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Sample records for benthic food webs

  1. Benthic food webs support the production of sympatric flatfish ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Identifying nursery habitats is of paramount importance to define proper management and conservation strategies for flatfish species. Flatfish nursery studies usually report upon habitat occupation, but few attempted to quantify the importance of those habitats to larvae development. The reliance of two sympatric flatfish species larvae, the European flounder Platichthys flesus and the common sole Solea solea, on the estuarine food web (benthic vs. pelagic) was determined through carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The organic matter sources supporting the production of P. flesus and S. solea larvae biomass originates chiefly in the benthic food web. However, these species have significantly different ä13C and ä15N values which suggests that they prey on organisms that use a different mixture of sources or assimilate different components from similar OM pools (or both). Fisheries production is a highly-valued ecosystem service of coastal habitats globally. Developing ecological production functions to relate nursery habitat to this ecosystem service, however, has proved challenging owing to lack of techniques to effectively relate habitat use with the early life stages of fish. In this study, we demonstrate how stable isotopes can be used to evaluate nursery habitat-fish production linkages using stable isotope analysis of an estuarine food web. In particular, we show how to quantify the reliance of two commercially-important fish species to various h

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-24

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

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2000-09-30

    complex mixtures of contaminants influence benthic communities at the levels of microorganisms, microalgae , invertebrate grazers, and fish predators...diesel and metal contaminants interact to influence the microbial (bacteria and microalgae ), invertebrate, and juvenile fish components of the benthic...hydrocarbons interactions, and provide the basis for making ecologically sound decisions concerning appropriate bioremediation or mitigation strategies for

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2001-09-30

    microalgae , invertebrate grazers, and fish predators. In particular, we are interested in how contaminants influence foodweb interactions among these...diesel and metal contaminants interact to influence the microbial (bacteria and microalgae ), invertebrate, and juvenile fish components of the benthic...metals-hydrocarbons interactions, and provide the basis for making ecologically sound decisions concerning appropriate bioremediation or mitigation

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2002-09-30

    microalgae , invertebrate grazers, and fish predators. In particular, we are interested in how contaminants influence foodweb interactions among these...diesel and metal contaminants interact to influence the microbial (bacteria and microalgae ), invertebrate, and juvenile fish components of the benthic...levels of microorganisms, microalgae , invertebrate grazers, and fish predators. In particular, we are interested in how contaminants influence foodweb

  11. 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.

  12. 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). © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2012 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Benthic and pelagic pathways of methylmercury bioaccumulation in estuarine food webs of the northeast United States.

    PubMed

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

    2017-06-01

    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 (9,165 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. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  20. Benthic Food Web Structure across the Canadian Arctic Ocean: Insights from stable isotopes and the IP25 biomarker

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friscourt, N.; Archambault, P.; Masse, G.; Nozais, C.

    2016-02-01

    In recent decades, the Arctic Ocean has undergone unprecedented changes, such as an increase in the surface temperature and a reduction of sea ice cover. These changes may cause variations in the intensity and spatial distribution of primary production and the nature of pelagic-benthic coupling. This could affect the amount and quality of organic matter that settles onto the seafloor, and the benthic communities that feed upon it. The objectives of this study were i) to describe the trophic structure and resilience of regional benthic food webs using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses and ii) to evaluate the significance of ice algae in the diet of benthic communities using the sea ice proxy IP25. The study area extends from the North Water Polynya to the Chukchi Sea across five geographic regions (North Water Polynya, Canadian Archipelago, Amundsen Gulf, Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea) based on environmental factors. To reach these objectives, we collected particulate organic matter (POM), sediments and zoobenthic samples from July to October 2014 aboard the CCGS Amundsen. Stable isotope and IP25 data, the trophic structure within regions and comparison between regions will be presented. Potential impacts of climate change and human activities on benthic ecosystems in the Arctic are still difficult to assess because of the lack of baseline data. The baseline data once provided will enable us to make further predictions on how these changes may affect benthic food web structure.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Whole-lake experiments reveal the fate of terrestrial particulate organic carbon in benthic food webs of shallow lakes.

    PubMed

    Scharnweber, K; Syväranta, J; Hilt, S; Brauns, M; Vanni, M J; Brothers, S; Köhler, J; Knezević-Jarić, J; Mehner, T

    2014-06-01

    Lake ecosystems are strongly linked to their terrestrial surroundings by material and energy fluxes across ecosystem boundaries. However, the contribution of terrestrial particulate organic carbon (tPOC) from annual leaf fall to lake food webs has not yet been adequately traced and quantified. In this study, we conducted whole-lake experiments to trace artificially added tPOC through the food webs of two shallow lakes of similar eutrophic status, but featuring alternative stable regimes (macrophyte rich vs. phytoplankton dominated). Lakes were divided with a curtain, and maize (Zea mays) leaves were added, as an isotopically distinct tPOC source, into one half of each lake. To estimate the balance between autochthonous carbon fixation and allochthonous carbon input, primary production and tPOC and tDOC (terrestrial dissolved organic carbon) influx were calculated for the treatment sides. We measured the stable isotope ratios of carbon (delta13C) of about 800 samples from all trophic consumer levels and compared them between lake sides, lakes, and three seasons. Leaf litter bag experiments showed that added maize leaves were processed at rates similar to those observed for leaves from shoreline plants, supporting the suitability of maize leaves as a tracer. The lake-wide carbon influx estimates confirmed that autochthonous carbon fixation by primary production was the dominant carbon source for consumers in the lakes. Nevertheless, carbon isotope values of benthic macroinvertebrates were significantly higher with maize additions compared to the reference side of each lake. Carbon isotope values of omnivorous and piscivorous fish were significantly affected by maize additions only in the macrophyte-dominated lake and delta13C of zooplankton and planktivorous fish remained unaffected in both lakes. In summary, our results experimentally demonstrate that tPOC in form of autumnal litterfall is rapidly processed during the subsequent months in the food web of shallow

  15. 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.

  16. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Inter-annual cascade effect on marine food web: A benthic pathway lagging nutrient supply to pelagic fish stock

    PubMed Central

    Fernandes, Lohengrin Dias de Almeida; Fagundes Netto, Eduardo Barros; Coutinho, Ricardo

    2017-01-01

    Currently, spatial and temporal changes in nutrients availability, marine planktonic, and fish communities are best described on a shorter than inter-annual (seasonal) scale, primarily because the simultaneous year-to-year variations in physical, chemical, and biological parameters are very complex. The limited availability of time series datasets furnishing simultaneous evaluations of temperature, nutrients, plankton, and fish have limited our ability to describe and to predict variability related to short-term process, as species-specific phenology and environmental seasonality. In the present study, we combine a computational time series analysis on a 15-year (1995–2009) weekly-sampled time series (high-resolution long-term time series, 780 weeks) with an Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model to track non-seasonal changes in 10 potentially related parameters: sea surface temperature, nutrient concentrations (NO2, NO3, NH4 and PO4), phytoplankton biomass (as in situ chlorophyll a biomass), meroplankton (barnacle and mussel larvae), and fish abundance (Mugil liza and Caranx latus). Our data demonstrate for the first time that highly intense and frequent upwelling years initiate a huge energy flux that is not fully transmitted through classical size-structured food web by bottom-up stimulus but through additional ontogenetic steps. A delayed inter-annual sequential effect from phytoplankton up to top predators as carnivorous fishes is expected if most of energy is trapped into benthic filter feeding organisms and their larval forms. These sequential events can explain major changes in ecosystem food web that were not predicted in previous short-term models. PMID:28886162

  18. Inter-annual cascade effect on marine food web: A benthic pathway lagging nutrient supply to pelagic fish stock.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Lohengrin Dias de Almeida; Fagundes Netto, Eduardo Barros; Coutinho, Ricardo

    2017-01-01

    Currently, spatial and temporal changes in nutrients availability, marine planktonic, and fish communities are best described on a shorter than inter-annual (seasonal) scale, primarily because the simultaneous year-to-year variations in physical, chemical, and biological parameters are very complex. The limited availability of time series datasets furnishing simultaneous evaluations of temperature, nutrients, plankton, and fish have limited our ability to describe and to predict variability related to short-term process, as species-specific phenology and environmental seasonality. In the present study, we combine a computational time series analysis on a 15-year (1995-2009) weekly-sampled time series (high-resolution long-term time series, 780 weeks) with an Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model to track non-seasonal changes in 10 potentially related parameters: sea surface temperature, nutrient concentrations (NO2, NO3, NH4 and PO4), phytoplankton biomass (as in situ chlorophyll a biomass), meroplankton (barnacle and mussel larvae), and fish abundance (Mugil liza and Caranx latus). Our data demonstrate for the first time that highly intense and frequent upwelling years initiate a huge energy flux that is not fully transmitted through classical size-structured food web by bottom-up stimulus but through additional ontogenetic steps. A delayed inter-annual sequential effect from phytoplankton up to top predators as carnivorous fishes is expected if most of energy is trapped into benthic filter feeding organisms and their larval forms. These sequential events can explain major changes in ecosystem food web that were not predicted in previous short-term models.

  19. 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.

  20. The natural diet of a hexactinellid sponge: Benthic pelagic coupling in a deep-sea microbial food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pile, Adele J.; Young, Craig M.

    2006-07-01

    Dense communities of shallow-water suspension feeders are known to sidestep the microbial loop by grazing on ultraplankton at its base. We quantified the diet, rates of water processing, and abundance of the deep-sea hexactinellid sponge Sericolophus hawaiicus, and found that, like their demosponge relatives in shallow water, hexactinellids are a significant sink for ultraplankton. S. hawaiicus forms a dense bed of sponges on the Big Island of Hawaii between 360 and 460 m depth, with a mean density of 4.7 sponges m -2. Grazing of S. hawaiicus on ultraplankton was quantified from in situ samples using flow cytometry, and was found to be unselective. Rates of water processing were determined with dye visualization and ranged from 1.62 to 3.57 cm s -1, resulting in a processing rate of 7.9±2.4 ml sponge -1 s -1. The large amount of water processed by these benthic suspension feeders results in the transfer of approximately 55 mg carbon and 7.3 mg N d -1 m -2 from the water column to the benthos. The magnitude of this flux places S. hawaiicus squarely within the functional group of organisms that link the pelagic microbial food web to the benthos.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Long-term Changes in del 13C in DOC-based Benthic Food Webs in Arctic Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hershey, A. E.; O'Brien, W. J.; Fortino, K.; Keyse, M. D.; Binkley, E.; Lienesch, P. W.; McDonald, M. E.; Luecke, C.; Whalen, S.

    2005-05-01

    Arctic regions are rapidly warming, resulting in warmer summer lake temperatures and increased slumping of organic soils. In Lake NE-12, del 13C of primarily benthivorous lake trout has declined over eleven years. Two important lake trout prey, the caddisfly Grensia and the snail Lymnaea, also became more 13C-depleted. In Lake E-1, the deposit-feeding chironomid, Stictochironomus, also shifted toward lower del 13C, while filter-feeding Tanytarsini did not. Pelagic zooplankton did not show a trend toward 13C depletion overall, but were less consistent. Recent and concurrent studies have shown that DOC is an important resource for the benthic foodweb. Methanotrophy is part of the DOC-based foodweb. Our recent studies have shown that macrobenthos use some methanotroph production. Methane has very low del 13C, thus incorporation of a small amount of methane-based production has a large effect on del 13C. We suggest that climate-driven changes in the carbon pools available to microbes are resulting in increased importance of methanotrophs in macroinvertebrate diets, contributing to the observed long-term del 13C changes. Increased algal fractionation could also be important, but this mechanism has less support because zooplankton and filter-feeding chironomids did not show the same pattern, and previous studies have shown very limited benthic-pelagic coupling.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

  11. Community food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; El-Shaarawi, Abdel H.; Piegorsch, Walter W.

    2002-01-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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)

  1. 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)

  2. 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

  3. Dispersal dynamics in food webs.

    PubMed

    Melián, Carlos J; Křivan, Vlastimil; Altermatt, Florian; Starý, Petr; Pellissier, Loïc; De Laender, Frederik

    2015-02-01

    Studies of food webs suggest that limited nonrandom dispersal can play an important role in structuring food webs. It is not clear, however, whether density-dependent dispersal fits empirical patterns of food webs better than density-independent dispersal. Here, we study a spatially distributed food web, using a series of population-dispersal models that contrast density-independent and density-dependent dispersal in landscapes where sampled sites are either homogeneously or heterogeneously distributed. These models are fitted to empirical data, allowing us to infer mechanisms that are consistent with the data. Our results show that models with density-dependent dispersal fit the α, β, and γ tritrophic richness observed in empirical data best. Our results also show that density-dependent dispersal leads to a critical distance threshold beyond which site similarity (i.e., β tritrophic richness) starts to decrease much faster. Such a threshold can also be detected in the empirical data. In contrast, models with density-independent dispersal do not predict such a threshold. Moreover, preferential dispersal from more centrally located sites to peripheral sites does not provide a better fit to empirical data when compared with symmetric dispersal between sites. Our results suggest that nonrandom dispersal in heterogeneous landscapes is an important driver that shapes local and regional richness (i.e., α and γ tritrophic richness, respectively) as well as the distance-decay relationship (i.e., β tritrophic richness) in food webs.

  4. 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.

  5. Trophic structure of coastal Antarctic food webs associated with changes in sea ice and food supply.

    PubMed

    Norkko, A; Thrush, S F; Cummings, V J; Gibbs, M M; Andrew, N L; Norkko, J; Schwarz, A M

    2007-11-01

    Predicting the dynamics of ecosystems requires an understanding of how trophic interactions respond to environmental change. In Antarctic marine ecosystems, food web dynamics are inextricably linked to sea ice conditions that affect the nature and magnitude of primary food sources available to higher trophic levels. Recent attention on the changing sea ice conditions in polar seas highlights the need to better understand how marine food webs respond to changes in such broad-scale environmental drivers. This study investigated the importance of sea ice and advected primary food sources to the structure of benthic food webs in coastal Antarctica. We compared the isotopic composition of several seafloor taxa (including primary producers and invertebrates with a variety of feeding modes) that are widely distributed in the Antarctic. We assessed shifts in the trophic role of numerically dominant benthic omnivores at five coastal Ross Sea locations. These locations vary in primary productivity and food availability, due to their different levels of sea ice cover, and proximity to polynyas and advected primary production. The delta15N signatures and isotope mixing model results for the bivalves Laternula elliptica and Adamussium colbecki and the urchin Sterechinus neumeyeri indicate a shift from consumption of a higher proportion of detritus at locations with more permanent sea ice in the south to more freshly produced algal material associated with proximity to ice-free water in the north and east. The detrital pathways utilized by many benthic species may act to dampen the impacts of large seasonal fluctuations in the availability of primary production. The limiting relationship between sea ice distribution and in situ primary productivity emphasizes the role of connectivity and spatial subsidies of organic matter in fueling the food web. Our results begin to provide a basis for predicting how benthic ecosystems will respond to changes in sea ice persistence and extent

  6. 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.

  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

    Sukhdeo, Michael V K

    2012-10-23

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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. 

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Effects of labile carbon addition on a headwater stream food web

    Treesearch

    Heidi S. Wilcox; J. Bruce Wallace; Judy L. Meyer; Jonathan P. Benstead

    2005-01-01

    We added dextrose for two 8-week periods (summer and autumn) to a highly heterotrophic headwater stream in North Carolina, U.S.A., to examine the responses of its benthic food web to increased labile carbon. We hypothesized that addition of labile carbon would elevate microbial abundance and activity, resulting in greater resource availability and higher...

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. The dynamics of assembling food webs.

    PubMed

    Fahimipour, Ashkaan K; Hein, Andrew M

    2014-05-01

    Community assembly is central to ecology, yet ecologists have amassed little quantitative information about how food webs assemble. Theory holds that colonisation rate is a primary driver of community assembly. We present new data from a mesocosm experiment to test the hypothesis that colonisation rate also determines the assembly dynamics of food webs. By manipulating colonisation rate and measuring webs through time, we show how colonisation rate governs structural changes during assembly. Webs experiencing different colonisation rates had stable topologies despite significant species turnover, suggesting that some features of network architecture emerge early and change little through assembly. But webs experiencing low colonisation rates showed less variation in the magnitudes of trophic fluxes, and were less likely to develop coupled fast and slow resource channels--a common feature of published webs. Our results reveal that food web structure develops according to repeatable trajectories that are strongly influenced by colonisation rate. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  1. Comparing the Ecological Stoichiometry in Green and Brown Food Webs - A Review and Meta-analysis of Freshwater Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Evans-White, Michelle A; Halvorson, Halvor M

    2017-01-01

    The framework of ecological stoichiometry was developed primarily within the context of "green" autotroph-based food webs. While stoichiometric principles also apply in "brown" detritus-based systems, these systems have been historically understudied and differ from green ones in several important aspects including carbon (C) quality and the nutrient [nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] contents of food resources for consumers. In this paper, we review work over the last decade that has advanced the application of ecological stoichiometry from green to brown food webs, focusing on freshwater ecosystems. We first review three focal areas where green and brown food webs differ: (1) bottom-up controls by light and nutrient availability, (2) stoichiometric constraints on consumer growth and nutritional regulation, and (3) patterns in consumer-driven nutrient dynamics. Our review highlights the need for further study of how light and nutrient availability affect autotroph-heterotroph interactions on detritus and the subsequent effects on consumer feeding and growth. To complement this conceptual review, we formally quantified differences in stoichiometric principles between green and brown food webs using a meta-analysis across feeding studies of freshwater benthic invertebrates. From 257 datasets collated across 46 publications and several unpublished studies, we compared effect sizes (Pearson's r) of resource N:C and P:C on growth, consumption, excretion, and egestion between herbivorous and detritivorous consumers. The meta-analysis revealed that both herbivore and detritivore growth are limited by resource N:C and P:C contents, but effect sizes only among detritivores were significantly above zero. Consumption effect sizes were negative among herbivores but positive for detritivores in the case of both N:C and P:C, indicating distinct compensatory feeding responses across resource stoichiometry gradients. Herbivore P excretion rates responded significantly positively

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Food web persistence in fragmented landscapes.

    PubMed

    Liao, Jinbao; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2017-07-26

    Habitat destruction, characterized by patch loss and fragmentation, is a key driver of biodiversity loss. There has been some progress in the theory of spatial food webs; however, to date, practically nothing is known about how patch configurational fragmentation influences multi-trophic food web dynamics. We develop a spatially extended patch-dynamic model for different food webs by linking patch connectivity with trophic-dependent dispersal (i.e. higher trophic levels displaying longer-range dispersal). Using this model, we find that species display different sensitivities to patch loss and fragmentation, depending on their trophic position and the overall food web structure. Relative to other food webs, omnivory structure significantly increases system robustness to habitat destruction, as feeding on different trophic levels increases the omnivore's persistence. Additionally, in food webs with a dispersal-competition trade-off between species, intermediate levels of habitat destruction can enhance biodiversity by creating refuges for the weaker competitor. This demonstrates that maximizing patch connectivity is not always effective for biodiversity maintenance, as in food webs containing indirect competition, doing so may lead to further species loss. © 2017 The Author(s).

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. A robust measure of food web intervality.

    PubMed

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

    2006-12-12

    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.

  8. Persistence in Food Webs. I. Lotka-Volterra Food Chains,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1978-07-01

    0256 UNCLASSIFIED N i EE’hEZE *1 Al 1,1 IqI 0 - r ~PERSISTENCE IN FOOD WEBS.A I. LOTKA - VOLTERRA FOOD CHAINS Thomas C./Gard en9 Mt aisFEB 2 7 1980...2260n80 PERSISTENCE IN FOOD WEBS: \\’ ,.’ ’,-’ - 1. LOTKA - VOLTERRA FOOD CHAINS Thomas C. Gard and Thomas G. Hallam \\\\ . ’ \\7 INTRODUCTION bf numerous...modelled by Lotka - Volterra dynamics are determined. Here a simple food chain has a single species composing each trophic level with its dynamics

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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)

  14. Food web heterogeneity and succession in created saltmarshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nordstrom, M C; Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.; 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

  15. Phenotypic variation explains food web structural patterns.

    PubMed

    Gibert, Jean P; DeLong, John P

    2017-10-02

    Food webs (i.e., networks of species and their feeding interactions) share multiple structural features across ecosystems. The factors explaining such similarities are still debated, and the role played by most organismal traits and their intraspecific variation is unknown. Here, we assess how variation in traits controlling predator-prey interactions (e.g., body size) affects food web structure. We show that larger phenotypic variation increases connectivity among predators and their prey as well as total food intake rate. For predators able to eat only a few species (i.e., specialists), low phenotypic variation maximizes intake rates, while the opposite is true for consumers with broader diets (i.e., generalists). We also show that variation sets predator trophic level by determining interaction strengths with prey at different trophic levels. Merging these results, we make two general predictions about the structure of food webs: (i) trophic level should increase with predator connectivity, and (ii) interaction strengths should decrease with prey trophic level. We confirm these predictions empirically using a global dataset of well-resolved food webs. Our results provide understanding of the processes structuring food webs that include functional traits and their naturally occurring variation. Published under the PNAS license.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Increased reactive nitrogen (Nr ) deposition has raised the amount of N available to organisms and has greatly altered the transfer of energy through food webs, with major consequences for trophic dynamics. The aim of this review was to: (i) clarify the direct and indirect effects of Nr deposition on forest and lake food webs in N-limited biomes, (ii) compare and contrast how aquatic and terrestrial systems respond to increased Nr deposition, and (iii) identify how the nutrient pathways within and between ecosystems change in response to Nr deposition. We present that Nr deposition releases primary producers from N limitation in both forest and lake ecosystems and raises plants' N content which in turn benefits herbivores with high N requirements. Such trophic effects are coupled with a general decrease in biodiversity caused by different N-use efficiencies; slow-growing species with low rates of N turnover are replaced by fast-growing species with high rates of N turnover. In contrast, Nr deposition diminishes below-ground production in forests, due to a range of mechanisms that reduce microbial biomass, and decreases lake benthic productivity by switching herbivore growth from N to phosphorus (P) limitation, and by intensifying P limitation of benthic fish. The flow of nutrients between ecosystems is expected to change with increasing Nr deposition. Due to higher litter production and more intense precipitation, more terrestrial matter will enter lakes. This will benefit bacteria and will in turn boost the microbial food web. Additionally, Nr deposition promotes emergent insects, which subsidize the terrestrial food web as prey for insectivores or by dying and decomposing on land. So far, most studies have examined Nr -deposition effects on the food web base, whereas our review highlights that changes at the base of food webs substantially impact higher trophic levels and therefore food web structure and functioning. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Kadoya, Taku; Osada, Yutaka; Takimoto, Gaku

    2012-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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.

  10. Contributions of stable-isotope data to elucidating food webs of Mediterranean rocky littoral fishes.

    PubMed

    Pinnegar, J K; Polunin, N V C

    2000-02-01

    The food webs of rocky infra-littoral ecosystems in the Mediterranean have been little studied. In this investigation stable isotopes and dietary data were compared in an attempt to describe features of the food webs concerned. δ(13)C and δ(15)N were determined for plants, invertebrates and fishes from the Bay of Calvi, Corsica. Dietary data were derived from the literature. δ(13)C of plants ranged from -8.59‰ to -33.74‰, of benthic invertebrates from -17.0‰ to -20.52‰, of planktonic invertebrates from -20.08‰ to -22.34‰ and of fishes from -16.27‰ to -19.59‰. δ(15)N was generally greater at higher trophic levels. δ(15)N of plants was 0.95-2.92‰, of benthic invertebrates 1.69-6.54‰, of planktonic invertebrates 3.51-6.82‰ and of fishes 4.63-9.77‰. (13)C enrichment tended to be associated with benthic food chains and (13)C depletion with planktonic chains. Stable-isotope data suggested more varied diets for many species than implied by gut-contents data. Omnivory and trophic plasticity were widespread, and many consumers fed lower down the food chain than previous studies had suggested. Both stable-isotope and gut-contents analysis resolved differences between fishes feeding on planktonic and benthic prey and indicated that the herbivorous fish Sarpa salpa fed on a diet substantially different from that of other fishes. Zooplankton were important in the diets of several consumers (both primary and secondary), as was plankton derived detritus. One species of fish previously identified as planktivorous was shown to feed largely on benthic organisms, whilst several species of benthic invertebrates may feed on plankton-derived detritus. Although herbivores seemed to obtain most of their C from macroalgae, δ(15)N data suggested that many of these animals supplemented their intake of N, although gut-contents analysis did not provide evidence for such uptake. The isotopic data have elucidated several features of the food web which we would not

  11. 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.

  12. Influence of Flow Regime on the Food web of a Dryland River System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bunn, S. E.; Balcombe, S. R.; Fellows, C. S.; McKenzie-Smith, F. J.

    2005-05-01

    Australian dryland rivers are among the most variable and unpredictable in the world in terms of their flow regimes. Although renowned for their spectacular floods over vast floodplains, rivers exist for much of the time as discrete waterholes, which are important refugia for aquatic biota. During these dry spells, aquatic food webs in waterholes are clearly supported by algal production, despite the high natural turbidity and significant terrestrial carbon inputs. However, the relative importance of pelagic and benthic sources is less clear. Although fish rarely have stable isotope signatures consistent with a phytoplankton diet, gut contents analysis suggests that zooplankton can be a significant component of diets. Planktonic sources of carbon appear to be important during and immediately after flood events, where aquatic production on inundated floodplains provides an immense food resource. As waterholes become isolated post-flood, we predict that benthic sources of production become increasingly important as algae develop along the relatively stable shoreline. More frequent flow pulses connect waterholes and enhance their physical persistence, but may disrupt the formation of these productive algal mats. We propose that the relative importance of benthic and pelagic algal production to dryland river food webs varies in response to recent flow history.

  13. 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.

  14. Oxalate content of food: a tangled web.

    PubMed

    Attalla, Kyrollis; De, Shubha; Monga, Manoj

    2014-09-01

    To account for variations in dietary oxalate content in resources available to hyperoxaluric patients. Our objective is to examine the heterogeneity of the oxalate content reported across various Web-based sources and smartphone applications. A search of "oxalate content of food" was performed using the Google search engine. Smartphone applications were identified by their ability to assess oxalate content. Oxalate contents were obtained, and common foods were selected for comparison. Food groups were compared to better understand how patients are guided when using these references to manipulate their diet. Thirteen sources were identified, and 8 sources (6 Web sites and 2 applications) were used to construct figures for comparison of commonly listed foods. Oxalate content was extremely variable between various sources. Fruits with the widest observed range of oxalate included oranges (2.07-10.64 mg/100 g) and bananas (0-9.9 mg/100 g). Among vegetables, the oxalate contents of spinach (364.44-1145 mg/100 g), rhubarb (511-983.61 mg/100 g), and beets (36.9-794.12 mg/100 g) were most variable. Among nuts, the oxalate content of peanuts ranged from 64.57 to 348.58 mg/100 g, and pecans ranged from 4.08 to 404.08 mg/100 g. Wide variations exist in the reported oxalate content of foods across several Web-based sources and smartphone applications, several of which are substantial and can have a sizable impact on the construction of a low oxalate diet. As dietary counseling has proven benefits, patients and caregivers should be aware of the heterogeneity that exists in the reported oxalate content of foods. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Generalized models reveal stabilizing factors in food webs.

    PubMed

    Gross, Thilo; Rudolf, Lars; Levin, Simon A; Dieckmann, Ulf

    2009-08-07

    Insights into what stabilizes natural food webs have always been limited by a fundamental dilemma: Studies either need to make unwarranted simplifying assumptions, which undermines their relevance, or only examine few replicates of small food webs, which hampers the robustness of findings. We used generalized modeling to study several billion replicates of food webs with nonlinear interactions and up to 50 species. In this way, first we show that higher variability in link strengths stabilizes food webs only when webs are relatively small, whereas larger webs are instead destabilized. Second, we reveal a new power law describing how food-web stability scales with the number of species and their connectance. Third, we report two universal rules: Food-web stability is enhanced when (i) species at a high trophic level feed on multiple prey species and (ii) species at an intermediate trophic level are fed upon by multiple predator species.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Comparing the Ecological Stoichiometry in Green and Brown Food Webs – A Review and Meta-analysis of Freshwater Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Evans-White, Michelle A.; Halvorson, Halvor M.

    2017-01-01

    The framework of ecological stoichiometry was developed primarily within the context of “green” autotroph-based food webs. While stoichiometric principles also apply in “brown” detritus-based systems, these systems have been historically understudied and differ from green ones in several important aspects including carbon (C) quality and the nutrient [nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] contents of food resources for consumers. In this paper, we review work over the last decade that has advanced the application of ecological stoichiometry from green to brown food webs, focusing on freshwater ecosystems. We first review three focal areas where green and brown food webs differ: (1) bottom–up controls by light and nutrient availability, (2) stoichiometric constraints on consumer growth and nutritional regulation, and (3) patterns in consumer-driven nutrient dynamics. Our review highlights the need for further study of how light and nutrient availability affect autotroph–heterotroph interactions on detritus and the subsequent effects on consumer feeding and growth. To complement this conceptual review, we formally quantified differences in stoichiometric principles between green and brown food webs using a meta-analysis across feeding studies of freshwater benthic invertebrates. From 257 datasets collated across 46 publications and several unpublished studies, we compared effect sizes (Pearson’s r) of resource N:C and P:C on growth, consumption, excretion, and egestion between herbivorous and detritivorous consumers. The meta-analysis revealed that both herbivore and detritivore growth are limited by resource N:C and P:C contents, but effect sizes only among detritivores were significantly above zero. Consumption effect sizes were negative among herbivores but positive for detritivores in the case of both N:C and P:C, indicating distinct compensatory feeding responses across resource stoichiometry gradients. Herbivore P excretion rates responded

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Density- and trait-mediated top-down effects modify bottom-up control of a highly endemic tropical aquatic food web

    Treesearch

    C. M. Dalton; A. Mokiao-Lee; T. S. Sakihara; M. G. Weber; C. A. Roco; Z. Han; B. Dudley; R. A. MacKenzie; N. G. Hairston Jr.

    2013-01-01

    Benthic invertebrates mediate bottom–up and top–down influences in aquatic food webs, and changes in the abundance or traits of invertebrates can alter the strength of top–down effects. Studies assessing the role of invertebrate abundance and behavior as controls on food web structure are rare at the whole ecosystem scale. Here we use a comparative approach to...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gale, M.; Loseto, L. L.

    2011-12-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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).

  8. Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds in lake food webs from the Canadian high Arctic.

    PubMed

    Lescord, Gretchen L; Kidd, Karen A; De Silva, Amila O; Williamson, Mary; Spencer, Christine; Wang, Xiaowa; Muir, Derek C G

    2015-03-03

    Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) enter Arctic lakes through long-range atmospheric transport and local contamination, but their behavior in aquatic food webs at high latitudes is poorly understood. This study compared the concentrations of perfluorocarboxylates, perfluorosulfonates, and fluorotelomer sulfonates (FTS) in biotic and abiotic samples from six high Arctic lakes near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada. Two of these lakes are known to be locally contaminated by a small airport and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) from these lakes had over 100 times higher total [PFAS] when compared to fish from neighboring lakes. Perfluorononanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) dominated in char, benthic chironomids (their main prey), and sediments, while pelagic zooplankton and water were dominated by lower chain acids and perfluorodecanesulfonate (PFDS). This study also provides the first measures of perfluoroethylcyclohexanesulfonate (PFECHS) and FTS compounds in water, sediment, juvenile char, and benthic invertebrates from lakes in the high Arctic. Negative relationships between [PFAS] and δ(15)N values (indicative of trophic position) within these food webs indicated no biomagnification. Overall, these results suggest that habitat use and local sources of contamination, but not trophic level, are important determinants of [PFAS] in biota from freshwater food webs in the Canadian Arctic.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1983-10-01

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

  14. Understanding food-web persistence from local to global scales.

    PubMed

    Stouffer, Daniel B; Bascompte, Jordi

    2010-02-01

    Understanding food-web persistence is an important long-term objective of ecology because of its relevance in maintaining biodiversity. To date, many dynamic studies of food-web behaviour--both empirical and theoretical--have focused on smaller sub-webs, called trophic modules, because these modules are more tractable experimentally and analytically than whole food webs. The question remains to what degree studies of trophic modules are relevant to infer the persistence of entire food webs. Four trophic modules have received particular attention in the literature: tri-trophic food chains, omnivory, exploitative competition, and apparent competition. Here, we integrate analysis of these modules' dynamics in isolation with those of whole food webs to directly assess the appropriateness of scaling from modules to food webs. We find that there is not a direct, one-to-one, relationship between the relative persistence of modules in isolation and their effect on persistence of an entire food web. Nevertheless, we observe that those modules which are most commonly found in empirical food webs are those that confer the greatest community persistence. As a consequence, we demonstrate that there may be significant dynamic justifications for empirically-observed food-web structure.

  15. 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. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26336179

  17. 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. © 2015 The Authors.

  18. 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.

  19. Bioaccumulation Dynamics of Arsenate at the Base of Aquatic Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Lopez, Adeline R; Hesterberg, Dean R; Funk, David H; Buchwalter, David B

    2016-06-21

    Periphyton is an important food source at the base of freshwater ecosystems that tends to bioconcentrate trace elements making them trophically available. The potential for arsenic-a trace element of particular concern due to its widespread occurrence, toxicity, and carcinogenicity-to bioconcentrate in periphyton and thus be available to benthic grazers is less well characterized. To better understand arsenate bioaccumulation dynamics in lotic food webs, we used a radiotracer approach to characterize accumulation in periphyton and subsequent trophic transfer to benthic grazers. Periphyton bioconcentrated As between 3,200-9,700-fold (dry weight) over 8 days without reaching steady state, suggesting that periphyton is a major sink for arsenate. However, As-enriched periphyton as a food source for the mayfly Neocloeon triangulifer resulted in negligible As accumulation in a full lifecycle exposure. Additional studies estimate dietary assimilation efficiency in several primary consumers ranging from 22% in the mayfly N. triangulifer to 75% in the mayfly Isonychia sp. X-ray fluorescence mapping revealed that As was predominantly associated with iron oxides in periphyton. We speculate that As adsorption to Fe in periphyton may play a role in reducing dietary bioavailability. Together, these results suggest that trophic movement of As in lotic food webs is relatively low, though species differences in bioaccumulation patterns are important.

  20. Detrital shadows: estuarine food web connectivity depends on fluvial influence and consumer feeding mode.

    PubMed

    Howe, Emily; Simenstad, Charles A; Ogston, Andrea

    2017-10-01

    We measured the influence of landscape setting on estuarine food web connectivity in five macrotidal Pacific Northwest estuaries across a gradient of freshwater influence. We used stable isotopes (δ(13) C, δ(15) N, δ(34) S) in combination with a Bayesian mixing model to trace primary producer contributions to suspension- and deposit-feeding bivalve consumers (Mytilus trossulus and Macoma nasuta) transplanted into three estuarine vegetation zones: emergent marsh, mudflat, and eelgrass. Eelgrass includes both Japanese eelgrass (Zostera japonica) and native eelgrass (Zostera marina). Fluvial discharge and consumer feeding mode strongly influenced the strength and spatial scale of observed food web linkages, while season played a secondary role. Mussels displayed strong cross-ecosystem connectivity in all estuaries, with decreasing marine influence in the more fluvial estuaries. Mussel diets indicated homogenization of detrital sources within the water column of each estuary. In contrast, the diets of benthic deposit-feeding clams indicated stronger compartmentalization in food web connectivity, especially in the largest river delta where clam diets were trophically disconnected from marsh sources of detritus. This suggests detritus deposition is patchy across space, and less homogenous than the suspended detritus pool. In addition to fluvial setting, other estuary-specific environmental drivers, such as marsh area or particle transport speed, influenced the degree of food web linkages across space and time, often accounting for unexpected patterns in food web connectivity. Transformations of the estuarine landscape that alter river hydrology or availability of detritus sources can thus potentially disrupt natural food web connectivity at the landscape scale, especially for sedentary organisms, which cannot track their food sources through space. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  1. 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.

  2. Warming and Resource Availability Shift Food Web Structure and Metabolism

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, Mary I.; Piehler, Michael F.; Leech, Dina M.; Anton, Andrea; Bruno, John F.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change disrupts ecological systems in many ways. Many documented responses depend on species' life histories, contributing to the view that climate change effects are important but difficult to characterize generally. However, systematic variation in metabolic effects of temperature across trophic levels suggests that warming may lead to predictable shifts in food web structure and productivity. We experimentally tested the effects of warming on food web structure and productivity under two resource supply scenarios. Consistent with predictions based on universal metabolic responses to temperature, we found that warming strengthened consumer control of primary production when resources were augmented. Warming shifted food web structure and reduced total biomass despite increases in primary productivity in a marine food web. In contrast, at lower resource levels, food web production was constrained at all temperatures. These results demonstrate that small temperature changes could dramatically shift food web dynamics and provide a general, species-independent mechanism for ecological response to environmental temperature change. PMID:19707271

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1984-08-01

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Metacommunity theory explains the emergence of food web complexity

    PubMed Central

    Pillai, Pradeep; Gonzalez, Andrew; Loreau, Michel

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:22084089

  9. Characteristics of food industry web sites and "advergames" targeting children.

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    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. A content analysis was conducted of Web sites advertised on 2 children's networks, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A total of 290 Web pages and 247 unique games on 19 Internet sites were examined. Games, found on 81% of Web sites, were the most predominant promotion strategy used. All games had at least 1 brand identifier, with logos being most frequently used. On average Web sites contained 1 "healthful" message for every 45 exposures to brand identifiers. Food companies use Web sites to extend their television advertising to promote brand loyalty among children. These sites almost exclusively promoted food items high in sugar and fat. Health professionals need to monitor food industry marketing practices used in "new media." Published by Elsevier Inc.

  10. Microcystin in aquatic food webs of the Baltic and Chesapeake Bay regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bukaveckas, Paul A.; Lesutienė, Jūratė; Gasiūnaitė, Zita R.; Ložys, Linas; Olenina, Irina; Pilkaitytė, Renata; Pūtys, Žilvinas; Tassone, Spencer; Wood, Joseph

    2017-05-01

    We undertook a comparative study of the James River Estuary, a sub-estuary of Chesapeake Bay, and the Curonian Lagoon, a sub-estuary of the Baltic Sea, to better understand the factors that determine the presence and persistence of algal toxins in food webs. Over a 2-year period, we measured microcystin concentrations in water, sediment and biota (fish and shellfish) at both sites. Across both food webs we found highest levels of microcystin among consumers of suspended particulate matter, including planktivorous fishes and filter-feeding shellfish, and lower levels of toxin among piscivores, scavengers and benthic omnivores. Despite similar levels of microcystin in the water column at the two sites, we observed higher toxin levels in fish and sediments of the Curonian Lagoon. We attribute this difference to the legacy of prior toxic cyanobacteria blooms in the Curonian Lagoon and hydrologic factors that result in a predominance of autochthonously-derived organic matter in the sediments at this site. Our results suggest that a consideration of species-specific differences in feeding habits, and organic matter sources supporting food webs are important to understanding the accumulation and persistence of algal toxins in food webs and should therefore be considered in assessment of risks to aquatic biota and human health.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Food and beverage advertising on children's web sites.

    PubMed

    Ustjanauskas, A E; Harris, J L; Schwartz, M B

    2014-10-01

    Food marketing contributes to childhood obesity. Food companies commonly place display advertising on children's web sites, but few studies have investigated this form of advertising. Document the number of food and beverage display advertisements viewed on popular children's web sites, nutritional quality of advertised brands and proportion of advertising approved by food companies as healthier dietary choices for child-directed advertising. Syndicated Internet exposure data identified popular children's web sites and food advertisements viewed on these web sites from July 2009 through June 2010. Advertisements were classified according to food category and companies' participation in food industry self-regulation. The percent of advertisements meeting government-proposed nutrition standards was calculated. 3.4 billion food advertisements appeared on popular children's web sites; 83% on just four web sites. Breakfast cereals and fast food were advertised most often (64% of ads). Most ads (74%) promoted brands approved by companies for child-directed advertising, but 84% advertised products that were high in fat, sugar and/or sodium. Ads for foods designated by companies as healthier dietary choices appropriate for child-directed advertising were least likely to meet independent nutrition standards. Most foods advertised on popular children's web sites do not meet independent nutrition standards. Further improvements to industry self-regulation are required. © 2013 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity © 2013 International Association for the Study of Obesity.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

  1. 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…

  2. Host Centrality in Food Web Networks Determines Parasite Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Tavis K.; Sukhdeo, Michael V. K.

    2011-01-01

    Background Parasites significantly alter topological metrics describing food web structure, yet few studies have explored the relationship between food web topology and parasite diversity. Methods/Principal Findings This study uses quantitative metrics describing network structure to investigate the relationship between the topology of the host food web and parasite diversity. Food webs were constructed for four restored brackish marshes that vary in species diversity, time post restoration and levels of parasitism. Our results show that the topology of the food web in each brackish marsh is highly nested, with clusters of generalists forming a distinct modular structure. The most consistent predictors of parasite diversity within a host were: trophic generality, and eigenvector centrality. These metrics indicate that parasites preferentially colonise host species that are highly connected, and within modules of tightly interacting species in the food web network. Conclusions/Significance These results suggest that highly connected free-living species within the food web may represent stable trophic relationships that allow for the persistence of complex parasite life cycles. Our data demonstrate that the structure of host food webs can have a significant effect on the establishment of parasites, and on the potential for evolution of complex parasite life cycles. PMID:22046360

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-01

    Predators tend to be large and mobile, enabling them to forage in spatially distinct food web compartments (e.g. littoral and pelagic aquatic macrohabitats). This feature can stabilise ecosystems when predators are capable of rapid behavioural response to changing resource conditions in distinct habitat compartments. However, what provides this ability to respond behaviourally has not been quantified. We hypothesised that predators require increased cognitive abilities to occupy their position in a food web, which puts pressure to increase brain size. Consistent with food web theory, we found that fish relative brain size increased with increased ability to forage across macrohabitats and increased relative trophic positions in a lacustrine food web, indicating that larger brains may afford the cognitive capacity to exploit various habitats flexibly, thus contributing to the stability of whole food webs. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Allometric degree distributions facilitate food-web stability.

    PubMed

    Otto, Sonja B; Rall, Björn C; Brose, Ulrich

    2007-12-20

    In natural ecosystems, species are linked by feeding interactions that determine energy fluxes and create complex food webs. The stability of these food webs enables many species to coexist and to form diverse ecosystems. Recent theory finds predator-prey body-mass ratios to be critically important for food-web stability. However, the mechanisms responsible for this stability are unclear. Here we use a bioenergetic consumer-resource model to explore how and why only particular predator-prey body-mass ratios promote stability in tri-trophic (three-species) food chains. We find that this 'persistence domain' of ratios is constrained by bottom-up energy availability when predators are much smaller than their prey and by enrichment-driven dynamics when predators are much larger. We also find that 97% of the tri-trophic food chains across five natural food webs exhibit body-mass ratios within the predicted persistence domain. Further analyses of randomly rewired food webs show that body mass and allometric degree distributions in natural food webs mediate this consistency. The allometric degree distributions hold that the diversity of species' predators and prey decreases and increases, respectively, with increasing species' body masses. Our results demonstrate how simple relationships between species' body masses and feeding interactions may promote the stability of complex food webs.

  9. Food webs and carbon flux in the Barents Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-10-01

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

  10. Factors affecting biotic mercury concentrations and biomagnification through lake food webs in the Canadian high Arctic.

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-15

    In temperate regions of Canada, mercury (Hg) concentrations in biota and the magnitude of Hg biomagnification through food webs vary between neighboring lakes and are related to water chemistry variables and physical lake features. However, few studies have examined factors affecting the variable Hg concentrations in landlocked Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) or the biomagnification of Hg through their food webs. We estimated the food web structure of six high Arctic lakes near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada, using stable carbon (δ(13)C) and nitrogen (δ(15)N) isotopes and measured Hg (total Hg (THg) in char, the only fish species, and methylmercury (MeHg) in chironomids and zooplankton) concentrations in biota collected in 2010 and 2011. Across lakes, δ(13)C showed that benthic carbon (chironomids) was the dominant food source for char. Regression models of log Hg versus δ(15)N (of char and benthic invertebrates) showed positive and significant slopes, indicting Hg biomagnification in all lakes, and higher slopes in some lakes than others. However, no principal components (PC) generated using all water chemistry data and physical characteristics of the lakes predicted the different slopes. The PC dominated by aqueous ions was a negative predictor of MeHg concentrations in chironomids, suggesting that water chemistry affects Hg bioavailability and MeHg concentrations in these lower-trophic-level organisms. Furthermore, regression intercepts were predicted by the PCs dominated by catchment area, aqueous ions, and MeHg. Weaker relationships were also found between THg in small char or MeHg in pelagic invertebrates and the PCs dominated by catchment area, and aqueous nitrate and MeHg. Results from these high Arctic lakes suggest that Hg biomagnification differs between systems and that their physical and chemical characteristics affect Hg concentrations in lower-trophic-level biota. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Food Web Structure in a Harsh Glacier-Fed River

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:23613751

  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. 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.

  18. 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

  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. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Function and Food Webs of Springs Near Treeline in the Swiss National Park

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robinson, C. T.; Schmid, D.; Svoboda, M.

    2005-05-01

    We investigated ecosystem function and food web structure of high elevation springs in the Swiss National Park. Functional characteristics were derived from measures of ecosystem metabolism, sediment respiration, and nutrient uptake experiments in 4 springs. Food webs were assessed using stable isotope analysis (C, N) of different ecosystem compartments from 20 springs encompassing 6 different spring types. Gross primary production (GPP) ranged from 2.4 to 4.3 g O2 m-2 d-1 and ecosystem respiration (ER) from 3.6 to 6.7 g O2 m-2 d-1, suggesting springs were net-heterotrophic (P/R<0.75). One iron-oxide rich spring had GPP = 65 and ER = 96 g O2 m-2 d-1. Bacterial abundances (DAPI) ranged from 2-3×108 cells/ml, and benthic sediments were mostly anaerobic. Uptake lengths of both N and P were <50 m, with uptake rates of P at 0.3-3.1 mg m-2 h-1 and N at 57-178 mg m-2 h-1, suggesting springs were important nutrient sinks. Food webs were simple (<8 taxa) and primarily detritus based. The dominate stonefly predator relied on instream production of invertebrates. Terrestrial predators (lycosid spiders) near springs fed on a terrestrial diet. These data suggest these springs derive most of their energy from allochthonous sources and are net-heterotrophic ecosystems.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Brind'Amour, Anik; Dubois, Stanislas F.

    2013-01-01

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

  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. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  13. Tracking contaminant flux from aquatic to terrestrial food webs

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Interaction strength, food web topology and the relative importance of species in food webs.

    PubMed

    O'Gorman, Eoin J; Jacob, Ute; Jonsson, Tomas; Emmerson, Mark C

    2010-05-01

    1. We established complex marine communities, consisting of over 100 species, in large subtidal experimental mesocosms. We measured the strength of direct interactions and the net strength of direct and indirect interactions between the species in those communities, using a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches. 2. Theoretical predictions of interaction strength were derived from the interaction coefficient matrix, which was parameterised using allometric predator-prey relationships. Empirical estimates of interaction strength were quantified using the ln-ratio, which measures the change in biomass density of species A in the presence and absence of species B. 3. We observed that highly connected species tend to have weak direct effects and net effects in our experimental food webs, whether we calculate interaction strength theoretically or empirically. 4. We found a significant correlation between our theoretical predictions and empirical estimates of direct effects and net effects. The net effects correlation was much stronger, indicating that our experimental communities were dominated by a mixture of direct and indirect effects. 5. Re-calculation of the theoretical predictions of net effects after randomising predator and prey body masses did not affect the negative relationship with connectance. 6. These results suggest that food web topology, which in this system is constrained by body mass, is overwhelmingly important for the magnitude of direct and indirect interactions and hence species importance in the face of biodiversity declines.

  20. 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...

  1. 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...

  2. Effects of taxonomic and trophic aggregation on food web properties.

    PubMed

    Sugihara, George; Bersier, L-F; Schoenly, Kenneth

    1997-10-01

    Historically, ecologists have been more interested in organisms feeding at the tops of food chains than in organisms feeding at or near the bottom. The problem of taxonomic and trophic inconsistency within and among described food webs is central to criticisms of contemporary food web research. To study the effects of taxonomic and trophic aggregation on food web properties, 38 published food webs, each containing a large fraction of investigator-defined biological species, were systematically aggregated by taxonomy and trophic (functional) group similarity. During each step of taxonomic and trophic aggregation, eight food web properties (MIN, MAX, mean chain lengths; the fractions of basal, intermediate and top species; the ratio of all links by the total number of species, L/S; and rigid circuits) were calculated and their departures from the original, unaggregated version were recorded. We found only two␣properties showing wide systematic departure from initial values after both taxonomic and trophic group aggregation: the fraction of basal species and L/S. One reason for the relative `constancy' of the six other properties was due in part to large numbers of trophically equivalent species (species with identical sets of prey and predators) found in these and other published webs. In the 38 webs, the average number of trophically equivalent species was 45% and ranged from a low of 13% in aquatic webs to a high of 71% in certain terrestrial systems (i.e., carrion webs). Six of the eight properties (MIN, MAX and mean chain lengths, the fractions of top and basal species, and the L/S ratio) were found to be more sensitive to taxonomic than to trophic aggregation. The relatively smaller variations observed in trophically lumped versions suggest that food web properties more aptly reflect functional, rather than taxonomic, attributes of real food webs. These findings parallel earlier trophic-based results, and bolster the conclusion that uneven lumping of taxonomic

  3. Compilation and Network Analyses of Cambrian Food Webs

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  4. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites.

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Moya-Laraño, Jordi

    2011-01-01

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

  8. Stabilizing mechanisms in a food web with an introduced omnivore.

    PubMed

    Granados, Monica; Duffy, Sean; McKindsey, Christopher W; Fussmann, Gregor F

    2017-07-01

    Intraguild predation (IGP) is an omnivorous food web configuration in which the top predator consumes both a competitor (consumer) and a second prey that it shares with the competitor. This omnivorous configuration occurs frequently in food webs, but theory suggests that it is unstable unless stabilizing mechanisms exist that can decrease the strength of the omnivore and consumer interaction. Although these mechanisms have been documented in native food webs, little is known about whether they operate in the context of an introduced species. Here, we study a marine mussel aquaculture system where the introduction of omnivorous mussels should generate an unstable food web that favors the extinction of the consumer, yet it persists. Using field and laboratory approaches, we searched for stabilizing mechanisms that could reduce interaction strengths in the food web. While field zooplankton counts suggested that mussels influence the composition and abundance of copepods, stable isotope results indicated that life-history omnivory and cannibalism facilitated the availability of prey refugia, and reduced competition and the interaction strength between the mussel omnivore and zooplankton consumers. In laboratory experiments, however, we found no evidence of adaptive feeding which could weaken predator-consumer interactions. Our food web study suggests that the impact of an introduced omnivore may not only depend on its interaction with native species but also on the availability of stabilizing mechanisms that alter the strength of those interactions.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. Static and dynamic explanations for patterns in food webs.

    PubMed

    Lawton, J H; Warren, P H

    1988-09-01

    Ten interesting patterns can be discerned in compendia of published food webs, and are not all easily dismissed as artefacts of poor data. A variety of theoretical explanations have been put forward to explain one, or more, of these patterns; for example, five reasons have been advanced for why food chains are short. Two bodies of theory each satisfactorily account for a majority (but not all) of the patterns, but draw on very different assumptions. One group of theoretical explanations is based on dynamic interactions between species, modelled by Lotka-Volterra equations. The other takes a static view of food web assembly, and assumes a trophic cascade, or hierarchy of feeding links, in which species body sizes appear to play a crucial role. On present evidence, it is not possible to distinguish between the relative contributions of either of these possibilities in the creation of structure in real food webs. Copyright © 1988. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  19. Compound-specific amino acid isotopic analyses of invertebrates in the Chukchi Sea: New insights on food web dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

    Food web dynamics in the Chukchi Sea have been previously evaluated using bulk analysis of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of organisms. However, recent advances in compound-specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids indicate the potential to better identify the contributions of different dietary sources (e.g., pelagic vs. benthic, ice algae vs. phytoplankton) and to resolve complexities of food web structure that are difficult to address with bulk isotope analysis. Here we combine amino acid δ13C and δ15N data measured from primary producers and tissues of bivalves, polychaetes and other benthic invertebrates collected during two cruises in the summer of 2013 and 2015 in the Pacific Arctic. The results showed spatial variation of carbon isotope values in amino acids with difference up to 6 per mil for each individual species or taxa studied, indicating a shift in the food-web baseline geographically. Furthermore, the spatial variation in isotopic values was related to environmental factors, specifically sea ice extent, and total organic carbon, total organic nitrogen and the carbon/nitrogen ratio of the organic fractions of surface sediments. Results also indicated that trophic levels, as estimated by differences in the nitrogen isotope composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine [Δ15Nglu-phe (δ15Nglu - δ15Nphe)], varied spatially by 0.5 to 1.5 trophic levels for certain species or taxa such as Macoma calcarea, Maldanidae and Ampelisca, indicating trophic level shifts that were associated with the food quality of organic matter in the organic fraction of the sediments. These results can be potentially used to predict future food web change in this high latitude marine system that is known for its ecological importance and on-going environmental changes, including warming and sea ice decline.

  20. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Omnivory and the stability of simple food webs.

    PubMed

    Holyoak, Marcel; Sachdev, Sambhav

    1998-12-01

    Traditional ecological theory predicts that the stability of simple food webs will decline with an increasing number of trophic levels and increasing amounts of omnivory. These ideas have been tested using protozoans in laboratory microcosms. However, the results are equivocal, and contrary to expectation, omnivory is common in natural food webs. Two recent developments lead us to re-evaluate these predictions using food webs assembled from protists and bacteria. First, recent modelling work suggests that omnivory is actually stabilizing, providing that interactions are not too strong. Second, it is difficult to evaluate the degree of omnivory of some protozoan species without explicit experimental tests. This study used seven species of ciliated protozoa and a mixed bacterial flora to assemble four food webs with two trophic levels, and four webs with three trophic levels. Protist species were assigned a rank for their degree of omnivory using information in the literature and the results of experiments that tested whether the starvation rate of predators was influenced by the amount of bacteria on which they may have fed and whether cannibalism (a form of omnivory) occurred. Consistent with recent modelling work, both bacterivorous and predatory species with higher degrees of omnivory showed more stable dynamics, measured using time until extinction and the temporal variability of population density. Systems with two protist species were less persistent than systems with one protist species, supporting the prediction that longer food chains will be less stable dynamically.

  5. Mercury biomagnification in marine zooplankton food webs in Hudson Bay.

    PubMed

    Foster, Karen L; Stern, Gary A; Pazerniuk, Monica A; Hickie, Brendan; Walkusz, Wojciech; Wang, Feiyue; Macdonald, Robie W

    2012-12-04

    While much research has been carried out on mercury in large marine mammals and associated food webs in northern regions, comparatively less has been conducted on lower trophic levels including zooplankton and the subsequent transfer to predators, which marks the entry of mercury into northern marine food webs. We present here the first database for mercury uptake and transfer exclusively within zooplankton food webs in northern marine waters. We have investigated both total (THg) and monomethylmercury (MMHg) concentrations, and isotopic signatures (δ(15)N and δ(13)C) in individual zooplankton taxa collected over a period of eight years (2003-2010) from across Hudson Bay (including Hudson Strait and Foxe Basin) as part of research icebreaker cruises. δ(15)N values ranged from 3.4 to 14.0‰, implying trophic levels ranging from 1 to 4, and THg concentrations ranged from 5 to 242 ng g(-1) dw. Food web linkages were identified within the data set, and mercury biomagnification was evident both with THg and MMHg concentrations increasing from prey to predator, and with trophic magnification factors (TMFs). Total mercury and MMHg transfer in a unique prey-predator linkage (Limacina helicina-Clione limacina) are investigated and discussed with regard to known physiological and biochemical characteristics. The results suggest that exposure to mercury at higher trophic levels including humans can be affected by processes at the bottom of Arctic marine food webs.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Global change in the trophic functioning of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Maureaud, Aurore; Gascuel, Didier; Colléter, Mathieu; Palomares, Maria L D; Du Pontavice, Hubert; Pauly, Daniel; Cheung, William W L

    2017-01-01

    The development of fisheries in the oceans, and other human drivers such as climate warming, have led to changes in species abundance, assemblages, trophic interactions, and ultimately in the functioning of marine food webs. Here, using a trophodynamic approach and global databases of catches and life history traits of marine species, we tested the hypothesis that anthropogenic ecological impacts may have led to changes in the global parameters defining the transfers of biomass within the food web. First, we developed two indicators to assess such changes: the Time Cumulated Indicator (TCI) measuring the residence time of biomass within the food web, and the Efficiency Cumulated Indicator (ECI) quantifying the fraction of secondary production reaching the top of the trophic chain. Then, we assessed, at the large marine ecosystem scale, the worldwide change of these two indicators over the 1950-2010 time-periods. Global trends were identified and cluster analyses were used to characterize the variability of trends between ecosystems. Results showed that the most common pattern over the study period is a global decrease in TCI, while the ECI indicator tends to increase. Thus, changes in species assemblages would induce faster and apparently more efficient biomass transfers in marine food webs. Results also suggested that the main driver of change over that period had been the large increase in fishing pressure. The largest changes occurred in ecosystems where 'fishing down the marine food web' are most intensive.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  10. 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. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Effects of enrichment on simple aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Persson, A; Hansson, L A; Brönmark, C; Lundberg, P; Pettersson, L B; Greenberg, L; Nilsson, P A; Nyström, P; Romare, P; Tranvik, L

    2001-06-01

    Simple models, based on Lotka-Volterra types of interactions between predator and prey, predict that enrichment will have a destabilizing effect on populations and that equilibrium population densities will change at the top trophic level and every second level below. We experimentally tested these predictions in three aquatic food web configurations subjected to either high or low nutrient additions. The results were structured by viewing the systems as either food chains or webs and showed that trophic level biomass increased with enrichment, which contradicts food chain theory. However, within each trophic level, food web configuration affected the extent to which different functional groups responded to enrichment. By dividing trophic levels into functional groups, based on vulnerability to consumption, we were able to identify significant effects that were obscured when systems were viewed as food chains. The results support the prediction that invulnerable prey may stabilize trophic-level dynamics by replacing other, more vulnerable prey. Furthermore, the vulnerable prey, such as Daphnia and edible algae, responded as predicted by the paradox of enrichment hypothesis; that is, variability in population density increased with enrichment. Hence, by describing ecosystems as a matrix of food web interactions, and by recognizing the interplay between interspecific competition and predation, a more complete description of the ecosystem function was obtained compared to when species were placed into distinct trophic levels.

  14. Analytical solution of a model for complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Camacho, Juan; Guimerà, Roger; Amaral, Luís A.

    2002-03-01

    We investigate numerically and analytically a recently proposed model for food webs [Nature 404, 180 (2000)] in the limit of large web sizes and sparse interaction matrices. We obtain analytical expressions for several quantities with ecological interest, in particular, the probability distributions for the number of prey and the number of predators. We find that these distributions have fast-decaying exponential and Gaussian tails, respectively. We also find that our analytical expressions are robust to changes in the details of the model.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Extinction risk and structure of a food web model.

    PubMed

    Pekalski, 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.

  2. Tracing food webs with stable hydrogen isotopes.

    PubMed

    Estep, M F; Dabrowski, H

    1980-09-26

    The hydrogen isotopic content of an animal's food, not water, determines that animal's hydrogen isotopic content. Liver and muscle tissue from mice reared on a diet such that the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (DIH) of their food and water was kept constant, have the same average D/H ratio as the food source. In a simple, natural population of snails and their possible algal diets, Littorina obtusata (northern Atlantic intertidal snails that feed almost exclusively on the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus) has the same D/H ratio as Fucus vesiculosis and not that of the other algae available to the snails.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-22

    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.

  8. The characteristics of species in an evolutionary food web model.

    PubMed

    Lugo, Carlos A; McKane, Alan J

    2008-06-21

    We explore the consequences of modifying the way in which species are defined in an evolutionary food web model. In the original version of the model, the species were defined in terms of a fixed number of features, chosen from a large number of possibilities. These features represented phenotypic and behavioural characteristics of the species. Speciation consisted in occasionally replacing one of the features by another. Here we modify this scheme by firstly allowing for a richer structure and secondly by testing whether we are able to eliminate the need for an explicit choice of features altogether. In the first case we allow for changing the number of features which define a species, as well as their nature, and find that in the resulting webs the higher trophic levels typically contain species with the greatest number of features. In the second case, by a simplification of the mechanisms for inter and intra-species competition, we construct a model without any explicit features and find that we are still able to grow model food webs. We assess the quality of the food webs produced and discuss the consequences of our findings for the future modelling of food webs.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. Global change in the trophic functioning of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gascuel, Didier; Colléter, Mathieu; Palomares, Maria L. D.; Du Pontavice, Hubert; Pauly, Daniel; Cheung, William W. L.

    2017-01-01

    The development of fisheries in the oceans, and other human drivers such as climate warming, have led to changes in species abundance, assemblages, trophic interactions, and ultimately in the functioning of marine food webs. Here, using a trophodynamic approach and global databases of catches and life history traits of marine species, we tested the hypothesis that anthropogenic ecological impacts may have led to changes in the global parameters defining the transfers of biomass within the food web. First, we developed two indicators to assess such changes: the Time Cumulated Indicator (TCI) measuring the residence time of biomass within the food web, and the Efficiency Cumulated Indicator (ECI) quantifying the fraction of secondary production reaching the top of the trophic chain. Then, we assessed, at the large marine ecosystem scale, the worldwide change of these two indicators over the 1950–2010 time-periods. Global trends were identified and cluster analyses were used to characterize the variability of trends between ecosystems. Results showed that the most common pattern over the study period is a global decrease in TCI, while the ECI indicator tends to increase. Thus, changes in species assemblages would induce faster and apparently more efficient biomass transfers in marine food webs. Results also suggested that the main driver of change over that period had been the large increase in fishing pressure. The largest changes occurred in ecosystems where ‘fishing down the marine food web’ are most intensive. PMID:28800358

  17. 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.

  18. Hydrogen Isotope Fractionation in Aquatic Primary Producers: Implications for Food Web Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hondula, K. L.; Pace, M. L.; Cole, J. J.; Batt, R. D.

    2011-12-01

    Hydrogen in the organic matter of aquatic plants has a lower relative abundance of the deuterium isotope in comparison to hydrogen in the surrounding water due to a series of fractionation processes including photosynthesis and the biosynthesis of lipids. Expected differences between the deuterium values of different types of plant tissue have been used to observe terrestrial contributions to aquatic food webs and to discriminate organic matter sources in 3-isotope studies with more precision than in 2-isotope studies, however some values used in these studies are derived from an estimated fractionation value (ɛ) between water and plant tissue. We found significant differences in fractionation values between different groups of aquatic plants sampled from three system types: lakes, river, and coastal lagoon. Fractionation values between water and plant tissue of macrophytes and marine macroalgae were more similar to those of terrestrial plants and distinctly different than those of benthic microalgae and phytoplankton. Incorporating the variability in fractionation values between plant types will improve models and experimental designs used in isotopic food web studies for aquatic systems.

  19. 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.

  20. The Influence of Terrestrial Matter in Marine Food Webs of the Beaufort Sea Shelf and Slope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, L.; Iken, K.; Bluhm, B.

    2016-02-01

    Forecasted increases in terrestrial organic matter (OMterr) inputs to the Beaufort Sea necessitate a better understanding of the contribution of this organic matter food source to the trophic structure of marine communities. This study investigated the relative ecological importance of OMterr across the Beaufort Sea shelf and slope by examining differences in community trophic structure concurrent with variation in terrestrial versus marine organic matter influence. Interannual variability in organism trophic level was assessed to confirm the persistent impact of these large-scale patterns in food source distribution on marine consumers. Oxygen stable isotope ratios (δ18O) of surface water confirmed the widespread influence of Canada's Mackenzie River plume across the Beaufort Sea. Carbon stable isotope ratios (δ13C values) of pelagic particulate organic matter (pPOM) and marine consumers from locations ranging from 20 to 1000 m bottom depth revealed a strong isotopic imprint of OMterr in the eastern Beaufort Sea, which decreased westward from the Mackenzie River. Food web length, based on the nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ15N values) of marine consumers, was greater closer to the Mackenzie River outflow both in shelf and slope locations due to relatively higher δ15N values of pelagic and benthic primary consumers. Strong microbial processing of OMterr in the eastern regions of the Beaufort Sea is inferred based on a trophic gap between sources and lower trophic consumers. A large proportion of epifaunal biomass occupying higher trophic levels suggests that OMterr as a basal food source can provide substantial energetic support for higher marine trophic levels. These findings support the concept that terrestrial matter is an important source in the Arctic marine food web, and compel a more specific understanding of energy transfer through the OMterr-associated microbial loop.

  1. 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.

  2. Building trophic modules into a persistent food web

    PubMed Central

    Kondoh, Michio

    2008-01-01

    Understanding what maintains species and perpetuates their coexistence in a network of feeding relationships (the food web) is of great importance for biodiversity conservation. A food web can be viewed as consisting of a number of simple subunits called trophic modules. Intraguild predation (IGP), in which a prey and its predator compete for the same resource, is one of the best-studied trophic modules. According to theory, there are two ways to yield a large persistent system from such modules: (i) to use persistent subunits as building blocks or (ii) to arrange the subunits in a way that externally supports the nonpersistent subunits. Here, I show that the complex food web of the Caribbean marine ecosystem is constructed in both ways. I show that IGP modules, which convey internal persistence because of the fact that prey are superior competitors for the resources, are overrepresented in the Caribbean ecosystem. The other modules, consisting of competitively inferior prey, are not persistent in isolation. However, competitively inferior prey in these modules tend to receive more advantage from extra-module interactions, which allows persistence of the IGP module. In addition, those exterior interactions tend to be provided by intrinsically persistent IGP modules to prevent cascading extinction of interacting IGP modules. The food web can be viewed as a set of interacting modules, nonrandomly arranged to enhance the maintenance of biodiversity. PMID:18936484

  3. Building trophic modules into a persistent food web.

    PubMed

    Kondoh, Michio

    2008-10-28

    Understanding what maintains species and perpetuates their coexistence in a network of feeding relationships (the food web) is of great importance for biodiversity conservation. A food web can be viewed as consisting of a number of simple subunits called trophic modules. Intraguild predation (IGP), in which a prey and its predator compete for the same resource, is one of the best-studied trophic modules. According to theory, there are two ways to yield a large persistent system from such modules: (i) to use persistent subunits as building blocks or (ii) to arrange the subunits in a way that externally supports the nonpersistent subunits. Here, I show that the complex food web of the Caribbean marine ecosystem is constructed in both ways. I show that IGP modules, which convey internal persistence because of the fact that prey are superior competitors for the resources, are overrepresented in the Caribbean ecosystem. The other modules, consisting of competitively inferior prey, are not persistent in isolation. However, competitively inferior prey in these modules tend to receive more advantage from extra-module interactions, which allows persistence of the IGP module. In addition, those exterior interactions tend to be provided by intrinsically persistent IGP modules to prevent cascading extinction of interacting IGP modules. The food web can be viewed as a set of interacting modules, nonrandomly arranged to enhance the maintenance of biodiversity.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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)

  8. 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…

  9. 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)

  10. 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)

  11. 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.

  12. Boosted food web productivity through ocean acidification collapses under warming.

    PubMed

    Goldenberg, Silvan U; Nagelkerken, Ivan; Ferreira, Camilo M; Ullah, Hadayet; Connell, Sean D

    2017-10-01

    Future climate is forecast to drive bottom-up (resource driven) and top-down (consumer driven) change to food web dynamics and community structure. Yet, our predictive understanding of these changes is hampered by an over-reliance on simplified laboratory systems centred on single trophic levels. Using a large mesocosm experiment, we reveal how future ocean acidification and warming modify trophic linkages across a three-level food web: that is, primary (algae), secondary (herbivorous invertebrates) and tertiary (predatory fish) producers. Both elevated CO2 and elevated temperature boosted primary production. Under elevated CO2 , the enhanced bottom-up forcing propagated through all trophic levels. Elevated temperature, however, negated the benefits of elevated CO2 by stalling secondary production. This imbalance caused secondary producer populations to decline as elevated temperature drove predators to consume their prey more rapidly in the face of higher metabolic demand. Our findings demonstrate how anthropogenic CO2 can function as a resource that boosts productivity throughout food webs, and how warming can reverse this effect by acting as a stressor to trophic interactions. Understanding the shifting balance between the propagation of resource enrichment and its consumption across trophic levels provides a predictive understanding of future dynamics of stability and collapse in food webs and fisheries production. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Ecosystem Food Web Lift-The-Flap Pages

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Atwood-Blaine, Dana; Rule, Audrey C.; Morgan, Hannah

    In the lesson on which this practical article is based, third grade students constructed a "lift-the-flap" page to explore food webs on the prairie. The moveable papercraft focused student attention on prairie animals' external structures and how the inferred functions of those structures could support further inferences about the…

  14. Understanding food webs in the Chesapeake Bay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keough, J.R.; Haramis, G.M.; Perry, M.C.; Perry, M.C.

    2002-01-01

    Approaches to predictive modeling and to management of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem are 'bottom up' (i.e., approaches involve the control of nutrient inputs in attempts to manage plankton productivity) and 'top down' (i.e., approaches involve controls on harvest of fisheries and wildlife in attempts to manage vertebrate populations). Both approaches are limited by a lack of understanding of trophic connections between nutrient inputs, primary producers, and higher trophic level consumers. This project is aimed at identifying trophic structure for the submersed aquatic vegetation habitat of the Chesapeake Bay. We are employing analysis of stable isotope ratios of plant and animal tissues to identify trophic levels and traditional food habits analysis to identify the foods of a number of species of waterfowl.

  15. Assimilation of diazotrophic nitrogen into pelagic food webs.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    The fate of diazotrophic nitrogen (N(D)) 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 N(D) 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 N(D) (exuded from viable cyanobacterial cells) by palatable phytoplankton or microbial consortia. Alternatively, N(D) 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 N(D) (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 N(D) was incorporated into the planktonic food web. Instead, in situ stable isotope measurements and grazing experiments clearly documented that the assimilation of N(D) 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 N(D) from N. spumigena to the plankton community. The first phase was a highly dynamic transfer of N(D) 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-N(D) pool by phytoplankton that was decoupled from contemporaneous variability in N. spumigena concentrations. These findings provide empirical evidence that N(D) can be assimilated and transferred rapidly throughout natural plankton communities and yield insights into the specific processes underlying

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Species- and habitat-specific bioaccumulation of total mercury and methylmercury in the food web of a deep oligotrophic lake.

    PubMed

    Arcagni, Marina; Juncos, Romina; Rizzo, Andrea; Pavlin, Majda; Fajon, Vesna; Arribére, María A; Horvat, Milena; Ribeiro Guevara, Sergio

    2017-09-08

    Niche segregation between introduced and native fish in Lake Nahuel Huapi, a deep oligotrophic lake in Northwest Patagonia (Argentina), occurs through the consumption of different prey. Therefore, in this work we analyzed total mercury [THg] and methylmercury [MeHg] concentrations in top predator fish and in their main prey to test whether their feeding habits influence [Hg]. Results indicate that [THg] and [MeHg] varied by foraging habitat and they increased with greater percentage of benthic diet and decreased with pelagic diet in Lake Nahuel Huapi. This is consistent with the fact that the native creole perch, a mostly benthivorous feeder, which shares the highest trophic level of the food web with introduced salmonids, had higher [THg] and [MeHg] than the more pelagic feeder rainbow trout and bentho-pelagic feeder brown trout. This differential THg and MeHg bioaccumulation observed in native and introduced fish provides evidence to the hypothesis that there are two main Hg transfer pathways from the base of the food web to top predators: a pelagic pathway where Hg is transferred from water, through plankton (with Hg in inorganic species mostly), forage fish to salmonids, and a benthic pathway, as Hg is transferred from the sediments (where Hg methylation occurs mostly), through crayfish (with higher [MeHg] than plankton), to native fish, leading to one fold higher [Hg]. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. 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...

  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. 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)

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Food-web traits of the North Aegean Sea ecosystem (Eastern Mediterranean) and comparison with other Mediterranean ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsagarakis, K.; Coll, M.; Giannoulaki, M.; Somarakis, S.; Papaconstantinou, C.; Machias, A.

    2010-06-01

    A mass-balance trophic model was built to describe the food-web traits of the North Aegean Sea (Strymonikos Gulf and Thracian Sea, Greece, Eastern Mediterranean) during the mid-2000s and to explore the impacts of fishing. This is the first food-web model representing the Aegean Sea, and results were presented and discussed in comparison to other previous ecosystems modelled from the western and the central areas of the basin (South Catalan and North-Central Adriatic Seas). Forty functional groups were defined, covering the entire trophic spectrum from lower to higher trophic levels. Emphasis was placed on commercial invertebrates and fish. The potential ecological role of the invasive ctenophore, Mnemiopsis leidyi, and several vulnerable groups (e.g., dolphins) was also explored. Results confirmed the spatial productivity patterns known for the Mediterranean Sea showing, for example, that the total biomass is highest in N.C. Adriatic and lowest in N. Aegean Sea. Accordingly, food-web flows and several ecosystem indicators like the mean transfer efficiency were influenced by these patterns. Nevertheless, all three systems shared some common features evidencing similarities of Mediterranean Sea ecosystems such as dominance of the pelagic fraction in terms of flows and strong benthic-pelagic coupling of zooplankton and benthic invertebrates through detritus. The importance of detritus highlighted the role of the microbial food-web, which was indirectly considered through detritus dynamics. Ciliates, mesozooplankton and several benthic invertebrate groups were shown as important elements of the ecosystem linking primary producers and detritus with higher trophic levels in the N. Aegean Sea. Adult anchovy was shown as the most important fish group in terms of production, consumption and overall effect on the rest of the ecological groups in the model, in line with results from the Western Mediterranean Sea. The five fishing fleets considered (both artisanal and

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Food webs and the transmission of parasites to marine fish.

    PubMed

    Marcogliese, D J

    2002-01-01

    Helminth parasites of fish in marine systems are often considered to be generalists, lacking host specificity for both intermediate and definitive hosts. In addition, many parasites in marine waters possess life cycles consisting of long-lived larval stages residing in intermediate and paratenic hosts. These properties are believed to be adaptations to the long food chains and the low densities of organisms distributed over broad spatial scales that are characteristic of open marine systems. Moreover, such properties are predicted to lead to the homogenization of parasite communities among fish species. Yet, these communities can be relatively distinct among marine fishes. For benthos, the heterogeneous horizontal distribution of invertebrates and fish with respect to sediment quality and water depth contributes to the formation of distinct parasite communities. Similarly, for the pelagic realm, vertical partitioning of animals with depth will lead to the segregation of parasites among fish hosts. Within each habitat, resource partitioning in terms of dietary preferences of fish further contributes to the establishment of distinct parasite assemblages. Parasite distributions are predicted to be superimposed on distributional patterns of free-living animals that participate as hosts in parasite life cycles. The purpose of this review is first, to summarize distribution patterns of invertebrates and fish in the marine environment and relate these patterns to helminth transmission. Second, patterns of transmission in marine systems are interpreted in the context of food web structure. Consideration of the structure and dynamics of food webs permits predictions about the distribution and abundance of parasites. Lastly, parasites that influence food web structure by regulating the abundance of dominant host species are briefly considered in addition to the effects of pollution and exploitation on food webs and parasite transmission.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  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. 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

  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. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria stimulates production in Baltic food webs.

    PubMed

    Karlson, Agnes M L; Duberg, Jon; Motwani, Nisha H; Hogfors, Hedvig; Klawonn, Isabell; Ploug, Helle; Barthel Svedén, Jennie; Garbaras, Andrius; Sundelin, Brita; Hajdu, Susanna; Larsson, Ulf; Elmgren, Ragnar; Gorokhova, Elena

    2015-06-01

    Filamentous, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria form extensive summer blooms in the Baltic Sea. Their ability to fix dissolved N2 allows cyanobacteria to circumvent the general summer nitrogen limitation, while also generating a supply of novel bioavailable nitrogen for the food web. However, the fate of the nitrogen fixed by cyanobacteria remains unresolved, as does its importance for secondary production in the Baltic Sea. Here, we synthesize recent experimental and field studies providing strong empirical evidence that cyanobacterial nitrogen is efficiently assimilated and transferred in Baltic food webs via two major pathways: directly by grazing on fresh or decaying cyanobacteria and indirectly through the uptake by other phytoplankton and microbes of bioavailable nitrogen exuded from cyanobacterial cells. This information is an essential step toward guiding nutrient management to minimize noxious blooms without overly reducing secondary production, and ultimately most probably fish production in the Baltic Sea.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23007089

  2. 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.

  3. Biomagnification of mercury through lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) food webs of lakes with different physical, chemical and biological characteristics.

    PubMed

    Kidd, Karen A; Muir, Derek C G; Evans, Marlene S; Wang, Xioawa; Whittle, Mike; Swanson, Heidi K; Johnston, Tom; Guildford, Stephanie

    2012-11-01

    Mercury (Hg) biomagnification in aquatic ecosystems remains a concern because this pollutant is known to affect the health of fish-eating wildlife and humans, and the fish themselves. The "rate" of mercury biomagnification is being assessed more frequently using stable nitrogen isotope ratios (δ(15)N), a measure of relative trophic position of biota within a food web. Within food webs and across diverse systems, log-transformed Hg concentrations are significantly and positively related to δ(15)N and the slopes of these models vary from one study to another for reasons that are not yet understood. Here we compared the rates of Hg biomagnification in 14 lake trout lakes from three provinces in Canada to understand whether any characteristics of the ecosystems explained this among-system variability. Several fish species, zooplankton and benthic invertebrates were collected from these lakes and analyzed for total Hg (fish only), methyl Hg (invertebrates) and stable isotopes (δ(15)N; δ(13)C to assess energy sources). Mercury biomagnification rates varied significantly across systems and were higher for food webs of larger (surface area), higher nutrient lakes. However, the slopes were not predictive of among-lake differences in Hg in the lake trout. Results indicate that among-system differences in the rates of Hg biomagnification seen in the literature may be due, in part, to differences in ecosystem characteristics although the mechanisms for this variability are not yet understood. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  5. Simulating Food Web Dynamics along a Gradient: Quantifying Human Influence

    PubMed Central

    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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Modeling food webs: exploring unexplained structure using latent traits.

    PubMed

    Rohr, Rudolf Philippe; Scherer, Heike; Kehrli, Patrik; Mazza, Christian; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2010-08-01

    Several stochastic models have tried to capture the architecture of food webs. This approach is interesting, but it is limited by the fact that different assumptions can yield similar results. To overcome this limitation, we develop a purely statistical approach. Body size in terms of an optimal ratio between prey and predator is used as explanatory variable. In 12 observed food webs, this model predicts, on average, 20% of interactions. To analyze the unexplained part, we introduce a latent term: each species is described by two latent traits, foraging and vulnerability, that represent nonmeasured characteristics of species once the optimal body size has been accounted for. The model now correctly predicts an average of 73% of links. The key features of our approach are that latent traits quantify the structure that is left unexplained by the explanatory variable and that this quantification allows a test of whether independent biological information, such as microhabitat use, camouflage, or phylogeny, explains this structure. We illustrate this method with phylogeny and find that it is linked to one or both latent traits in nine of 12 food webs. Our approach opens the door to the formulation of more complex models that can be applied to any kind of biological network.

  12. Emergence of evolutionary cycles in size-structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Ritterskamp, Daniel; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2016-11-07

    The interplay of population dynamics and evolution within ecological communities has been of long-standing interest for ecologists and can give rise to evolutionary cycles, e.g. taxon cycles. Evolutionary cycling was intensely studied in small communities with asymmetric competition; the latter drives the evolutionary processes. Here we demonstrate that evolutionary cycling arises naturally in larger communities if trophic interactions are present, since these are intrinsically asymmetric. To investigate the evolutionary dynamics of a trophic community, we use an allometric food web model. We find that evolutionary cycles emerge naturally for a large parameter ranges. The origin of the evolutionary dynamics is an intrinsic asymmetry in the feeding kernel which creates an evolutionary ratchet, driving species towards larger bodysize. We reveal different kinds of cycles: single morph cycles, and coevolutionary and mixed cycling of complete food webs. The latter refers to the case where each trophic level can have different evolutionary dynamics. We discuss the generality of our findings and conclude that ongoing evolution in food webs may be more frequent than commonly believed. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. 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. © 2013 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and CNRS.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Existence and construction of large stable food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-09-01

    Ecological diversity is ubiquitous despite the restrictions imposed by competitive exclusion and apparent competition. To explain the observed richness of species in a given habitat, food-web theory has explored nonlinear functional responses, self-interaction, or spatial structure and dispersal—model ingredients that have proven to promote stability and diversity. We return instead here to classical Lotka-Volterra equations, where species-species interaction is characterized by a simple product and spatial restrictions are ignored. We quantify how this idealization imposes constraints on coexistence and diversity for many species. To this end, we introduce the concept of free and controlled species and use this to demonstrate how stable food webs can be constructed by the sequential addition of species. The resulting food webs can reach dozens of species and generally yield nonrandom degree distributions in accordance with the constraints imposed through the assembly process. Our model thus serves as a formal starting point for the study of sustainable interaction patterns between species.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-02-04

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Variations in stable isotope fractionation of Hg in food webs of Arctic lakes.

    PubMed

    Gantner, Nikolaus; Hintelmann, Holger; Zheng, Wang; Muir, Derek C

    2009-12-15

    Biotic and abiotic fractionation of mercury (Hg) isotopes has recently been shown to occur in aquatic environments. We determined isotope ratios (IRs) of Hg in food webs (zooplankton, chironomids, Arctic char) and sediments of 10 Arctic lakes from four regions and investigated the extent of Hg isotope fractionation. Hg IRs were analyzed by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP/MS). Hg mass independent fractionation (MIF; Delta(199)Hg) and mass dependent fractionation (MDF; delta(202)Hg) were calculated and compared among samples. IRs of Hg in sediment were characterized mainly by MDF and low MIF (Delta(199)Hg -0.37 to 0.74 per thousand). However, all biota showed evidence of MIF, most pronounced in zooplankton (Delta(199)Hg up to 3.40 per thousand) and char (Delta(199)Hg up to 4.87 per thousand). Zooplankton takes up highly fractionated MeHg directly from the water column, while benthic organisms are exposed to sedimentary Hg, which contains less fractionated Hg. As evidenced by delta(13)C measurements, benthic chironomids make up a large proportion of char diet, explaining in part why MIF(char) < MIF(zooplankton) in lakes, where both samples were measured. Hg IRs in char varied among regions, while char from lakes from each region showed similar degrees of MIF. A MIF-offset was derived representing the mean MIF difference between sediment and fish, and indicated that fish in two regions retain sediment signatures altered by a consistent offset. Due to its minimal lake-to-catchment area and very high water retention time ( approximately 330 years), the meteor impact crater lake (Pingualuk) reflects a "pure" atmospheric Hg signature, which is modified only by aqueous in-lake processes. All other lakes are also affected by terrestrial Hg inputs and sediment processes.

  6. 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.

  7. Tracing Carbon Flow Through Food Webs on Isolated Coral Reefs in the Central Pacific Ocean Using a Compound-Specific Stable Isotope Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorrold, S.; McMahon, K.; Braun, C.; Berumen, M. L.; Houghton, L. A.

    2016-02-01

    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 or benthic primary production and recycled detrital carbon. We coupled analyses of stable carbon isotopes in essential amino acids with Bayesian mixing models to quantify carbon flow from pelagic primary producers, benthic macroalgae and autotrophic symbionts in corals, along with detrital carbon, to coral reef fishes across several feeding guilds and trophic positions, including apex predators (gray reef and black tip reef sharks), on reefs in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Excellent separation in multivariate isotope space among end-members at the base of the food web allowed us to quantify the relative proportion of carbon produced by each of the end-members that is assimilated by focal reef fish species. Low local human impacts on the study reefs provided the opportunity to examine carbon fluxs in fully functioning reef food webs, thereby providing an important baseline for examingn human impacts in food webs on stressed reefs in more populated regions in the tropics. Moreover the study reefs are located along a significant gradient in dissolved N concentrations, allowing us to test if end-member proportions vary as a function of pelagic primary productivity levels. Our work provides insights into the roles that diverse carbon sources may play in the structure, function and resilience of coral reef ecosystems.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. 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

  12. Structure and seasonal variability of fish food webs in an estuarine tropical marine protected area (Senegal): Evidence from stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faye, Djibril; Tito de Morais, Luis; Raffray, Jean; Sadio, Oumar; Thiaw, Omar Thiom; Le Loc'h, François

    2011-05-01

    West African tropical estuaries play an important role in the growth and survival of many commercially exploited fish species and enable the sustainability of considerable artisanal fishery yields. However, their trophic functioning remains poorly understood. In the Sine Saloum estuary (Senegal), a marine protected area (MPAs) was designated in 2003 to manage fisheries resources. The present study aimed to determine the structure, trophic functioning and seasonal patterns of the fish assemblages in this MPA. Throughout the study, 28 fish species were collected, with higher values of biomass (3826 kg km -2) recorded during the wet season and lower values during the dry season (1228 kg km -2). Fish assemblages in both seasons were dominated by species with marine affinity, which accounted for 87% of the total biomass in the wet season and 70% in the dry season, with their abundance varying from 83% to 57%, respectively. Based on stable isotopic composition (δ 13C and δ 15N), species were combined into trophic groups. Primary consumers were partitioned into suspensivores (pelagic copepods, oysters and mussels), which fed mainly on particulate organic matter, and intermediate consumers, feeding on freshly deposited organic matter and benthic microalgae ( Sarotherodon melanotheron and Arca senilis). Secondary consumers were divided into three groups. The first group included mullet, which fed by grazing on benthic microalgae (benthic affinity feeders). The second group, pelagic affinity feeders, was the most heterogeneous and fed mainly on pelagic components. The last secondary consumer group termed the intermediate group, included piscivores and benthic and pelagic invertebrate feeders, which dominated the top of the food web. The food chain in October was lengthened due to the occurrence of tertiary consumers. Food webs were dominated by secondary consumers, which constituted 89% of total biomass in the dry season and 71% in the wet season. The fish food web varied

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. The energetic contributions of aquatic primary producers to terrestrial food webs in a mid-size river system.

    PubMed

    Kautza, Adam; Mazeika, S; Sullivan, P

    2016-03-01

    Rivers are increasingly recognized as providing nutritional subsidies (i.e., energy and nutrients) to adjacent terrestrial food webs via depredation of aquatic organisms (e.g., emergent aquatic insects, crayfish, fish) by terrestrial consumers. However, because these prey organisms assimilate energy from both aquatic (e.g., benthic algae, phytoplankton, aquatic macrophytes) and terrestrial (e.g., riparian leaf detritus) primary producers, river subsidies to terrestrial consumers represent a combination of aquatically and terrestrially derived energy. To date, the explicit contribution of energy derived from aquatic primary producers to terrestrial consumers has not been fully explored yet might be expected to be quantitatively important to terrestrial food webs. At 12 reaches along a 185-km segment of the sixth-order Scioto River system (Ohio, USA), we quantified the relative contribution of energy derived from aquatic primary producers to a suite of terrestrial riparian consumers that integrate the adjacent landscape across multiple spatial scales through their foraging activities (tetragnathid spiders, rove beetles, adult coenagrionid damselflies, riparian swallows, and raccoons). We used naturally abundant stable isotopes (13C and 15N) of periphyton, phytoplankton, macrophytes, and terrestrial vegetation to evaluate the energetic contribution of aquatic primary producers to terrestrial food webs. Shoreline tetragnathid spiders were most reliant on aquatic primary producers (50%), followed by wider-ranging raccoons (48%), damselflies (44%), and riparian swallows (41%). Of the primary producers, phytoplankton (19%) provisioned the greatest nutritional contribution to terrestrial consumers (considered collectively), followed by periphyton (14%) and macrophytes (11%). Our findings provide empirical evidence that aquatic primary producers of large streams and rivers can be a critical nutritional resource for terrestrial food webs. We also show that aquatically

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Food web functioning of the benthopelagic community in a deep-sea seamount based on diet and stable isotope analyses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Preciado, Izaskun; Cartes, Joan E.; Punzón, Antonio; Frutos, Inmaculada; López-López, Lucía; Serrano, Alberto

    2017-03-01

    Trophic interactions in the deep-sea fish community of the Galicia Bank seamount (NE Atlantic) were inferred by using stomach contents analyses (SCA) and stable isotope analyses (SIA) of 27 fish species and their main prey items. Samples were collected during three surveys performed in 2009, 2010 and 2011 between 625 and 1800 m depth. Three main trophic guilds were determined using SCA data: pelagic, benthopelagic and benthic feeders, respectively. Vertically migrating macrozooplankton and meso-bathypelagic shrimps were identified to play a key role as pelagic prey for the deep sea fish community of the Galicia Bank. Habitat overlap was hardly detected; as a matter of fact, when species coexisted most of them evidenced a low dietary overlap, indicating a high degree of resource partitioning. A high potential competition, however, was observed among benthopelagic feeders, i.e.: Etmopterus spinax, Hoplostethus mediterraneus and Epigonus telescopus. A significant correlation was found between δ15N and δ13C for all the analysed species. When calculating Trophic Levels (TLs) for the main fish species, using both the SCA and SIA approaches, some discrepancies arose: TLs calculated from SIA were significantly higher than those obtained from SCA, probably indicating a higher consumption of benthic-suprabenthic prey in the previous months. During the summer, food web functioning in the Galicia Bank was more influenced by the assemblages dwelling in the water column than by deep-sea benthos, which was rather scarce in the summer samples. These discrepancies demonstrate the importance of using both approaches, SCA (snapshot of diet) and SIA (assimilated food in previous months), when attempting trophic studies, if an overview of food web dynamics in different compartments of the ecosystem is to be obtained.

  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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Global patterns in ecological indicators of marine food webs: a modelling approach.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

    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. 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. 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, and invertebrates). Keystone groups were

  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. Fluctuating silicate:nitrate ratios and coastal plankton food webs.

    PubMed

    Turner, R E; Qureshi, N; Rabalais, N N; Dortch, Q; Justić, D; Shaw, R F; Cope, J

    1998-10-27

    Marine diatoms require dissolved silicate to form an external shell, and their growth becomes Si-limited when the atomic ratio of silicate to dissolved inorganic nitrogen (Si:DIN) approaches 1:1, also known as the "Redfield ratio." Fundamental changes in the diatom-to-zooplankton-to-higher trophic level food web should occur when this ratio falls below 1:1 and the proportion of diatoms in the phytoplankton community is reduced. We quantitatively substantiate these predictions by using a variety of data from the Mississippi River continental shelf, a system in which the Si:DIN loading ratio has declined from around 3:1 to 1:1 during this century because of land-use practices in the watershed. We suggest that, on this shelf, when the Si:DIN ratio in the river decreases to less than 1:1, then (i) copepod abundance changes from >75% to <30% of the total mesozooplankton, (ii) zooplankton fecal pellets become a minor component of the in situ primary production consumed, and (iii) bottom-water oxygen consumption rates become less dependent on relatively fast-sinking (diatom-rich) organic matter packaged mostly as zooplankton fecal pellets. This coastal ecosystem appears to be a pelagic food web dynamically poised to be either a food web composed of diatoms and copepods or one with potentially disruptive harmful algal blooms. The system is directed between these two ecosystem states by Mississippi River water quality, which is determined by land-use practices far inland.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Complexity of the food web structure of the Ascophyllum nodosum zone evidenced by a δ13C and δ15N study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golléty, Claire; Riera, Pascal; Davoult, Dominique

    2010-10-01

    Rocky shores dominated by canopy-forming macroalgae are characterized by complex communities making it difficult to assess whether the most abundant primary producers are at the base of the food web. This difficulty is exacerbated by the seasonal- and regional-scale variations of environmental and biotic factors that can affect the main trophic pathways. The food web structure of the Ascophyllum nodosum zone was studied during three seasons and at two sites separated by several 100s of kilometers by measuring the δ13C and δ15N of the major food sources and the dominant consumers of the zone. Despite the variability in isotopic compositions, both sites underwent similar significant seasonal variations. The main primary producers of the zone, A.nodosum, Fucus vesiculosus and Fucus serratus, were not at the base of the main trophic pathway but part of the diverse number of basal resources supporting the food web. The use of community-wide metric indices allowed further defining the food web structure of the A. nodosum zone as one characterized by trophic redundancy and numerous major trophic pathways. Indeed, grazers were dominated by generalists, filter-feeders utilized both planktonic and benthic organic matter, and predators displayed a high degree of omnivory. The range of values in δ15N showed a high spatiotemporal variability within and an important overlap between trophic groups. This prevented establishing distinctive trophic levels and further emphasized the complexity of the food web structure. The spatiotemporal stability of the relative isotopic composition of the dominant consumers within trophic groups and the low variability of the community-wide indices suggested a stability of the food web structure of the A.nodosum zone at a regional scale.

  10. Weaving marine food webs from end to end under global change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moloney, Coleen L.; St John, Michael A.; Denman, Kenneth L.; Karl, David M.; Köster, Friedrich W.; Sundby, Svein; Wilson, Rory P.

    2011-02-01

    Marine food web dynamics are determined by interactions within and between species and between species and their environment. Global change directly affects abiotic conditions and living organisms, impinging on all trophic levels in food webs. Different groups of marine researchers traditionally study different aspects of these changes. However, over medium to long time scales perturbations affecting food webs need to be considered across the full range from nutrients to top predators. Studies of end-to-end marine food webs not only span organism sizes and trophic levels, but should also help align multidisciplinary research to common goals and perspectives. Topics are described that bridge disciplinary gaps and are needed to develop new understanding of the reciprocal impacts of global change on marine food webs and ocean biogeochemistry. These include (1) the effects of nutrients on biomass and production, (2) the effects of varying element ratios on food web structure and food quality, (3) bulk flows of energy and material in food webs and their efficiencies of transfer, (4) the ecological effects of species richness and the roles of microbial organisms, (5) the role of feeding behaviour in food web dynamics and trophic controls, (6) the spatial dynamics of communities and links between different food webs, (7) the combined effects of body size and behaviour in determining dynamics of food webs, and (8) the extent to which the ability of marine organisms (and communities) to adapt will influence food web dynamics. An overriding issue that influences all topics concerns the time and space scales of ecosystem variability. Threads link different nodes of information among various topics, emphasizing the importance of tackling food web studies with a variety of modelling approaches and through a combination of field and experimental studies with a strong comparative approach.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Regional Comparisons of Oceanic Food Web Structure Using Stable Isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choy, A.; Drazen, J.; Popp, B. N.; Robison, B. H.

    2016-02-01

    Food chain length, or the number of trophic steps between primary producers and apex predators within an ecosystem, is a key determinant of ecosystem structure, including overall efficiency, stability, and productivity. Here, we quantitatively estimate food chain length for three pelagic ecosystems characterized by distinct biogeochemical and oceanographic regimes: the Northern California Current (NCC), the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), and the Gulf of California (GoC). From each region, ecologically equivalent organisms were selected from each of four successive trophic steps, including zooplankton (primary consumers), zooplanktivores (secondary consumers), piscivores (tertiary consumers), and higher order predators. Bulk tissue δ15N values of the organisms from all four trophic steps spanned ranges of approximately 9.8‰ (NCC), 1.4‰ (NPSG), and 2.1‰ (GoC). Regional variations in nitrogen biogeochemistry, however, can alter isotopic baselines and food web dynamics, ultimately complicating bulk isotope measurements across regions. Thus, we apply amino acid nitrogen isotope measurements to quantitatively measure and compare food chain length across consumers from the three regions, accounting for biogeochemical disparities in isotopic baseline. Implications for ecosystem production and efficiency are discussed, including the potential for these different ecosystems to withstand environmental change, including shifting oxygen levels and surface productivity.

  2. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in evolving food webs.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, K T; Drossel, B

    2016-05-19

    We use computer simulations in order to study the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) during both the formation and the ongoing evolution of large food webs. A species in our model is characterized by its own body mass, its preferred prey body mass and the width of its potential prey body mass spectrum. On an ecological time scale, population dynamics determines which species are viable and which ones go extinct. On an evolutionary time scale, new species emerge as modifications of existing ones. The network structure thus emerges and evolves in a self-organized manner. We analyse the relation between functional diversity and five community level measures of ecosystem functioning. These are the metabolic loss of the predator community, the total biomasses of the basal and the predator community, and the consumption rates on the basal community and within the predator community. Clear BEF relations are observed during the initial build-up of the networks, or when parameters are varied, causing bottom-up or top-down effects. However, ecosystem functioning measures fluctuate only very little during long-term evolution under constant environmental conditions, despite changes in functional diversity. This result supports the hypothesis that trophic cascades are weaker in more complex food webs. © 2016 The Author(s).

  3. Biotransport of Algal Toxins to Riparian Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Moy, Nicholas J; Dodson, Jenna; Tassone, Spencer J; Bukaveckas, Paul A; Bulluck, Lesley P

    2016-09-20

    The occurrence of harmful algal blooms has resulted in growing worldwide concern about threats to aquatic life and human health. Microcystin (MC), a cyanotoxin, is the most widely reported algal toxin in freshwaters. Prior studies have documented its presence in aquatic food webs including commercially important fish and shellfish. In this paper we present the first evidence that algal toxins propagate into riparian food webs. We show that MC is present in emerging aquatic insects (Hexagenia mayflies) from the James River Estuary and their consumers (Tetragnathidae spiders and Prothonotary Warblers, Protonotaria citrea). MC levels in Prothonotary Warblers varied by age class, with nestlings having the highest levels. At the site where nestlings received a higher proportion of aquatic prey (i.e., mayflies) in their diet, we observed higher MC concentrations in liver tissue and fecal matter. Warbler body condition and growth rate were not related to liver MC levels, suggesting that aquatic prey may provide dietary benefits that offset potential deleterious effects of the toxin. This study provides evidence that threats posed by algal toxins extend beyond the aquatic environments in which blooms occur.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Drivers of nitrogen transfer in stream food webs across continents.

    PubMed

    Norman, B C; Whiles, M R; Collins, S M; Flecker, A S; Hamilton, S K; Johnson, S L; Rosi-Marshall, E J; Ashkenas, L R; Bowden, W B; Crenshaw, C L; Crowl, T; Dodds, W K; Hall, R O; El-Sabaawi, R; Griffiths, N A; Marti, E; McDowell, W H; Peterson, S D; Rantala, H M; Riis, T; Simon, K S; Tank, J L; Thomas, S A; von Schiller, D; Webster, J R

    2017-09-07

    Studies of trophic-level material and energy transfers are central to ecology. The use of isotopic tracers has now made it possible to measure trophic transfer efficiencies of important nutrients and to better understand how these materials move through food webs. We analyzed data from thirteen (15) N-ammonium tracer addition experiments to quantify N transfer from basal resources to animals in headwater streams with varying physical, chemical, and biological features. N transfer efficiencies from primary uptake compartments (PUCs; heterotrophic microorganisms and primary producers) to primary consumers was lower (mean: 11.5%, range: <1%-43%) than N transfer efficiencies from primary consumers to predators (mean: 80%, range: 5%- >100%). Total N transferred (as a rate) was greater in streams with open compared to closed canopies and overall N transfer efficiency generally followed a similar pattern, although was not statistically significant. We used principal component analysis to condense a suite of site characteristics into two environmental components. Total N uptake rates among trophic levels were best predicted by the component that was correlated with latitude, DIN:SRP, GPP:ER, and % canopy cover. N transfer efficiency did not respond consistently to environmental variables. Our results suggest that canopy cover influences N movement through stream food webs because light availability and primary production facilitate N transfer to higher trophic levels. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  7. Invasions and Extinctions Reshape Coastal Marine Food Webs

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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).

  10. 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. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. © 2017 The Author(s).

  13. 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.

  14. Modelling size structured food webs using a modified niche model with two predator traits.

    PubMed

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The structure of food webs is frequently described using phenomenological stochastic models. A prominent example, the niche model, was found to produce artificial food webs resembling real food webs according to a range of summary statistics. However, the size structure of food webs generated by the niche model and real food webs has not yet been rigorously compared. To fill this void, I use a body mass based version of the niche model and compare prey-predator body mass allometry and predator-prey body mass ratios predicted by the model to empirical data. The results show that the model predicts weaker size structure than observed in many real food webs. I introduce a modified version of the niche model which allows to control the strength of size-dependence of predator-prey links. In this model, optimal prey body mass depends allometrically on predator body mass and on a second trait, such as foraging mode. These empirically motivated extensions of the model allow to represent size structure of real food webs realistically and can be used to generate artificial food webs varying in several aspects of size structure in a controlled way. Hence, by explicitly including the role of species traits, this model provides new opportunities for simulating the consequences of size structure for food web dynamics and stability.

  15. 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.

  16. Modelling Size Structured Food Webs Using a Modified Niche Model with Two Predator Traits

    PubMed Central

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The structure of food webs is frequently described using phenomenological stochastic models. A prominent example, the niche model, was found to produce artificial food webs resembling real food webs according to a range of summary statistics. However, the size structure of food webs generated by the niche model and real food webs has not yet been rigorously compared. To fill this void, I use a body mass based version of the niche model and compare prey-predator body mass allometry and predator-prey body mass ratios predicted by the model to empirical data. The results show that the model predicts weaker size structure than observed in many real food webs. I introduce a modified version of the niche model which allows to control the strength of size-dependence of predator-prey links. In this model, optimal prey body mass depends allometrically on predator body mass and on a second trait, such as foraging mode. These empirically motivated extensions of the model allow to represent size structure of real food webs realistically and can be used to generate artificial food webs varying in several aspects of size structure in a controlled way. Hence, by explicitly including the role of species traits, this model provides new opportunities for simulating the consequences of size structure for food web dynamics and stability. PMID:25119999

  17. 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.

  18. Carbon storage reservoirs in watersheds support stream food webs via periphyton production.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Naoto F; Uchida, Masao; Shibata, Yasuyuki

    2014-05-01

    We measured the natural abundances of radiocarbon (delta14C) in macroinvertebrates, fishes, and their potential food sources, collected from the upper and lower reaches of six temperate streams in Lake Biwa basin (central Japan), three of which flow on limestone bedrock. Several carbon storage reservoirs in the watersheds show distinctive delta14C signatures (e.g., ancient carbonate rocks, -1000 per thousand; modern atmospheric CO2, +50 per thousand). Our analyses showed that the delta14C values for periphytic algae range from -361 per thousand to +21 per thousand, reflecting 14C-depleted signals from watershed storage reservoirs (carbonate rocks and/or soils). In contrast, the delta14C values for coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) range from -6 per thousand to +62 per thousand, reflecting 14C-enriched signals from modern atmospheric CO2. The periphyton from streams on limestone bedrock was more 14C-depleted than that from streams in non-limestone areas, although the delta14C values for periphyton from the latter were less than modern atmospheric 14CO2 concentration. The delta14C values for most of the consumers were between those for periphyton and CPOM. Based on a delta14C two-source mixing models, the results suggested that the grazers rely on periphyton, while the carbon source for collectors and predators shifts from CPOM in the upper reaches of streams to periphyton in the lower reaches. The delta14C signature can trace carbon from watershed storage reservoirs to benthic production, which suggests that stream food webs are composed of mixtures of carbon originating from various sources of different ages.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Persistence of a stage-structured food-web.

    PubMed

    Mougi, Akihiko

    2017-09-08

    Contrary to a theoretical prediction, natural communities comprise many interacting species, thereby developing complex ecosystems. Earlier theoretical studies assumed that each component species within an ecological network has a simple life history, despite the fact that the interaction partners of many species, such as their predators and resources, change during the developmental stages. This poses an open question on the effect of life history complexity on the dynamics of communities. Here using a food web model, I showed that species with a stage-structured life cycle greatly changes the relationship between community complexity and persistence. Without stage-structured species, an increase in species diversity and interaction links decreases the community persistence, whereas in the presence of stage-structured species, community complexity can increase the community persistence. Therefore, life history complexity may be a key element of biodiversity that is self-maintaining.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

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

    Treesearch

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

    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...

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

    Treesearch

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

    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...

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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 ...

  17. 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…

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 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.

  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. 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…

  4. 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...

  5. Energy transfer in the Congo deep-sea fan: From terrestrially-derived organic matter to chemosynthetic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pruski, A. M.; Decker, C.; Stetten, E.; Vétion, G.; Martinez, P.; Charlier, K.; Senyarich, C.; Olu, K.

    2017-08-01

    Large amounts of recent terrestrial organic matter (OM) from the African continent are delivered to the abyssal plain by turbidity currents and accumulate in the Congo deep-sea fan. In the recent lobe complex, large clusters of vesicomyid bivalves are found all along the active channel in areas of reduced sediment. These soft-sediment communities resemble those fuelled by chemoautotrophy in cold-seep settings. The aim of this study was to elucidate feeding strategies in these macrofaunal assemblages as part of a greater effort to understand the link between the inputs of terrestrially-derived OM and the chemosynthetic habitats. The biochemical composition of the sedimentary OM was first analysed in order to evaluate how nutritious the available particulate OM is for the benthic macrofauna. The terrestrial OM is already degraded when it reaches the final depositional area. However, high biopolymeric carbon contents (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids) are found in the channel of the recent lobe complex. In addition, about one to two thirds of the nitrogen can be assigned to peptide-like material. Even if this soil-derived OM is poorly digestible, turbiditic deposits contain such high amounts of organic carbon that there is enough biopolymeric carbon and proteacinous nitrogen to support dense benthic communities that contrast with the usual depauperate abyssal plains. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes and fatty acid biomarkers were then used to shed light on the feeding strategies allowing the energy transfer from the terrestrial OM brought by the turbidity currents to the abyssal food web. In the non-reduced sediment, surface detritivorous holothurians and suspension-feeding poriferans rely on detritic OM, thereby depending directly on the turbiditic deposits. The sulphur-oxidising symbiont bearing vesicomyids closely depend on the reprocessing of OM with methane and sulphide as final products. Their carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures vary greatly among sites

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-12

    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.

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

    PubMed

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-04-12

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S.

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Memmott, Jane

    2009-01-01

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

  12. Non-Deterministic Modelling of Food-Web Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Planque, Benjamin; Lindstrøm, Ulf; Subbey, Sam

    2014-01-01

    A novel approach to model food-web dynamics, based on a combination of chance (randomness) and necessity (system constraints), was presented by Mullon et al. in 2009. Based on simulations for the Benguela ecosystem, they concluded that observed patterns of ecosystem variability may simply result from basic structural constraints within which the ecosystem functions. To date, and despite the importance of these conclusions, this work has received little attention. The objective of the present paper is to replicate this original model and evaluate the conclusions that were derived from its simulations. For this purpose, we revisit the equations and input parameters that form the structure of the original model and implement a comparable simulation model. We restate the model principles and provide a detailed account of the model structure, equations, and parameters. Our model can reproduce several ecosystem dynamic patterns: pseudo-cycles, variation and volatility, diet, stock-recruitment relationships, and correlations between species biomass series. The original conclusions are supported to a large extent by the current replication of the model. Model parameterisation and computational aspects remain difficult and these need to be investigated further. Hopefully, the present contribution will make this approach available to a larger research community and will promote the use of non-deterministic-network-dynamics models as ‘null models of food-webs’ as originally advocated. PMID:25299245

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Regulation of intertidal food webs by avian predators on New England rocky shores.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Julie C; Shulman, Myra J; Wood, Megan; Witman, Jon D; Lozyniak, Sara

    2007-04-01

    Although there is a large body of research on food webs in rocky intertidal communities, most of the emphasis has been on the marine benthic components. Effects of avian predation on highly mobile predators such as crabs, remains practically unstudied in rocky shore ecosystems. The crab, Cancer borealis, is an important component of the diet of gulls (Larus marinus, L. argentatus) at the Isles of Shoals, Maine, USA. C. borealis prey include the predatory gastropod Nucella lapillus L., the herbivore Littorina littorea, and mussels Mytilus edulis L. We hypothesized that gulls reduce abundance of C. borealis in the low intertidal and shallow subtidal, thereby allowing C. borealis prey to persist in high numbers. A study of crab tidal migration showed that C. borealis density nearly doubled at high tide compared to low tide; thus, crabs from a large subtidal source population migrate into the intertidal zone during high tides and either emigrate or are removed by gulls during low tides. Results from a small-scale (1 m2) predator caging experiment in the low intertidal zone indicated that enclosed crabs significantly reduced L. littorea abundance when protected from gull predation. In a much larger-scale gull exclusion experiment, densities of C. borealis increased significantly during low and high tides in exclosures relative to the controls. C. borealis density was inversely correlated with changes in the abundance of two mesopredators Carcinus maenas and Nucella lapillus, and with the space-occupier M. edulis. There was a similar negative correlation between abundance of C. borealis and the change in abundance of the herbivore L. littorea, but the trend was not significant. Mortality of tethered L. littorea was associated with C. borealis density across sites. However, preferred algae did not change in response to L. littorea density during the experiment. Thus, we found suggestive, but not conclusive, evidence for a three-level cascade involving gulls, crabs, and L

  17. The importance of nature's invisible fabric: food web structure mediates modeled responses to river restoration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellmore, R.; Benjamin, J.; Newsom, M.; Bountry, J.; Dombroski, D.

    2016-12-01

    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 food web model that links river food web dynamics to in-stream physical habitat and riparian vegetation conditions. We present an application of this 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 floodplain reconnection. To explore how food web structure mediates responses to these actions, we modified the food web by adding populations of invasive aquatic snails and nonnative fish. Simulations suggest that floodplain 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 invasive snails and nonnative fishes 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. By elucidating the direct and indirect pathways by which restoration affects target species, dynamic food web models can improve restoration planning by fostering a deeper understanding of system connectedness and dynamics.

  18. 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 ...

  19. 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 ...

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Modelling food-web mediated effects of hydrological variability and environmental flows.

    PubMed

    Robson, Barbara J; Lester, Rebecca E; Baldwin, Darren S; Bond, Nicholas R; Drouart, Romain; Rolls, Robert J; Ryder, Darren S; Thompson, Ross M

    2017-11-01

    Environmental flows are designed to enhance aquatic ecosystems through a variety of mechanisms; however, to date most attention has been paid to the effects on habitat quality and life-history triggers, especially for fish and vegetation. The effects of environmental flows on food webs have so far received little attention, despite food-web thinking being fundamental to understanding of river ecosystems. Understanding environmental flows in a food-web context can help scientists and policy-makers better understand and manage outcomes of flow alteration and restoration. In this paper, we consider mechanisms by which flow variability can influence and alter food webs, and place these within a conceptual and numerical modelling framework. We also review the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to modelling the effects of hydrological management on food webs. Although classic bioenergetic models such as Ecopath with Ecosim capture many of the key features required, other approaches, such as biogeochemical ecosystem modelling, end-to-end modelling, population dynamic models, individual-based models, graph theory models, and stock assessment models are also relevant. In many cases, a combination of approaches will be useful. We identify current challenges and new directions in modelling food-web responses to hydrological variability and environmental flow management. These include better integration of food-web and hydraulic models, taking physiologically-based approaches to food quality effects, and better representation of variations in space and time that may create ecosystem control points. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Food and beverage brands that market to children and adolescents on the internet: a content analysis of branded web sites.

    PubMed

    Henry, Anna E; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

    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. Systematic content analysis of food and beverage brand Web sites and nutrient analysis of food and beverages advertised on these Web sites. The World Wide Web. One-hundred thirty Internet Web sites of food and beverage brands with top media expenditures based on the America's Top 2000 Brands section of Brandweek magazine's annual "Superbrands" report. A standardized content analysis rating form to determine marketing techniques used on the food and beverage brand Web sites. Nutritional analysis of food brands was conducted. Of 130 Web sites analyzed, 48% featured designated children's areas. These Web sites featured a variety of Internet marketing techniques, including advergaming on 85% of the Web sites and interactive programs on 92% of the Web sites. Branded spokescharacters and tie-ins to other products were featured on the majority of the Web sites, as well. Few food brands (13%) with Web sites that market to children met the nutrition criteria set by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity. Nearly half of branded Web sites analyzed used designated children's areas to market food and beverages to children, 87% of which were of low nutritional quality. Nutrition professionals should advocate the use of advertising techniques to encourage healthful food choices for children.

  5. Food webs: ordering species according to body size yields high degree of intervality.

    PubMed

    Zook, Alexander E; Eklof, Anna; Jacob, Ute; Allesina, Stefano

    2011-02-21

    Food webs, the networks describing "who eats whom" in an ecosystem, are nearly interval, i.e. there is a way to order the species so that almost all the resources of each consumer are adjacent in the ordering. This feature has important consequences, as it means that the structure of food webs can be described using a single (or few) species' traits. Moreover, exploiting the quasi-intervality found in empirical webs can help build better models for food web structure. Here we investigate which species trait is a good proxy for ordering the species to produce quasi-interval orderings. We find that body size produces a significant degree of intervality in almost all food webs analyzed, although it does not match the maximum intervality for the networks. There is also a great variability between webs. Other orderings based on trophic levels produce a lower level of intervality. Finally, we extend the concept of intervality from predator-centered (in which resources are in intervals) to prey-centered (in which consumers are in intervals). In this case as well we find that body size yields a significant, but not maximal, level of intervality. These results show that body size is an important, although not perfect, trait that shapes species interactions in food webs. This has important implications for the formulation of simple models used to construct realistic representations of food webs. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. 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. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Schriever, Tiffany A.

    2015-01-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. Dispersed Oil Disrupts Microbial Pathways in Pelagic Food Webs

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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