in response to both natural and anthropogenic influences. We analyzed coastal wetlands with a range of nutrient concentra...

  5. A new dimension: Evolutionary food web dynamics in two dimensional trait space.

    PubMed

    Ritterskamp, Daniel; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2016-09-21

    Species within a habitat are not uniformly distributed. However this aspect of community structure, which is fundamental to many conservation activities, is neglected in the majority of models of food web assembly. To address this issue, we introduce a model which incorporates a second dimension, which can be interpreted as space, into the trait space used in evolutionary food web models. Our results show that the additional trait axis allows the emergence of communities with a much greater range of network structures, similar to the diversity observed in real ecological communities. Moreover, the network properties of the food webs obtained are in good agreement with those of empirical food webs. Community emergence follows a consistent pattern with spread along the second trait axis occurring before the assembly of higher trophic levels. Communities can reach either a static final structure, or constantly evolve. We observe that the relative importance of competition and predation is a key determinant of the network structure and the evolutionary dynamics. The latter are driven by the interaction-competition and predation-between small groups of species. The model remains sufficiently simple that we are able to identify the factors, and mechanisms, which determine the final community state.

  6. Grazing food web view from compound-specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Knowledge of the trophic position (TP) of organisms in food webs allows ecologists to track energy flow and trophic linkages among organisms in complex networks of ecosystems. Compound-specific stable isotope analysis (CSIA) of amino acids has been employed as a relatively new method with the high p...

  7. 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).

  8. The consistency of a species' response to press perturbations with high food web uncertainty.

    PubMed

    Tunney, Tyler D; Carpenter, Stephen R; Vander Zanden, M Jake

    2017-04-12

    Predicting species responses to perturbations is a fundamental challenge in ecology. Decision makers must often identify management perturbations that are the most likely to deliver a desirable management outcome despite incomplete information on the pattern and strength of food web links. Motivated by a current fishery decline in inland lakes of the Midwestern United States, we evaluate consistency of the responses of a target species (walleye (Sander vitreus)) to press perturbations. We represented food web uncertainty with 196 plausible topological models and applied four perturbations to each one. Frequently the direction of the focal predator response to the same perturbation is not consistent across food web topologies. Simultaneous application of management perturbations led to less consistent outcomes compared to the best single perturbation. However, direct manipulation of the adult focal predator produced a desirable outcome in 78% of 196 plausible topologies. Identifying perturbations that produce consistent outcomes in the face of food web uncertainty can have important implications for natural resource conservation and management efforts. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  9. Unpacking brown food-webs: Animal trophic identity reflects rampant microbivory

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Detritivory is the dominant trophic paradigm in most terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems, yet accurate measurement of consumer trophic position within detrital (= ‘brown’) food-webs has remained impenetrable. Measurement of detritivore trophic position is complicated by the fact that detritu...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

    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.

  11. The Importance of Allochthonous Subsidies to an Estuarine Food Web along a Salinity Gradient

    EPA Science Inventory

    Estuarine food webs function within a heterogeneous mosaic and are supported by a mix of primary producers from both local and distant sources. Processes governing the exchange and consumption of organic matter (OM), however, are poorly understood. To study the contribution of ...

  12. 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

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. Farming practices change food web structures in cereal aphid-parasitoid-hyperparasitoid communities.

    PubMed

    Lohaus, Katharina; Vidal, Stefan; Thies, Carsten

    2013-01-01

    Agricultural intensification has been shown to result in a decline in biodiversity across many taxa, but the changes in community structure and species interactions remain little understood. We have analysed and compared the structure of feeding interactions for cereal aphids and their primary and secondary parasitoids in organically and conventionally managed winter wheat fields using quantitative food web metrics (interaction evenness, generality, vulnerability, link density). Despite little variation in the richness of each trophic group, food web structures between the two farming systems differed remarkably. In contrast to common expectations, aphids and primary parasitoids were characterized by (1) a higher evenness of interaction frequencies (interaction evenness) in conventional fields, which cascaded to interactions at the next trophic level, with (2) a higher interaction evenness, (3) a higher ratio of primary parasitoid taxa per secondary parasitoid (generality) and (4) a higher link density. Aphid communities in the organically managed fields almost exclusively consisted of a single ear-colonizing species, Sitobion avenae, while highly fertilized conventional fields were mainly infested by leaf-colonizing aphids that benefit from the nutritional status of winter wheat. In conclusion, agricultural intensification appears to foster the complexity of aphid-parasitoid food webs, thereby not supporting the general expectation on the importance of organic farming practices for species richness and food web complexity.

  16. Estuarine consumers utilize marine, estuarine and terrestrial organic matter and provide connectivity among these food webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    The flux of organic matter (OM) across ecosystem boundaries can influence estuarine food web dynamics and productivity. However, this process is seldom investigated taking into account all the adjacent ecosystems (e.g. ocean, river, land) and different hydrological settings (i.e....

  17. Compartments in a marine food web associated with phylogeny, body mass, and habitat structure.

    PubMed

    Rezende, Enrico L; Albert, Eva M; Fortuna, Miguel A; Bascompte, Jordi

    2009-08-01

    A long-standing question in community ecology is whether food webs are organized in compartments, where species within the same compartment interact frequently among themselves, but show fewer interactions with species from other compartments. Finding evidence for this community organization is important since compartmentalization may strongly affect food web robustness to perturbation. However, few studies have found unequivocal evidence of compartments, and none has quantified the suite of mechanisms generating such a structure. Here, we combine computational tools from the physics of complex networks with phylogenetic statistical methods to show that a large marine food web is organized in compartments, and that body size, phylogeny, and spatial structure are jointly associated with such a compartmentalized structure. Sharks account for the majority of predatory interactions within their compartments. Phylogenetically closely related shark species tend to occupy different compartments and have divergent trophic levels, suggesting that competition may play an important role structuring some of these compartments. Current overfishing of sharks has the potential to change the structural properties, which might eventually affect the stability of the food web.

  18. The role of a water bug, Sigara striata, in freshwater food webs.

    PubMed

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater food webs are dominated by aquatic invertebrates whose trophic relationships are often poorly known. Here, I used laboratory experiments to study the role of a water bug, Sigara striata, as a potential predator and prey in food webs of stagnant waters. Multiple-choice predation experiment revealed that Sigara, which had been considered mostly herbivorous, also consumed larvae of Chironomus midges. Because they often occur in high densities and are among the most ubiquitous aquatic insects, Sigara water bugs may be important predators in fresh waters. A second experiment tested the role of Sigara as a potential prey for 13 common invertebrate predators. Mortality of Sigara inflicted by different predators varied widely, especially depending on body mass, foraging mode (ambush/searching) and feeding mode (chewing/suctorial) of the predators. Sigara was highly vulnerable to ambush predators, while searching predators caused on average 8.1 times lower mortality of Sigara. Additionally, suctorial predators consumed on average 6.6 times more Sigara individuals than chewing predators, which supports previous results hinting on potentially different predation pressures of these two types of predators on prey populations. The importance of these two foraging-related traits demonstrates the need to move from body mass based to multiple trait based descriptions of food web structure. Overall, the results suggests that detailed experimental studies of common but insufficiently known species can significantly enhance our understanding of food web structure.

  19. BSAFs and Food Web Modeling for Establishing Contaminant Relationships between Biota and Sediment

    EPA Science Inventory

    The presentation will cover how to measure and evaluate BSAFs (biota-sediment accumulation factors), and how to construct, calibrate, validate, and evaluate food web models. The presentation will also discuss the advantages of the two approaches for establishing contaminant rel...

  20. 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, ...

  1. Towards a mechanistic understanding of temperature and enrichment effects on species interaction strength, omnivory and food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Sentis, Arnaud; Hemptinne, Jean-Louis; Brodeur, Jacques

    2014-07-01

    Revealing the links between species functional traits, interaction strength and food-web structure is of paramount importance for understanding and predicting the relationships between food-web diversity and stability in a rapidly changing world. However, little is known about the interactive effects of environmental perturbations on individual species, trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. Here, we combined modelling and laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of warming and enrichment on a terrestrial tritrophic system. We found that the food-web structure is highly variable and switches between exploitative competition and omnivory depending on the effects of temperature and enrichment on foraging behaviour and species interaction strength. Our model contributes to identifying the mechanisms that explain how environmental effects cascade through the food web and influence its topology. We conclude that considering environmental factors and flexible food-web structure is crucial to improve our ability to predict the impacts of global changes on ecosystem diversity and stability.

  2. Spatial-temporal feeding dynamics of benthic communities in an estuary-marine gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonio, Emily S.; Kasai, Akihide; Ueno, Masahiro; Ishihi, Yuka; Yokoyama, Hisashi; Yamashita, Yoh

    2012-10-01

    We investigated the fluctuations of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in benthic consumers and their potential food sources to determine the spatial and temporal variations in the utilization of available organic matter, indicating the origin and pathways of energy from Yura Estuary to Tango Sea, Japan. Field samplings were conducted from the upper estuary to offshore with sampling frequency of twice per season from April (spring) 2006 to February (winter) 2007. The δ13C signatures of the upper and lower estuary benthos showed depleted and in wide range (-28.9‰ to -13.5‰) compared to the enriched and within narrow range signatures of marine benthos (-20.6‰ to -14.0‰) in all seasons. On the contrary, the δ15N signatures of benthic communities showed decreasing trend seaward and summer values were different from the other seasons. Using the dual isotope and multisource mixing models, we estimated the relative contributions of potential food sources to the benthos diet. River POM played an important source of energy for the estuarine benthos, especially in winter when river discharge was high. Marine POM served as an important alternative food for the estuarine benthos from spring to autumn when seawater intruded the bottom estuary. Benthic microalgae were the major food source at the shallow coast throughout the year, while marine POM fueled the deep coast and offshore benthic food webs. Spatial and temporal feeding variations in estuarine benthic communities were driven by the hydrology of the estuary, whereas primary production and transport of food source dictated diet variations of marine benthic communities. The elucidation of the dynamic energy subsidy among aquatic systems highlights the importance of the land-sea transition zones that is crucial for benthic secondary productions.

  3. Reducing Methylmercury Accumulation in the Food Webs of San Francisco Bay and Its Local Watersheds

    PubMed Central

    Davis, J.A.; Looker, R.E.; Yee, D.; Marvin-DiPasquale, M.; Grenier, J.L.; Austin, C.M.; McKee, L.J.; Greenfield, B.K.; Brodberg, R.; Blum, J.D.

    2013-01-01

    San Francisco Bay (California, USA) and its local watersheds present an interesting case study in estuarine mercury (Hg) contamination. This review focuses on the most promising avenues for attempting to reduce methylmercury (MeHg) contamination in Bay Area aquatic food webs and identifying the scientific information that is most urgently needed to support these efforts. Concern for human exposure to MeHg in the region has led to advisories for consumption of sport fish. Striped bass from the Bay have the highest average Hg concentration measured for this species in USA estuaries, and this degree of contamination has been constant for the past 40 years. Similarly, largemouth bass in some Bay Area reservoirs have some of the highest Hg concentrations observed in the entire US. Bay Area wildlife, particularly birds, face potential impacts to reproduction based on Hg concentrations in the tissues of several Bay species. Source control of Hg is one of the primary possible approaches for reducing MeHg accumulation in Bay Area aquatic food webs. Recent findings (particularly Hg isotope measurements) indicate that the decades-long residence time of particle-associated Hg in the Bay is sufficient to allow significant conversion of even the insoluble forms of Hg into MeHg. Past inputs have been thoroughly mixed throughout this shallow and dynamic estuary. The large pool of Hg already present in the ecosystem dominates the fraction converted to MeHg and accumulating in the food web. Consequently, decreasing external Hg inputs can be expected to reduce MeHg in the food web, but it will likely take many decades to centuries before those reductions are achieved. Extensive efforts to reduce loads from the largest Hg mining source (the historic New Almaden mining district) are underway. Hg is spread widely across the urban landscape, but there are a number of key sources, source areas, and pathways that provide opportunities to capture larger quantities of Hg and reduce loads

  4. Bioavailability of metals in stream food webs and hazards to brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in the upper Animas River watershed, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Besser, J.M.; Brumbaugh, W.G.; May, T.W.; Church, S.E.; Kimball, B.A.

    2001-01-01

    The water quality, habitats, and biota of streams in the upper Animas River watershed of Colorado, USA, are affected by metal contamination associated with acid drainage. We determined metal concentrations in components of the food web of the Animas River and its tributaries - periphyton (aufwuchs), benthic invertebrates, and livers of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) - and evaluated pathways of metal exposure and hazards of metal toxicity to stream biota. Concentrations of the toxic metals cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) in periphyton, benthic invertebrates, and trout livers from one or more sites in the upper Animas River were significantly greater than those from reference sites. Periphyton from sites downstream from mixing zones of acid and neutral waters had elevated concentrations of aluminum (Al) and iron (Fe) reflecting deposition of colloidal Fe and Al oxides, and reduced algal biomass. Metal concentrations in benthic invertebrates reflected differences in feeding habits and body size among taxa, with greatest concentrations of Zn, Cu, and Cd in the small mayfly Rhithrogena, which feeds on periphyton, and greatest concentrations of Pb in the small stonefly Zapada, a detritivore. Concentrations of Zn and Pb decreased across each trophic linkage, whereas concentrations of Cu and Cd were similar across several trophic levels, suggesting that Cu and Cd were more efficiently transferred via dietary exposure. Concentrations of Cu in invertebrates and trout livers were more closely associated with impacts on trout populations and invertebrate communities than were concentrations of Zn, Cd, or Pb. Copper concentrations in livers of brook trout from the upper Animas River were substantially greater than background concentrations and approached levels associated with reduced brook trout populations in field studies and with toxic effects on other salmonids in laboratory studies. These results indicate that bioaccumulation and transfer of

  5. Distribution and bioconcentration of heavy metals in a tropical aquatic food web: A case study of a tropical estuarine lagoon in SE Mexico.

    PubMed

    Mendoza-Carranza, Manuel; Sepúlveda-Lozada, Alejandra; Dias-Ferreira, Celia; Geissen, Violette

    2016-03-01

    Despite the increasing impact of heavy metal pollution in southern Mexico due to urban growth and agricultural and petroleum activities, few studies have focused on the behavior and relationships of these pollutants in the biotic and abiotic components of aquatic environments. Here, we studied the bioaccumulation of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, V, Zn) in suspended load, sediment, primary producers, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish, in a deltaic lagoon habitat in the Tabasco coast, with the aim to assess the potential ecological risk in that important wetland. Zn showed the highest concentrations, e.g., in suspended load (mean of 159.58 mg kg(-1)) and aquatic consumers (15.43-171.71 mg kg(-1)), particularly Brachyura larvae and ichthyoplankton (112.22-171.71 mg kg(-1)), followed by omnivore Callinectes sp. crabs (113.81-128.07 mg kg(-1)). The highest bioconcentration factors (BCF) of Zn were observed for planktivore and omnivore crustaceans (3.06-3.08). Zn showed a pattern of distribution in the food web through two pathways: the pelagic (where the higher concentrations were found), and the benthic (marsh plants, sediment, mollusk, fish). The other heavy metals had lower occurrences in the food web. Nevertheless, high concentrations of Ni and Cr were found in phytoplankton and sediment (37.62-119.97 mg kg(-1)), and V in epiphytes (68.64 mg kg(-1)). Ni, Cr, and Cd concentrations in sediments surpassed international and national threshold values, and Cd entailed a "considerable" potential risk. These heavy metals are most likely transferred into the food web up to fishes through the benthic pathway. Most of the collected fishes are residents in this type of habitat and have commercial importance. Our results show that the total potential ecological risk in the area can be considered as "moderate". Nevertheless, heavy metal values were similar or surpassed the values from other highly industrialized tropical coastal regions.

  6. Ecology and role of benthic copepods in northern lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarvala, J.

    1998-06-01

    Freshwater benthic Harpacticoida consist of species capable of swimming, but mostly burrowing in organic sediments, and small, vermiform species that are poor swimmers and live in interstitial systems. Freshwater benthic Cyclopoida are either agile epibenthic and often relatively large herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, or small infaunal omnivores. Harpacticoids seem to have few, mainly invertebrate, predators, and consequently low mortality and long life span. These are evolutionarily linked to slow growth and low production to biomass ratio (typically 1-7 a -1). Cyclopoids are characterized by more rapid growth and higher production to biomass ratio (typically 3-13 a -1). Due to their active mode of life, they are preyed upon by fish and other predators, which results in high mortality and a short adult life span. Harpacticoid numbers and biomass may reach 250,000 ind/m 2 and 120 mgC/m 2. True benthic cyclopoids are usually much less abundant (up to 20,000 ind/m 2 and 9 mgC/m 2). Thus, although the quantitative importance of freshwater meiofauna as a whole may often be comparable to that of macrofauna, the few biomass and production data on benthic copepods suggest that at least harpacticoids have a minor role in the benthic food web of northern lakes.

  7. Predator diversity and identity drive interaction strength and trophic cascades in a food web.

    PubMed

    Otto, Sonja B; Berlow, Eric L; Rank, Nathan E; Smiley, John; Brose, Ulrich

    2008-01-01

    Declining predator diversity may drastically affect the biomass and productivity of herbivores and plants. Understanding how changes in predator diversity can propagate through food webs to alter ecosystem function is one of the most challenging ecological research topics today. We studied the effects of predator removal in a simple natural food web in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California (USA). By excluding the predators of the third trophic level of a food web in a full-factorial design, we monitored cascading effects of varying predator diversity and composition on the herbivorous beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis and the willow Salix orestera, which compose the first and second trophic levels of the food web. Decreasing predator diversity increased herbivore biomass and survivorship, and consequently increased the amount of plant biomass consumed via a trophic cascade. Despite this simple linear mean effect of diversity on the strength of the trophic cascade, we found additivity, compensation, and interference in the effects of multiple predators on herbivores and plants. Herbivore survivorship and predator-prey interaction strengths varied with predator diversity, predator identity, and the identity of coexisting predators. Additive effects of predators on herbivores and plants may have been driven by temporal niche separation, whereas compensatory effects and interference occurred among predators with a similar phenology. Together, these results suggest that while the general trends of diversity effects may appear linear and additive, other information about species identity was required to predict the effects of removing individual predators. In a community that is not temporally well-mixed, predator traits such as phenology may help predict impacts of species loss on other species. Information about predator natural history and food web structure may help explain variation in predator diversity effects on trophic cascades and ecosystem function.

  8. Automated discovery of food webs from ecological data using logic-based machine learning.

    PubMed

    Bohan, David A; Caron-Lormier, Geoffrey; Muggleton, Stephen; Raybould, Alan; Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alireza

    2011-01-01

    Networks of trophic links (food webs) are used to describe and understand mechanistic routes for translocation of energy (biomass) between species. However, a relatively low proportion of ecosystems have been studied using food web approaches due to difficulties in making observations on large numbers of species. In this paper we demonstrate that Machine Learning of food webs, using a logic-based approach called A/ILP, can generate plausible and testable food webs from field sample data. Our example data come from a national-scale Vortis suction sampling of invertebrates from arable fields in Great Britain. We found that 45 invertebrate species or taxa, representing approximately 25% of the sample and about 74% of the invertebrate individuals included in the learning, were hypothesized to be linked. As might be expected, detritivore Collembola were consistently the most important prey. Generalist and omnivorous carabid beetles were hypothesized to be the dominant predators of the system. We were, however, surprised by the importance of carabid larvae suggested by the machine learning as predators of a wide variety of prey. High probability links were hypothesized for widespread, potentially destabilizing, intra-guild predation; predictions that could be experimentally tested. Many of the high probability links in the model have already been observed or suggested for this system, supporting our contention that A/ILP learning can produce plausible food webs from sample data, independent of our preconceptions about "who eats whom." Well-characterised links in the literature correspond with links ascribed with high probability through A/ILP. We believe that this very general Machine Learning approach has great power and could be used to extend and test our current theories of agricultural ecosystem dynamics and function. In particular, we believe it could be used to support the development of a wider theory of ecosystem responses to environmental change.

  9. Using sulfur stable isotopes to assess mercury bioaccumulation and biomagnification in temperate lake food webs.

    PubMed

    Clayden, Meredith G; Lescord, Gretchen L; Kidd, Karen A; Wang, Xiaowa; Muir, Derek C G; O'Driscoll, Nelson J

    2017-03-01

    Nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes (δ(15) N, δ(13) C) are commonly used to understand mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation and biomagnification in freshwater food webs. Though sulfur isotopes (δ(34) S) can distinguish between energy sources from the water column (aqueous sulfate) and from sediments to freshwater organisms, little is known about whether δ(34) S can help interpret variable Hg concentrations in aquatic species or food webs. Seven acidic lakes in Kejimkujik National Park (Nova Scotia, Canada) were sampled for biota, water, and sediments in 2009 and 2010. Fishes, zooplankton, and macroinvertebrates were analyzed for δ(34) S, δ(15) N, δ(13) C, and Hg (methyl Hg in invertebrates, total Hg in fishes); aqueous sulfate and profundal sediments were analyzed for δ(34) S. Within lakes, mean δ(34) S values in sediments and sulfate differed between 0.53‰ and 1.98‰, limiting their use as tracers of energy sources to the food webs. However, log-Hg and δ(34) S values were negatively related (slopes -0.14 to -0.35, R(2) 0.20-0.39, p < 0.001-0.01) through each food web, and slopes were significantly different among lakes (analysis of covariance, lake × δ(34) S interaction term p = 0.04). Despite these relationships, multiple regression analyses within each taxon showed that biotic Hg concentrations were generally better predicted by δ(15) N and/or δ(13) C. The results indicate that δ(34) S values are predictive of Hg concentrations in these food webs, although the mechanisms underlying these relationships warrant further study. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:661-670. © 2016 SETAC.

  10. Warming-induced changes in predation, extinction and invasion in an ectotherm food web.

    PubMed

    Seifert, Linda I; Weithoff, Guntram; Gaedke, Ursula; Vos, Matthijs

    2015-06-01

    Climate change will alter the forces of predation and competition in temperate ectotherm food webs. This may increase local extinction rates, change the fate of invasions and impede species reintroductions into communities. Invasion success could be modulated by traits (e.g., defenses) and adaptations to climate. We studied how different temperatures affect the time until extinction of species, using bitrophic and tritrophic planktonic food webs to evaluate the relative importance of predatory overexploitation and competitive exclusion, at 15 and 25 °C. In addition, we tested how inclusion of a subtropical as opposed to a temperate strain in this model food web affects times until extinction. Further, we studied the invasion success of the temperate rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus into the planktonic food web at 15 and 25 °C on five consecutive introduction dates, during which the relative forces of predation and competition differed. A higher temperature dramatically shortened times until extinction of all herbivore species due to carnivorous overexploitation in tritrophic systems. Surprisingly, warming did not increase rates of competitive exclusion among the tested herbivore species in bitrophic communities. Including a subtropical herbivore strain reduced top-down control by the carnivore at high temperature. Invasion attempts of temperate B. calyciflorus into the food web always succeeded at 15 °C, but consistently failed at 25 °C due to voracious overexploitation by the carnivore. Pre-induction of defenses (spines) in B. calyciflorus before the invasion attempt did not change its invasion success at the high temperature. We conclude that high temperatures may promote local extinctions in temperate ectotherms and reduce their chances of successful recovery.

  11. Hydrogeomorphic features mediate the effects of land use/cover on reservoir productivity and food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bremigan, M.T.; Soranno, P.A.; Gonzalez, M.J.; Bunnell, D.B.; Arend, K.K.; Renwick, W.H.; Stein, R.A.; Vanni, M.J.

    2008-01-01

    Although effects of land use/cover on nutrient concentrations in aquatic systems are well known, half or more of the variation in nutrient concentration remains unexplained by land use/cover alone. Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) landscape features can explain much remaining variation and influence food web interactions. To explore complex linkages among land use/cover, HGM features, reservoir productivity, and food webs, we sampled 11 Ohio reservoirs, ranging broadly in agricultural catchment land use/cover, for 3 years. We hypothesized that HGM features mediate the bottom-up effects of land use/cover on reservoir productivity, chlorophyll a, zooplankton, and recruitment of gizzard shad, an omnivorous fish species common throughout southeastern U.S. reservoirs and capable of exerting strong effects on food web and nutrient dynamics. We tested specific hypotheses using a model selection approach. Percent variation explained was highest for total nitrogen (R2 = 0.92), moderately high for total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, and rotifer biomass (R2 = 0.57 to 0.67), relatively low for crustacean zooplankton biomass and larval gizzard shad hatch abundance (R2 = 0.43 and 0.42), and high for larval gizzard shad survivor abundance (R2 = 0.79). The trophic status models included agricultural land use/cover and an HGM predictor, whereas the zooplankton models had few HGM predictors. The larval gizzard shad models had the highest complexity, including more than one HGM feature and food web components. We demonstrate the importance of integrating land use/cover, HGM features, and food web interactions to investigate critical interactions and feedbacks among physical, chemical, and biological components of linked land-water ecosystems.

  12. Automated Discovery of Food Webs from Ecological Data Using Logic-Based Machine Learning

    PubMed Central

    Bohan, David A.; Caron-Lormier, Geoffrey; Muggleton, Stephen; Raybould, Alan; Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alireza

    2011-01-01

    Networks of trophic links (food webs) are used to describe and understand mechanistic routes for translocation of energy (biomass) between species. However, a relatively low proportion of ecosystems have been studied using food web approaches due to difficulties in making observations on large numbers of species. In this paper we demonstrate that Machine Learning of food webs, using a logic-based approach called A/ILP, can generate plausible and testable food webs from field sample data. Our example data come from a national-scale Vortis suction sampling of invertebrates from arable fields in Great Britain. We found that 45 invertebrate species or taxa, representing approximately 25% of the sample and about 74% of the invertebrate individuals included in the learning, were hypothesized to be linked. As might be expected, detritivore Collembola were consistently the most important prey. Generalist and omnivorous carabid beetles were hypothesized to be the dominant predators of the system. We were, however, surprised by the importance of carabid larvae suggested by the machine learning as predators of a wide variety of prey. High probability links were hypothesized for widespread, potentially destabilizing, intra-guild predation; predictions that could be experimentally tested. Many of the high probability links in the model have already been observed or suggested for this system, supporting our contention that A/ILP learning can produce plausible food webs from sample data, independent of our preconceptions about “who eats whom.” Well-characterised links in the literature correspond with links ascribed with high probability through A/ILP. We believe that this very general Machine Learning approach has great power and could be used to extend and test our current theories of agricultural ecosystem dynamics and function. In particular, we believe it could be used to support the development of a wider theory of ecosystem responses to environmental change. PMID

  13. Food-Web Structure in Relation to Environmental Gradients and Predator-Prey Ratios in Tank-Bromeliad Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  14. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests.

  15. The role of ammonites in the Mesozoic marine food web revealed by jaw preservation.

    PubMed

    Kruta, Isabelle; Landman, Neil; Rouget, Isabelle; Cecca, Fabrizio; Tafforeau, Paul

    2011-01-07

    Ammonites are prominent in macroevolutionary studies because of their abundance and diversity in the fossil record, but their paleobiology and position in the marine food web are not well understood due to the lack of preserved soft tissue. We present three-dimensional reconstructions of the buccal apparatus in the Mesozoic ammonite Baculites with the use of synchrotron x-ray microtomography. Buccal mass morphology, combined with the coexistence of food remains found in the buccal mass, suggests that these ammonites fed on plankton. This diet may have extended to all aptychophoran ammonites, which share the same buccal mass morphology. Understanding the role of these ammonites in the Mesozoic food web provides insights into their radiation in the Early Jurassic, as well as their extinction at the end of the Cretaceous/early Paleogene.

  16. Interaction strength combinations and the overfishing of a marine food web.

    PubMed

    Bascompte, Jordi; Melián, Carlos J; Sala, Enric

    2005-04-12

    The stability of ecological communities largely depends on the strength of interactions between predators and their prey. Here we show that these interaction strengths are structured nonrandomly in a large Caribbean marine food web. Specifically, the cooccurrence of strong interactions on two consecutive levels of food chains occurs less frequently than expected by chance. Even when they occur, these strongly interacting chains are accompanied by strong omnivory more often than expected by chance. By using a food web model, we show that these interaction strength combinations reduce the likelihood of trophic cascades after the overfishing of top predators. However, fishing selectively removes predators that are overrepresented in strongly interacting chains. Hence, the potential for strong community-wide effects remains a threat.

  17. Nematomorph parasites indirectly alter the food web and ecosystem function of streams through behavioural manipulation of their cricket hosts.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sato, T.; Egusa, T.; Fukushima, K.; Oda, T.; Ohte, N.; Tokuchi, Naoko; Watanabe, Katsutoshi; Kanaiwa, Minoru; Murakami, Isaya; Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2012-01-01

    Nematomorph parasites manipulate crickets to enter streams where the parasites reproduce. These manipulated crickets become a substantial food subsidy for stream fishes. We used a field experiment to investigate how this subsidy affects the stream community and ecosystem function. When crickets were available, predatory fish ate fewer benthic invertebrates. The resulting release of the benthic invertebrate community from fish predation indirectly decreased the biomass of benthic algae and slightly increased leaf break-down rate. This is the first experimental demonstration that host manipulation by a parasite can reorganise a community and alter ecosystem function. Nematomorphs are common, and many other parasites have dramatic effects on host phenotypes, suggesting that similar effects of parasites on ecosystems might be widespread.

  18. Nematomorph parasites indirectly alter the food web and ecosystem function of streams through behavioural manipulation of their cricket hosts.

    PubMed

    Sato, Takuya; Egusa, Tomohiro; Fukushima, Keitaro; Oda, Tomoki; Ohte, Nobuhito; Tokuchi, Naoko; Watanabe, Katsutoshi; Kanaiwa, Minoru; Murakami, Isaya; Lafferty, Kevin D

    2012-08-01

    Nematomorph parasites manipulate crickets to enter streams where the parasites reproduce. These manipulated crickets become a substantial food subsidy for stream fishes. We used a field experiment to investigate how this subsidy affects the stream community and ecosystem function. When crickets were available, predatory fish ate fewer benthic invertebrates. The resulting release of the benthic invertebrate community from fish predation indirectly decreased the biomass of benthic algae and slightly increased leaf break-down rate. This is the first experimental demonstration that host manipulation by a parasite can reorganise a community and alter ecosystem function. Nematomorphs are common, and many other parasites have dramatic effects on host phenotypes, suggesting that similar effects of parasites on ecosystems might be widespread.

  19. From projected species distribution to food-web structure under climate change.

    PubMed

    Albouy, Camille; Velez, Laure; Coll, Marta; Colloca, Francesco; Le Loc'h, François; Mouillot, David; Gravel, Dominique

    2014-03-01

    Climate change is inducing deep modifications in species geographic ranges worldwide. However, the consequences of such changes on community structure are still poorly understood, particularly the impacts on food-web properties. Here, we propose a new framework, coupling species distribution and trophic models, to predict climate change impacts on food-web structure across the Mediterranean Sea. Sea surface temperature was used to determine the fish climate niches and their future distributions. Body size was used to infer trophic interactions between fish species. Our projections reveal that 54 fish species of 256 endemic and native species included in our analysis would disappear by 2080-2099 from the Mediterranean continental shelf. The number of feeding links between fish species would decrease on 73.4% of the continental shelf. However, the connectance of the overall fish web would increase on average, from 0.26 to 0.29, mainly due to a differential loss rate of feeding links and species richness. This result masks a systematic decrease in predator generality, estimated here as the number of prey species, from 30.0 to 25.4. Therefore, our study highlights large-scale impacts of climate change on marine food-web structure with potential deep consequences on ecosystem functioning. However, these impacts will likely be highly heterogeneous in space, challenging our current understanding of climate change impact on local marine ecosystems.

  20. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, J.A.; Looker, R.E.; Yee, D.; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M.; Austin, C.M.; McKee, L.J.; Greenfield, B.K.; Brodberg, R.; Blum, J.D.

    2012-11-15

    San Francisco Bay (California, USA) and its local watersheds present an interesting case study in estuarine mercury (Hg) contamination. This review focuses on the most promising avenues for attempting to reduce methylmercury (MeHg) contamination in Bay Area aquatic food webs and identifying the scientific information that is most urgently needed to support these efforts. Concern for human exposure to MeHg in the region has led to advisories for consumption of sport fish. Striped bass from the Bay have the highest average Hg concentration measured for this species in USA estuaries, and this degree of contamination has been constant for the past 40 years. Similarly, largemouth bass in some Bay Area reservoirs have some of the highest Hg concentrations observed in the entire US. Bay Area wildlife, particularly birds, face potential impacts to reproduction based on Hg concentrations in the tissues of several Bay species. Source control of Hg is one of the primary possible approaches for reducing MeHg accumulation in Bay Area aquatic food webs. Recent findings (particularly Hg isotope measurements) indicate that the decades-long residence time of particle-associated Hg in the Bay is sufficient to allow significant conversion of even the insoluble forms of Hg into MeHg. Past inputs have been thoroughly mixed throughout this shallow and dynamic estuary. The large pool of Hg already present in the ecosystem dominates the fraction converted to MeHg and accumulating in the food web. Consequently, decreasing external Hg inputs can be expected to reduce MeHg in the food web, but it will likely take many decades to centuries before those reductions are achieved. Extensive efforts to reduce loads from the largest Hg mining source (the historic New Almaden mining district) are underway. Hg is spread widely across the urban landscape, but there are a number of key sources, source areas, and pathways that provide opportunities to capture larger quantities of Hg and reduce loads

  1. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds.

    PubMed

    Davis, J A; Looker, R E; Yee, D; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M; Grenier, J L; Austin, C M; McKee, L J; Greenfield, B K; Brodberg, R; Blum, J D

    2012-11-01

    San Francisco Bay (California, USA) and its local watersheds present an interesting case study in estuarine mercury (Hg) contamination. This review focuses on the most promising avenues for attempting to reduce methylmercury (MeHg) contamination in Bay Area aquatic food webs and identifying the scientific information that is most urgently needed to support these efforts. Concern for human exposure to MeHg in the region has led to advisories for consumption of sport fish. Striped bass from the Bay have the highest average Hg concentration measured for this species in USA estuaries, and this degree of contamination has been constant for the past 40 years. Similarly, largemouth bass in some Bay Area reservoirs have some of the highest Hg concentrations observed in the entire US. Bay Area wildlife, particularly birds, face potential impacts to reproduction based on Hg concentrations in the tissues of several Bay species. Source control of Hg is one of the primary possible approaches for reducing MeHg accumulation in Bay Area aquatic food webs. Recent findings (particularly Hg isotope measurements) indicate that the decades-long residence time of particle-associated Hg in the Bay is sufficient to allow significant conversion of even the insoluble forms of Hg into MeHg. Past inputs have been thoroughly mixed throughout this shallow and dynamic estuary. The large pool of Hg already present in the ecosystem dominates the fraction converted to MeHg and accumulating in the food web. Consequently, decreasing external Hg inputs can be expected to reduce MeHg in the food web, but it will likely take many decades to centuries before those reductions are achieved. Extensive efforts to reduce loads from the largest Hg mining source (the historic New Almaden mining district) are underway. Hg is spread widely across the urban landscape, but there are a number of key sources, source areas, and pathways that provide opportunities to capture larger quantities of Hg and reduce loads

  2. Spatial guilds in the Serengeti food web revealed by a Bayesian group model.

    PubMed

    Baskerville, Edward B; Dobson, Andy P; Bedford, Trevor; Allesina, Stefano; Anderson, T Michael; Pascual, Mercedes

    2011-12-01

    Food webs, networks of feeding relationships in an ecosystem, provide fundamental insights into mechanisms that determine ecosystem stability and persistence. A standard approach in food-web analysis, and network analysis in general, has been to identify compartments, or modules, defined by many links within compartments and few links between them. This approach can identify large habitat boundaries in the network but may fail to identify other important structures. Empirical analyses of food webs have been further limited by low-resolution data for primary producers. In this paper, we present a Bayesian computational method for identifying group structure using a flexible definition that can describe both functional trophic roles and standard compartments. We apply this method to a newly compiled plant-mammal food web from the Serengeti ecosystem that includes high taxonomic resolution at the plant level, allowing a simultaneous examination of the signature of both habitat and trophic roles in network structure. We find that groups at the plant level reflect habitat structure, coupled at higher trophic levels by groups of herbivores, which are in turn coupled by carnivore groups. Thus the group structure of the Serengeti web represents a mixture of trophic guild structure and spatial pattern, in contrast to the standard compartments typically identified. The network topology supports recent ideas on spatial coupling and energy channels in ecosystems that have been proposed as important for persistence. Furthermore, our Bayesian approach provides a powerful, flexible framework for the study of network structure, and we believe it will prove instrumental in a variety of biological contexts.

  3. Spatial Guilds in the Serengeti Food Web Revealed by a Bayesian Group Model

    PubMed Central

    Baskerville, Edward B.; Dobson, Andy P.; Bedford, Trevor; Allesina, Stefano; Anderson, T. Michael; Pascual, Mercedes

    2011-01-01

    Food webs, networks of feeding relationships in an ecosystem, provide fundamental insights into mechanisms that determine ecosystem stability and persistence. A standard approach in food-web analysis, and network analysis in general, has been to identify compartments, or modules, defined by many links within compartments and few links between them. This approach can identify large habitat boundaries in the network but may fail to identify other important structures. Empirical analyses of food webs have been further limited by low-resolution data for primary producers. In this paper, we present a Bayesian computational method for identifying group structure using a flexible definition that can describe both functional trophic roles and standard compartments. We apply this method to a newly compiled plant-mammal food web from the Serengeti ecosystem that includes high taxonomic resolution at the plant level, allowing a simultaneous examination of the signature of both habitat and trophic roles in network structure. We find that groups at the plant level reflect habitat structure, coupled at higher trophic levels by groups of herbivores, which are in turn coupled by carnivore groups. Thus the group structure of the Serengeti web represents a mixture of trophic guild structure and spatial pattern, in contrast to the standard compartments typically identified. The network topology supports recent ideas on spatial coupling and energy channels in ecosystems that have been proposed as important for persistence. Furthermore, our Bayesian approach provides a powerful, flexible framework for the study of network structure, and we believe it will prove instrumental in a variety of biological contexts. PMID:22219719

  4. FoodWiki: a Mobile App Examines Side Effects of Food Additives Via Semantic Web.

    PubMed

    Çelik Ertuğrul, Duygu

    2016-02-01

    In this article, a research project on mobile safe food consumption system (FoodWiki) is discussed that performs its own inferencing rules in its own knowledge base. Currently, the developed rules examines the side effects that are causing some health risks: heart disease, diabetes, allergy, and asthma as initial. There are thousands compounds added to the processed food by food producers with numerous effects on the food: to add color, stabilize, texturize, preserve, sweeten, thicken, add flavor, soften, emulsify, and so forth. Those commonly used ingredients or compounds in manufactured foods may have many side effects that cause several health risks such as heart disease, hypertension, cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, allergies, alzheimer etc. according to World Health Organization. Safety in food consumption, especially by patients in these risk groups, has become crucial, given that such health problems are ranked in the top ten health risks around the world. It is needed personal e-health knowledge base systems to help patients take control of their safe food consumption. The systems with advanced semantic knowledge base can provide recommendations of appropriate foods before consumption by individuals. The proposed FoodWiki system is using a concept based search mechanism that performs on thousands food compounds to provide more relevant information.

  5. Microbial food web contributions to bottom water hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dagg, Michael; Sato, Riki; Liu, Hongbin; Bianchi, Thomas S.; Green, Rebecca; Powell, Rodney

    2008-05-01

    Nutrients from the Mississippi/Atchafalaya Rivers greatly stimulate biological production in the 'classical' food web on the inner shelf of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Portions of this production, especially large diatoms and zooplankton fecal pellets, sink and decompose in the bottom water, consuming oxygen and contributing to the annual development of an extensive zone of bottom water hypoxia, typically >15,000 km 2 since 1993. The microbial food web is also active in the Mississippi River plume, but consists of small organisms that sink slowly. This 'recycling' food web has not been considered as a significant contributor to vertical flux and hypoxia. However, gelatinous zooplankton, especially pelagic appendicularians such as Oikopleura dioica, mediate the conversion of microbial web organisms to organic particles with high sinking rates. When pelagic appendicularians are abundant in coastal regions of the northern Gulf of Mexico, they stimulate the rapid vertical transfer of microbial web productivity in the surface layer, which is only 5-15 m thick in the coastal hypoxic region, to the sub-pycnocline layer that becomes hypoxic each summer. In this paper we present results from two studies examining the significance of this pathway. In both 2002 and 2004, we observed high production rates of appendicularians in coastal waters. Discarded gelatinous houses and fecal pellets from the appendicularian populations often provided more than 1 g m -2 d -1 of organic carbon for the establishment and maintenance of hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This source of organic matter flux is especially important in regions far from the river plumes and during periods of low river discharge. Autotrophic elements of this food web are primarily supported by recycled inorganic nutrients originating in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. Sources of dissolved organic matter (DOM) supporting the heterotrophic components of this microbial food web may include in situ

  6. Lower trophic levels and detrital biomass control the Bay of Biscay continental shelf food web: Implications for ecosystem management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lassalle, G.; Lobry, J.; Le Loc'h, F.; Bustamante, P.; Certain, G.; Delmas, D.; Dupuy, C.; Hily, C.; Labry, C.; Le Pape, O.; Marquis, E.; Petitgas, P.; Pusineri, C.; Ridoux, V.; Spitz, J.; Niquil, N.

    2011-12-01

    The Bay of Biscay (North-East Atlantic) has long been subjected to intense direct and indirect human activities that lead to the excessive degradation and sometimes overexploitation of natural resources. Fisheries management is gradually moving away from single-species assessments to more holistic, multi-species approaches that better respond to the reality of ecosystem processes. Quantitative modelling methods such as Ecopath with Ecosim can be useful tools for planning, implementing and evaluating ecosystem-based fisheries management strategies. The aim of this study was therefore to model the energy fluxes within the food web of this highly pressured ecosystem and to extract practical information required in the diagnosis of ecosystem state/health. A well-described model comprising 30 living and two non-living compartments was successfully constructed with data of local origin, for the Bay of Biscay continental shelf. The same level of aggregation was applied to primary producers, mid-trophic-levels and top-predators boxes. The model was even more general as it encompassed the entire continuum of marine habitats, from benthic to pelagic domains. Output values for most ecosystem attributes indicated a relatively mature and stable ecosystem, with a large proportion of its energy flow originating from detritus. Ecological network analysis also provided evidence that bottom-up processes play a significant role in the population dynamics of upper-trophic-levels and in the global structuring of this marine ecosystem. Finally, a novel metric based on ecosystem production depicted an ecosystem not far from being overexploited. This finding being not entirely consistent over indicators, further analyses based on dynamic simulations are required.

  7. Biotic interactions modify multiple-stressor effects on juvenile brown trout in an experimental stream food web.

    PubMed

    Bruder, Andreas; Salis, Romana K; Jones, Peter E; Matthaei, Christoph D

    2017-03-21

    Agricultural land use results in multiple stressors affecting stream ecosystems. Flow reduction due to water abstraction, elevated levels of nutrients and chemical contaminants are common agricultural stressors worldwide. Concurrently, stream ecosystems are also increasingly affected by climate change. Interactions among multiple co-occurring stressors result in biological responses that cannot be predicted from single-stressor effects (i.e. synergisms and antagonisms). At the ecosystem level, multiple-stressor effects can be further modified by biotic interactions (e.g. trophic interactions). We conducted a field experiment using 128 flow-through stream mesocosms to examine the individual and combined effects of water abstraction, nutrient enrichment and elevated levels of the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) on survival, condition and gut content of juvenile brown trout, and on benthic abundance of their invertebrate prey. Flow velocity reduction decreased fish survival (-12% compared to controls) and condition (-8% compared to initial condition), whereas effects of nutrient and DCD additions and interactions among these stressors were not significant. Negative effects of flow velocity reduction on fish survival and condition were consistent with effects on fish gut content (-25% compared to controls) and abundance of dominant invertebrate prey (-30%), suggesting a negative metabolic balance driving fish mortality and condition decline, which was confirmed by structural equation modelling. Fish mortality under reduced flow velocity increased as maximal daily water temperatures approached the upper limit of their tolerance range, reflecting synergistic interactions between these stressors. Our study highlights the importance of indirect stressor effects such as those transferred through trophic interactions, which need to be considered when assessing and managing fish populations and stream food webs in multiple-stressor situations. However, in real

  8. Isotopic studies in Pacific Panama mangrove estuaries reveal lack of effect of watershed deforestation on food webs.

    PubMed

    Viana, Inés G; Valiela, Ivan; Martinetto, Paulina; Monteiro Pierce, Rita; Fox, Sophia E

    2015-02-01

    Stable isotopic N, C, and S in food webs of 8 mangrove estuaries on the Pacific coast of Panama were measured to 1) determine whether the degree of deforestation of tropical forests on the contributing watersheds was detectable within the estuarine food web, and 2) define external sources of the food webs within the mangrove estuaries. Even though terrestrial rain forest cover on the contributing watersheds differed between 23 and 92%, the effect of deforestation was not detectable on stable isotopic values in food webs present at the mouth of the receiving estuaries. We used stable isotopic measures to identify producers or organic sources that supported the estuarine food web. N isotopic values of consumers spanned a broad range, from about 2.7 to 12.3‰. Mean δ(15)N of primary producers and organic matter varied from 3.3 for macroalgae to 4.7‰ for suspended particulate matter and large particulate matter. The δ(13)C consumer data varied between -26 and -9‰, but isotopic values of the major apparent producers or organic matter sampled could not account for this range variability. The structure of the food web was clarified when we added literature isotopic values of microphytobenthos and coralline algae, suggesting that these, or other producers with similar isotopic signature, may be part of the food webs.

  9. Trophic dilution of cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes (cVMS) in the pelagic marine food web of Tokyo Bay, Japan.

    PubMed

    Powell, David E; Suganuma, Noriyuki; Kobayashi, Keiji; Nakamura, Tsutomu; Ninomiya, Kouzo; Matsumura, Kozaburo; Omura, Naoki; Ushioka, Satoshi

    2017-02-01

    Bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes (cVMS), specifically octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4), decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), and dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6), were evaluated in the pelagic marine food web of Tokyo Bay, Japan. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners that are "legacy" chemicals known to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and biomagnify across aquatic food webs were used as a benchmark chemical (CB-180) to calibrate the sampled food web and as a reference chemical (CB-153) to validate the results. Trophic magnification factors (TMFs) were calculated from slopes of ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression models and slopes of bootstrap regression models, which were used as robust alternatives to the OLS models. Various regression models were developed that incorporated benchmarking to control bias associated with experimental design, food web dynamics, and trophic level structure. There was no evidence from any of the regression models to suggest biomagnification of cVMS in Tokyo Bay. Rather, the regression models indicated that trophic dilution of cVMS, not trophic magnification, occurred across the sampled food web. Comparison of results for Tokyo Bay to results from other studies indicated that bioaccumulation of cVMS was not related to type of food web (pelagic vs demersal), environment (marine vs freshwater), species composition, or location. Rather, results suggested that differences between study areas was likely related to food web dynamics and variable conditions of exposure resulting from non-uniform patterns of organism movement across spatial concentration gradients.

  10. Methylmercury enters an aquatic food web through acidophilic microbial mats in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

    PubMed

    Boyd, Eric S; King, Susan; Tomberlin, Jeffery K; Nordstrom, D Kirk; Krabbenhoft, David P; Barkay, Tamar; Geesey, Gill G

    2009-04-01

    Microbial mats are a visible and abundant life form inhabiting the extreme environments in Yellowstone National Park (YNP), WY, USA. Little is known of their role in food webs that exist in the Park's geothermal habitats. Eukaryotic green algae associated with a phototro