Science.gov

Sample records for food web evidence

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  4. 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)

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. Terrestrial-aquatic linkage in stream food webs along a forest chronosequence: multi-isotopic evidence.

    PubMed

    Ishikawa, Naoto F; Togashi, Hiroyuki; Kato, Yoshiyazu; Yoshimura, Mayumi; Kohmatsu, Yukihiro; Yoshimizu, Chikage; Ogawa, Nanako O; Ohte, Nobuhito; Tokuchi, Naoko; Ohkouchi, Naohiko; Tayasu, Ichiro

    2016-05-01

    Long-term monitoring of ecosystem succession provides baseline data for conservation and management, as well as for understanding the dynamics of underlying biogeochemical processes. We examined the effects of deforestation and subsequent afforestation of a riparian forest of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) on stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ¹³C) and nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) and natural abundances of radiocarbon (Δ¹⁴C) in stream biota in the Mt. Gomadan Experimental Forest and the Wakayama Forest Research Station, Kyoto University, central Japan. Macroinvertebrates, periphytic algae attached to rock surfaces (periphyton), and leaf litter of terrestrial plants were collected from six headwater streams with similar climate, topography, and bedrock geology, except for the stand ages of riparian forests (from 3 to 49 yr old in five stands and > 90 yr old in one reference stand). Light intensity and δ¹³C values of both periphyton and macroinvertebrates decreased synchronously with forest age in winter. A Bayesian mixing model indicates that periphyton contributions to the stream food webs are maximized in 23-yr-old forests. Except for grazers, most macroinvertebrates showed Δ¹⁴C values similar to those of terrestrial leaf litter, reflecting the influence of modern atmospheric CO₂ Δ¹⁴C values. On the other hand, the Δ¹⁴C values of both periphyton and grazers (i.e., aquatic primary consumers) were significantly lower than that of modern atmospheric CO₂, and were lowest in 23-yr-old forest stands. Previous studies show that root biomass of C. japonica peaks at 15-30 yr after planting. These evidences suggest that soil CO₂ released by root respiration and dispersed by groundwater weathers carbonate substrata, and that dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) with low Δ¹⁴C is incorporated into stream periphyton and some macroinvertebrates. The ecological response in the studied streams to clear-cutting and replanting of Japanese cedar is much

  8. Properties of food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Pimm, S.L.

    1980-04-01

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

  9. Evidence supporting the importance of terrestrial carbon in a large-river food web.

    PubMed

    Zeug, Steven C; Winemiller, Kirk O

    2008-06-01

    Algal carbon has been increasingly recognized as the primary carbon source supporting large-river food webs; however, many of the studies that support this contention have focused on lotic main channels during low-flow periods. The flow variability and habitat-heterogeneity characteristic of these systems has the potential to significantly influence food web structure and must be integrated into models of large-river webs. We used stable-isotope analysis and IsoSource software to model terrestrial and algal sources of organic carbon supporting consumer taxa in the main channel and oxbow lakes of the Brazos River, Texas, USA, during a period of frequent hydrologic connectivity between these habitat types. Standardized sampling was conducted monthly to collect production sources and consumer species used in isotopic analysis. Predictability of hydrologic connections between habitat types was based on the previous 30 years of flow data. IsoSource mixing models identified terrestrial C3 macrophytes (riparian origin) as the primary carbon source supporting virtually all consumers in the main channel and most consumers in oxbow lakes. Small-bodied consumers (<100 mm) in oxbow lakes assimilated large fractions of algal carbon whereas this pattern was not apparent in the main channel. Estimates of detritivore trophic positions based on delta15N values indicated that terrestrial material was likely assimilated via invertebrates rather than directly from detritus. High flows in the river channel influenced algal standing stock, and differences in the importance of terrestrial and algal production sources among consumers in channel vs. oxbow habitats were associated with patterns of flooding. The importance of terrestrial material contradicts the findings of recent studies of large-river food webs that have emphasized the importance of algal carbon and indicates that there can be significant spatial, temporal, and taxonomic variation in carbon sources supporting consumers in

  10. Evidence for the assimilation of ancient glacier organic carbon in a proglacial stream food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fellman, Jason; Hood, Eran; Raymond, Peter A.; Hudson, J.H.; Bozeman, Maura; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.

    2015-01-01

    We used natural abundance δ13C, δ15N, and Δ14C to compare trophic linkages between potential carbon sources (leaf litter, epilithic biofilm, and particulate organic matter) and consumers (aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish) in a nonglacial stream and two reaches of the heavily glaciated Herbert River. We tested the hypothesis that proglacial stream food webs are sustained by organic carbon released from glacial ecosystems. Carbon sources and consumers in the nonglacial stream had carbon isotope values that ranged from -30‰ to -25‰ for δ13C and from -14‰ to 53‰ for Δ14C reflecting a food web sustained mainly on contemporary primary production. In contrast, biofilm in the two glacial stream sites was highly Δ14C-depleted (-215‰ to 175‰) relative to the nonglacial stream consistent with the assimilation of ancient glacier organic carbon. IsoSource modeling showed that in upper Herbert River, macroinvertebrates (Δ14C = -171‰ to 22‰) and juvenile salmonids (Δ14C = −102‰ to 17‰) reflected a feeding history of both biofilm (~ 56%) and leaf litter (~ 40%). We estimate that in upper Herbert River on average 36% of the carbon incorporated into consumer biomass is derived from the glacier ecosystem. Thus, 14C-depleted glacial organic carbon was likely transferred to higher trophic levels through a feeding history of bacterial uptake of dissolved organic carbon and subsequent consumption of 14C-depleted biofilm by invertebrates and ultimately fish. Our findings show that the metazoan food web is sustained in part by glacial organic carbon such that future changes in glacial runoff could influence the stability and trophic structure of proglacial aquatic ecosystems.

  11. Isotopic evidence for the spatial heterogeneity of the planktonic food webs in the transition zone between river and lake ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Doi, Hideyuki; Zuykova, Elena I; Shikano, Shuichi; Kikuchi, Eisuke; Ota, Hiroshi; Yurlova, Natalia I; Yadrenkina, Elena

    2013-01-01

    Resources and organisms in food webs are distributed patchily. The spatial structure of food webs is important and critical to understanding their overall structure. However, there is little available information about the small-scale spatial structure of food webs. We investigated the spatial structure of food webs in a lake ecosystem at the littoral transition zone between an inflowing river and a lake. We measured the carbon isotope ratios of zooplankton and particulate organic matter (POM; predominantly phytoplankton) in the littoral zone of a saline lake. Parallel changes in the δ (13)C values of zooplankton and their respective POMs indicated that there is spatial heterogeneity of the food web in this study area. Lake ecosystems are usually classified at the landscape level as either pelagic or littoral habitats. However, we showed small-scale spatial heterogeneity among planktonic food webs along an environmental gradient. Stable isotope data is useful for detecting spatial heterogeneity of habitats, populations, communities, and ecosystems.

  12. Isotopic evidence for the spatial heterogeneity of the planktonic food webs in the transition zone between river and lake ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Zuykova, Elena I.; Shikano, Shuichi; Kikuchi, Eisuke; Ota, Hiroshi; Yurlova, Natalia I.; Yadrenkina, Elena

    2013-01-01

    Resources and organisms in food webs are distributed patchily. The spatial structure of food webs is important and critical to understanding their overall structure. However, there is little available information about the small-scale spatial structure of food webs. We investigated the spatial structure of food webs in a lake ecosystem at the littoral transition zone between an inflowing river and a lake. We measured the carbon isotope ratios of zooplankton and particulate organic matter (POM; predominantly phytoplankton) in the littoral zone of a saline lake. Parallel changes in the δ 13C values of zooplankton and their respective POMs indicated that there is spatial heterogeneity of the food web in this study area. Lake ecosystems are usually classified at the landscape level as either pelagic or littoral habitats. However, we showed small-scale spatial heterogeneity among planktonic food webs along an environmental gradient. Stable isotope data is useful for detecting spatial heterogeneity of habitats, populations, communities, and ecosystems. PMID:24392286

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Spatial variations in food web structures with alternative stable states: evidence from stable isotope analysis in a large eutrophic lake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Yunkai; Zhang, Yuying; Xu, Jun; Zhang, Shuo

    2017-05-01

    Food web structures are well known to vary widely among ecosystems. Moreover, many food web studies of lakes have generally attempted to characterize the overall food web structure and have largely ignored internal spatial and environmental variations. In this study, we hypothesize that there is a high degree of spatial heterogeneity within an ecosystem and such heterogeneity may lead to strong variations in environmental conditions and resource availability, in turn resulting in different trophic pathways. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes were employed for the whole food web to describe the structure of the food web in different sub-basins within Taihu Lake. This lake is a large eutrophic freshwater lake that has been intensively managed and highly influenced by human activities for more than 50 years. The results show significant isotopic differences between basins with different environmental characteristics. Such differences likely result from isotopic baseline differences combining with a shift in food web structure. Both are related to local spatial heterogeneity in nutrient loading in waters. Such variation should be explicitly considered in future food web studies and ecosystem-based management in this lake ecosystem.

  17. Early Cambrian origin of modern food webs: evidence from predator arrow worms.

    PubMed

    Vannier, J; Steiner, M; Renvoisé, E; Hu, S-X; Casanova, J-P

    2007-03-07

    Although palaeontological evidence from exceptional biota demonstrates the existence of diverse marine communities in the Early Cambrian (approx. 540-520 Myr ago), little is known concerning the functioning of the marine ecosystem, especially its trophic structure and the full range of ecological niches colonized by the fauna. The presence of a diverse zooplankton in Early Cambrian oceans is still an open issue. Here we provide compelling evidence that chaetognaths, an important element of modern zooplankton, were present in the Early Cambrian Chengjiang biota with morphologies almost identical to Recent forms. New information obtained from the lowermost Cambrian of China added to previous studies provide convincing evidence that protoconodont-bearing animals also belonged to chaetognaths. Chaetognaths were probably widespread and diverse in the earliest Cambrian. The obvious raptorial function of their circumoral apparatuses (grasping spines) places them among the earliest active predator metazoans. Morphology, body ratios and distribution suggest that the ancestral chaetognaths were planktonic with possible ecological preferences for hyperbenthic niches close to the sea bottom. Our results point to the early introduction of prey-predator relationships into the pelagic realm, and to the increase of trophic complexity (three-level structure) during the Precambrian-Cambrian transition, thus laying the foundations of present-day marine food chains.

  18. Evidence of butyltin biomagnification along the Northern Adriatic food-web (Mediterranean Sea) elucidated by stable isotope ratios.

    PubMed

    Fortibuoni, Tomaso; Noventa, Seta; Rampazzo, Federico; Gion, Claudia; Formalewicz, Malgorzata; Berto, Daniela; Raicevich, Saša

    2013-04-02

    The biomagnification of tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT), monobutyltin (MBT), and total butyltins (ΣBT) was analyzed in the Northern Adriatic food-web (Mediterranean) considering trophodynamic interactions among species and carbon sources in the food-web. Although it is acknowledged that these contaminants bioaccumulate in marine organisms, it is still controversial whether they biomagnify along food-webs. A wide range of species was considered, from plankton feeders to top predators, whose trophic level (TL) was assessed measuring the biological enrichment of nitrogen stable isotopes (δ(15)N). Carbon isotopic signature (δ(13)C) was used to trace carbon sources in the food-web (terrestrial vs marine). At least one butyltin species was detected in the majority of samples, and TBT was the predominant contaminant. A significant positive relationship was found between TL and butyltin concentrations, implying food-web biomagnification. Coherently, the Trophic Magnification Factor resulted higher than 1, ranging between 3.88 for ΣBT and 4.62 for DBT. A negative but not significant correlation was instead found between δ(13)C and butyltin concentrations, indicating a slight decreasing gradient of contaminants concentrations in species according to the coastal influence as carbon source in their diet. However, trophodynamic mechanisms are likely more important factors in determining butyltin distribution in the Northern Adriatic food-web.

  19. 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)

  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. 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. 

  2. Fatty acid transfer in the food web of a coastal Mediterranean lagoon: Evidence for high arachidonic acid retention in fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koussoroplis, Apostolos-Manuel; Bec, Alexandre; Perga, Marie-Elodie; Koutrakis, Emmanuil; Bourdier, Gilles; Desvilettes, Christian

    2011-02-01

    The transfer of fatty acids (FAs) in the food web of a Mediterranean lagoon was studied using FA compositional patterns across several trophic levels. The structure of the food web was inferred from C and N stable isotopes values and an isotope mixing model was used in order to estimate the relative contribution of the different potential food sources to the biomass of consumers. Bidimensional plots of FA composition of food web components against their δ 15N values indicated a general trend of increasing proportions of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) with increasing trophic levels while the proportions of saturated fatty acids (SAFAs) and 18-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) decreased. Using the relative contributions of food sources to consumers and their FA compositions, a model was built in order to estimate the PUFA composition of consumer mixed diets which was compared to consumer PUFA profiles. The latter allowed the identification of the PUFAs which were mostly enriched/retained in consumer lipids. There was a surprisingly high retention of arachidonic acid (ARA), a trend which challenges the idea of low ARA needs in marine fish and suggests the important physiological role of this essential FA for fish in estuarine environments.

  3. 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.

  4. Radiocarbon evidence that carbon from the Deepwater Horizon spill entered the planktonic food web of the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chanton, J. P.; Cherrier, J.; Wilson, R. M.; Sarkodee-Adoo, J.; Bosman, S.; Mickle, A.; Graham, W. M.

    2012-12-01

    The Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) oil spill released large volumes of oil and gas of distinct carbon isotopic composition to the northern Gulf of Mexico, allowing Graham et al (2010 Environ. Res. Lett. 5 045301) to use stable carbon isotopes (δ13C) to infer the introduction of spilled oil into the planktonic food web. Surface ocean organic production and measured oil are separated by 5-7‰ in stable carbon isotope (δ13C) space, while in radiocarbon (Δ14C) space these two potential sources are separated by more than 1000‰. Thus radiocarbon isotopes provide a more sensitive tracer by which to infer possible introduction of Macondo oil into the food web. We measured Δ14C and δ13C in plankton collected from within 100 km of the spill site as well as in coastal and offshore DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon or ΣCO2) to constrain surface production values. On average, plankton values were depleted in 14C relative to surface DIC, and we found a significant linear correlation between Δ14C and δ13C in plankton. Cumulatively, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that carbon released from the Deepwater Horizon spill contributed to the offshore planktonic food web. Our results support the findings of Graham et al (2010 Environ. Res. Lett. 5 045301), but we infer that methane input may be important.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Nutrient dynamics and food-web stability

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-01-01

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

  10. Isotopic evidence for anthropogenic impacts on aquatic food web dynamics and mercury cycling in a subtropical wetland ecosystem in the US.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yang; Gu, Binhe; Lee, Ming-Kuo; Jiang, Shijun; Xu, Yingfeng

    2014-07-15

    Quantifying and predicting the food web consequences of anthropogenic changes is difficult using traditional methods (based on gut content analysis) because natural food webs are variable and complex. Here, stable and radioactive carbon isotopes are used, in conjunction with nitrogen isotopes and mercury (Hg) concentration data, to document the effects of land-use change on food webs and Hg bioaccumulation in the Everglades - a subtropical wetland ecosystem in the US. Isotopic signatures of largemouth bass and sunfish in reference (relatively pristine) wetlands indicate reliance on the food supply of modern primary production within the wetland. In contrast, both fish in areas impacted by agricultural runoff had radiocarbon ages as old as 540 years B.P., and larger isotopic variability than counterparts in reference wetlands, reflecting differences in the food web between impacted and reference wetlands. Consistent with this difference, particulate and dissolved organic matter in impacted areas had old radiocarbon ages (>600 years B.P.), indicating that old carbon derived from historic peat deposits in the Everglades Agricultural Area was passed along the food chain to consumers. Significant radiocarbon deficiencies in largemouth bass and sunfish, relative to mosquitofish, in impacted areas most likely indicate a reduced dependence on small fish. Furthermore, largemouth bass and sunfish from impacted areas had much lower Hg contents than those from reference wetlands. Taken together, these data suggest a shift toward lower trophic levels and a possible reduction in mercury methylation in impacted wetlands. Our study provides clear evidence that hydrological modification and land-use change in the Everglades have changed the system from one driven primarily by in-situ productivity to one that is partially dependent on allochthonous carbon input from peat soils in the agricultural area and altered the Hg biogeochemical cycle in the wetlands. The results have

  11. 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.

  12. The dual importance of competition and predation as regulatory forces in terrestrial ecosystems: evidence from decomposer food-webs.

    PubMed

    Wardle, D A; Yeates, G W

    1993-03-01

    The relative importance of predation and competition (resource limitation) in influencing the components of a below-ground food-web consisting of three trophic levels (bacteria and fungi; bacterial-feeding and fungal-feeding nematodes; and top predatory nematodes) was estimated using microbial biomass and nematode frequency data collected throughout a 1-year period in two agro-ecosystems. The study suggested that bacterial and fungal biomass were likely to be regulated by grazing and competition respectively, and that these differences were likely to be attributed to the biological (probably morphological) differences between bacteria and fungi, in contrast to the predictions of the hypothesis of Hairston et al. (1960). Top predatory nematodes were sometimes strongly related to the microbial but not microbial-feeding trophic levels, indicating that microbial biomass may directly influence top predator numbers, and that the intermediate level may simply serve as a conduit by which resources pass from the bottom to top trophic levels. This study also suggests that the detritus food-web acts as two distinct (bacterial-and fungal-based) compartments.

  13. Millennial-scale isotope records from a wide-ranging predator show evidence of recent human impact to oceanic food webs.

    PubMed

    Wiley, Anne E; Ostrom, Peggy H; Welch, Andreanna J; Fleischer, Robert C; Gandhi, Hasand; Southon, John R; Stafford, Thomas W; Penniman, Jay F; Hu, Darcy; Duvall, Fern P; James, Helen F

    2013-05-28

    Human exploitation of marine ecosystems is more recent in oceanic than near shore regions, yet our understanding of human impacts on oceanic food webs is comparatively poor. Few records of species that live beyond the continental shelves date back more than 60 y, and the sheer size of oceanic regions makes their food webs difficult to study, even in modern times. Here, we use stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to study the foraging history of a generalist, oceanic predator, the Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), which ranges broadly in the Pacific from the equator to near the Aleutian Islands. Our isotope records from modern and ancient, radiocarbon-dated bones provide evidence of over 3,000 y of dietary stasis followed by a decline of ca. 1.8‰ in δ(15)N over the past 100 y. Fishery-induced trophic decline is the most likely explanation for this sudden shift, which occurs in genetically distinct populations with disparate foraging locations. Our isotope records also show that coincident with the apparent decline in trophic level, foraging segregation among petrel populations decreased markedly. Because variation in the diet of generalist predators can reflect changing availability of their prey, a foraging shift in wide-ranging Hawaiian petrel populations suggests a relatively rapid change in the composition of oceanic food webs in the Northeast Pacific. Understanding and mitigating widespread shifts in prey availability may be a critical step in the conservation of endangered marine predators such as the Hawaiian petrel.

  14. Millennial-scale isotope records from a wide-ranging predator show evidence of recent human impact to oceanic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Wiley, Anne E.; Ostrom, Peggy H.; Welch, Andreanna J.; Fleischer, Robert C.; Gandhi, Hasand; Southon, John R.; Stafford, Thomas W.; Penniman, Jay F.; Hu, Darcy; Duvall, Fern P.; James, Helen F.

    2013-01-01

    Human exploitation of marine ecosystems is more recent in oceanic than near shore regions, yet our understanding of human impacts on oceanic food webs is comparatively poor. Few records of species that live beyond the continental shelves date back more than 60 y, and the sheer size of oceanic regions makes their food webs difficult to study, even in modern times. Here, we use stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to study the foraging history of a generalist, oceanic predator, the Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), which ranges broadly in the Pacific from the equator to near the Aleutian Islands. Our isotope records from modern and ancient, radiocarbon-dated bones provide evidence of over 3,000 y of dietary stasis followed by a decline of ca. 1.8‰ in δ15N over the past 100 y. Fishery-induced trophic decline is the most likely explanation for this sudden shift, which occurs in genetically distinct populations with disparate foraging locations. Our isotope records also show that coincident with the apparent decline in trophic level, foraging segregation among petrel populations decreased markedly. Because variation in the diet of generalist predators can reflect changing availability of their prey, a foraging shift in wide-ranging Hawaiian petrel populations suggests a relatively rapid change in the composition of oceanic food webs in the Northeast Pacific. Understanding and mitigating widespread shifts in prey availability may be a critical step in the conservation of endangered marine predators such as the Hawaiian petrel. PMID:23671094

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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).

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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)

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webb, Paul; Boltt, Gill

    1990-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. Parasites in the Wadden Sea food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-09-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  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. DEEPWATER AND NEARSHORE FOOD WEB CHARACTERIZATIONS IN LAKE SUPERIOR

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  16. 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 ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability.

    PubMed

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

    2014-12-16

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Food web model with detritus path

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-07-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Křivan, Vlastimil

    2014-02-21

    Competition in di- and tri-trophic food web modules with many competing species is studied. The food web modules considered are apparent competition between n species sharing a single predator and a diamond-like food web with a single resource, a single top predator and many competing middle species. The predators have either fixed preferences for their prey, or they switch between available prey in a way that maximizes their fitness. Dependence of these food web dynamics on environmental carrying capacity and food web connectance is studied. The results predict that optimal flexible foraging strongly weakens apparent competition and promotes species coexistence. Food web robustness (defined here as the proportion of surviving species) does not decrease with increased connectance in these food-webs. Moreover, it is shown that flexible prey switching leads to the same population equilibria as in corresponding food webs with highly specialized predators. The results show that flexible foraging behavior by predators can have very strong impact on species richness, as well as the response of communities to changes in resource enrichment and food-web connectance when compared to the same food-web topology with inflexible top predators. Several results on global stability using Lyapunov functions are provided. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Food web structure of the epibenthic and infaunal invertebrates on the Catalan slope (NW Mediterranean): Evidence from δ 13C and δ 15N analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fanelli, E.; Papiol, V.; Cartes, J. E.; Rumolo, P.; Brunet, C.; Sprovieri, M.

    2011-01-01

    The food-web structure of the epibenthic and infaunal invertebrates on the continental slope of the Catalan Sea (Balearic basin, NW Mediterranean) was investigated using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes on a total of 34 species, and HPLC pigment analyses for three key species. Samples were collected close to Barcelona (NE Iberian Peninsula), between 650 and 800 m depth and between February 2007 and February 2008. Mean δ 13C values ranged from -21.0‰ (small Calocaris macandreae and Amphipholis squamata) to -14.5‰ ( Sipunculus norvegicus). Values of δ 15N ranged from 4.0‰ ( A. squamata) to 12.1‰ ( Molpadia musculus). The stable isotope ratios of benthic fauna displayed a continuum of values (e.g. δ 15N range of 8‰), confirming a wide spectrum of feeding strategies (from active suspension feeders to predators) and complex food webs. According to the available information on diets of benthic fauna, the lowest values were found for surface deposit feeders (small C. macandrae and the two ophiuroids A. squamata and Amphiura chiajei) and active suspension feeders ( Abra longicallus and Scalpellum scalpellum) feeding on different sizes of particulate organic matter (POM), among which small particles may exhibit lower δ 15N. High annual mean δ 15N values were found among sub-surface deposit feeders, exploiting refractory or frequently recycled organic matter that is enriched in δ 15N. Carnivorous polychaetes ( Nephtys spp., Oenonidae and Polynoidae) and large decapods ( Geryon longipes and Paromola cuvieri) also displayed high δ 15N values. δ 13C ranges were particularly wide among surface deposit feeders (ranging from -21.0‰ to -16.4‰), suggesting exploitation of POM of both terrigenous and oceanic origins. Correlation between δ 13C and δ 15N was generally weak, indicating multiple carbon sources, likely due to the consumption of different kinds of sinking particles (e.g. marine snow, phytodetritus, etc.), sedimented and frequently recycled POM

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  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. 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…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demetriou, Dorita; Korfiatis, Konstantinos; Constantinou, Constantinos

    2009-01-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Differential incorporation of natural spawners vs. artificially planted salmon carcasses in a stream food web: Evidence from delta 15N of juvenile coho salmon

    EPA Science Inventory

    Placement of salmon carcasses is a common restoration technique in Oregon and Washington streams, with the goal of improving food resources and productivity of juvenile salmon. To explore the effectiveness of this restoration technique, we measured the δ15N of juvenile coho salmo...

  18. Differential incorporation of natural spawners vs. artificially planted salmon carcasses in a stream food web: Evidence from delta 15N of juvenile coho salmon

    EPA Science Inventory

    Placement of salmon carcasses is a common restoration technique in Oregon and Washington streams, with the goal of improving food resources and productivity of juvenile salmon. To explore the effectiveness of this restoration technique, we measured the δ15N of juvenile coho salmo...

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-08-01

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

  5. 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...

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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)

  12. 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)

  13. Using a Simulation To Teach Food Web Dynamics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rueter, John G.; Perrin, Nancy A.

    1999-01-01

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

  14. 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)

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ford, Bob; Smith, Bruce M.

    1994-01-01

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

  16. 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. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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…

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  5. 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)

  6. 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)

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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...

  10. Highly resolved early Eocene food webs show development of modern trophic structure after the end-Cretaceous extinction.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Labandeira, Conrad C; Williams, Richard J

    2014-05-07

    Generalities of food web structure have been identified for extant ecosystems. However, the trophic organization of ancient ecosystems is unresolved, as prior studies of fossil webs have been limited by low-resolution, high-uncertainty data. We compiled highly resolved, well-documented feeding interaction data for 700 taxa from the 48 million-year-old latest early Eocene Messel Shale, which contains a species assemblage that developed after an interval of protracted environmental and biotal change during and following the end-Cretaceous extinction. We compared the network structure of Messel lake and forest food webs to extant webs using analyses that account for scale dependence of structure with diversity and complexity. The Messel lake web, with 94 taxa, displays unambiguous similarities in structure to extant webs. While the Messel forest web, with 630 taxa, displays differences compared to extant webs, they appear to result from high diversity and resolution of insect-plant interactions, rather than substantive differences in structure. The evidence presented here suggests that modern trophic organization developed along with the modern Messel biota during an 18 Myr interval of dramatic post-extinction change. Our study also has methodological implications, as the Messel forest web analysis highlights limitations of current food web data and models.

  11. Highly resolved early Eocene food webs show development of modern trophic structure after the end-Cretaceous extinction

    PubMed Central

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Williams, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Generalities of food web structure have been identified for extant ecosystems. However, the trophic organization of ancient ecosystems is unresolved, as prior studies of fossil webs have been limited by low-resolution, high-uncertainty data. We compiled highly resolved, well-documented feeding interaction data for 700 taxa from the 48 million-year-old latest early Eocene Messel Shale, which contains a species assemblage that developed after an interval of protracted environmental and biotal change during and following the end-Cretaceous extinction. We compared the network structure of Messel lake and forest food webs to extant webs using analyses that account for scale dependence of structure with diversity and complexity. The Messel lake web, with 94 taxa, displays unambiguous similarities in structure to extant webs. While the Messel forest web, with 630 taxa, displays differences compared to extant webs, they appear to result from high diversity and resolution of insect–plant interactions, rather than substantive differences in structure. The evidence presented here suggests that modern trophic organization developed along with the modern Messel biota during an 18 Myr interval of dramatic post-extinction change. Our study also has methodological implications, as the Messel forest web analysis highlights limitations of current food web data and models. PMID:24648225

  12. The Impact of 850,000 Years of Climate Changes on the Structure and Dynamics of Mammal Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Nenzén, Hedvig K.; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities. PMID:25207754

  13. The impact of 850,000 years of climate changes on the structure and dynamics of mammal food webs.

    PubMed

    Nenzén, Hedvig K; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-11-01

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

  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. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

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

    2013-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  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. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Transient dynamics and food-web complexity in the Lotka-Volterra cascade model.

    PubMed Central

    Chen, X.; Cohen, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    How does the long-term behaviour near equilibrium of model food webs correlate with their short-term transient dynamics? Here, simulations of the Lotka -Volterra cascade model of food webs provide the first evidence to answer this question. Transient behaviour is measured by resilience, reactivity, the maximum amplification of a perturbation and the time at which the maximum amplification occurs. Model food webs with a higher probability of local asymptotic stability may be less resilient and may have a larger transient growth of perturbations. Given a fixed connectance, the sizes and durations of transient responses to perturbations increase with the number of species. Given a fixed number of species, as connectance increases, the sizes and durations of transient responses to perturbations may increase or decrease depending on the type of link that is varied. Reactivity is more sensitive to changes in the number of donor-controlled links than to changes in the number of recipient-controlled links, while resilience is more sensitive to changes in the number of recipient-controlled links than to changes in the number of donor-controlled links. Transient behaviour is likely to be one of the important factors affecting the persistence of ecological communities. PMID:11345334

  16. 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

  17. Land Use Affects Carbon Sources to the Pelagic Food Web in a Small Boreal Lake

    PubMed Central

    Rinta, Päivi; van Hardenbroek, Maarten; Jones, Roger I.; Kankaala, Paula; Rey, Fabian; Szidat, Sönke; Wooller, Matthew J.; Heiri, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Small humic forest lakes often have high contributions of methane-derived carbon in their food webs but little is known about the temporal stability of this carbon pathway and how it responds to environmental changes on longer time scales. We reconstructed past variations in the contribution of methanogenic carbon in the pelagic food web of a small boreal lake in Finland by analyzing the stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13C values) of chitinous fossils of planktivorous invertebrates in sediments from the lake. The δ13C values of zooplankton remains show several marked shifts (approx. 10 ‰), consistent with changes in the proportional contribution of carbon from methane-oxidizing bacteria in zooplankton diets. The results indicate that the lake only recently (1950s) obtained its present state with a high contribution of methanogenic carbon to the pelagic food web. A comparison with historical and palaeobotanical evidence indicates that this most recent shift coincided with agricultural land-use changes and forestation of the lake catchment and implies that earlier shifts may also have been related to changes in forest and land use. Our study demonstrates the sensitivity of the carbon cycle in small forest lakes to external forcing and that the effects of past changes in local land use on lacustrine carbon cycling have to be taken into account when defining environmental and ecological reference conditions in boreal headwater lakes. PMID:27487044

  18. 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.

  19. Seasonal variation in mercury and food web biomagnification in Lake Ontario, Canada.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Liang; Campbell, Linda M; Johnson, Timothy B

    2012-02-01

    Seasonal variation in mercury (Hg) concentrations and food web structure was assessed for eastern Lake Ontario. Hg concentrations, measured in 6 species of invertebrates and 8 species of fishes, tended to be highest in the spring and lowest in the summer for most biota. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) exhibited significant ontogenetic shifts in diet and Hg, although such patterns were not evident for other species. Food web structure, as indicated by stable isotope values (δ(15)N, δ(13)C) was not static. Log-transformed Hg data were strongly and consistently correlated with δ(15)N values for the whole food web in each of the three seasons (slopes, 0.17-0.24) and across the entire year (slope, 0.2). While significantly different between seasons, the regression slope values are still consistent with published global Hg biomagnification rates. Our results indicate that the assessment of Hg trends in Great Lakes must take into account seasonal patterns and time of sampling. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Biomagnification of polychlorinated biphenyls through a riverine food web

    SciTech Connect

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

    1997-07-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Informing food policy: balancing the evidence.

    PubMed

    Gill, M; Johnston, K

    2010-11-01

    The paper considers some of the reasons why governments develop food policies, gives examples of what is in food policies at the Scottish and UK levels and explores ways of effectively providing balanced evidence for policy development. It discusses the challenges of exchanging knowledge between the science and policy communities, given their different languages and cultures, highlighting the need for greater mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities. It draws on experience in the Scottish Government of developing the government's 'Recipe for Success - Scotland's National Food and Drink Policy' through engagement with stakeholders, scientists and analysts and touches on the more complex nature of the Department for International Development's contribution to meeting the first Millennium Development Goal. It compares the need for collation and analysis of existing evidence during the development of policy, with the desirability of providing policy direction for longer-term strategic research and the challenges of connecting the policy expectations with researchable questions. The paper concludes by emphasising the need to focus research in the short-term on mitigation of climate change through decreasing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of food, while also taking an account of economic, health and broader environmental sustainability objectives. A further challenge is to communicate complexity and uncertainty in ways which enable decision-makers from the consumer to policy-makers to make informed choices. Longer-term research needs to focus on the opportunities and risks associated with adapting to climate change.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henry, Anna E.; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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 ...

  10. 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…

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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…

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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 ...

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Intrapopulation niche partitioning in a generalist predator limits food web connectivity.

    PubMed

    Quevedo, Mario; Svanbäck, Richard; Eklöv, Peter

    2009-08-01

    Predators are increasingly recognized as key elements in food webs because of their ability to link the fluxes of nutrients and energy between spatially separated food chains. However, in the context of food web connectivity, predator populations have been mainly treated as homogeneous units, despite compelling evidence of individual specialization in resource use. It is conceivable that individuals of a predatory species use different resources associated with spatially separated food chains, thereby decoupling cross-habitat linkages. We tested whether intrapopulation differences in habitat use in the generalist freshwater predator Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) led to long-term niche partitioning and affected the degree of ecological habitat coupling. We evaluated trophic niche variability at successively larger timescales by analyzing gut contents and stable isotopes (delta13C and delta15N) in liver and muscle, tissues that provide successively longer integration of trophic activity. We found that the use of distinct habitats in perch led to intrapopulation niche partitioning between pelagic and littoral subpopulations, consistent through the various timescales. Pelagic fish showed a narrower niche, lower individual specialization, and more stable trophic behavior than littoral fish, as could be expected from inhabiting a relatively less diverse environment. This result indicated that substantial niche reduction could occur in a generalist predator at the subpopulation level, consistent with the use of a habitat that provides fewer chances of individual specialization. We showed that intrapopulation niche partitioning limits the ability of individual predators to link spatially separated food chains. In addition, we suggest a quantitative, standardized approach based on stable isotopes to measure the degree of habitat coupling mediated by a top predator.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Does microorganism stoichiometry predict microbial food web interactions after a phosphorus pulse?

    PubMed

    Carrillo, Presentación; Villar-Argaiz, Manuel; Medina-Sánchez, Juan M

    2008-08-01

    Knowledge of variations in microbial food web interactions resulting from atmospheric nutrient loads is crucial to improve our understanding of aquatic food web structure in pristine ecosystems. Three experiments mimicking atmospheric inputs at different nitrogen/phosphorus (N/P) ratios were performed in situ covering the seasonal biological succession of the pelagic zone in a high-mountain Spanish lake. In all experiments, abundance, biomass, algal cell biovolume, P-incorporation rates, P-cell quota, and N/P ratio of algae strongly responded to P-enrichment, whereas heterotrophic bacteria remained relatively unchanged. Ciliates were severely restricted when a strong algal exploitation of the available P (bloom growth or storage strategies) led to transient (mid-ice-free experiment) or chronic (late ice-free experiment) P-deficiencies in bacteria. In contrast, maximum development of ciliates was reached when bacteria remained P-rich (N/P < 20) and algae approached Redfield proportions (N/P approximately 16). Evidence of a higher P-incorporation rate supports the proposition that algae and bacteria shifted from a mainly commensalistic-mutualistic to a competitive relationship for the available P when bacterial P-deficiency increased, as reflected by their unbalanced N/P ratio (N/P > 20-24). Hence, the bacterial N/P ratio proved be a key factor to understand the algae-bacteria relationship and microbial food web development. This study not only demonstrates the interdependence of life history strategies, stoichiometric nutrient content, and growth but also supports the use of bacterial N/P thresholds for diagnosing ciliate development, a little-studied aspect worthy of further attention.

  1. Microbial food web dynamics along a soil chronosequence of a glacier forefield

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esperschütz, J.; Pérez-de-Mora, A.; Schreiner, K.; Welzl, G.; Buegger, F.; Zeyer, J.; Hagedorn, F.; Munch, J. C.; Schloter, M.

    2011-02-01

    Microbial food webs are critical for efficient nutrient turnover providing the basis for functional and stable ecosystems. However, the successional development of such microbial food webs and their role in "young" ecosystems is unclear. Due to a continuous glacier retreat since the middle of the 19th century, glacier forefields have expanded offering an excellent opportunity to study food web development at differently developed soils. In the present study, litter degradation and the corresponding C fluxes into microbial communities were investigated along the forefield of the Damma glacier (Switzerland). 13C-enriched litter of the pioneering plant Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood was incorporated into the soil at sites that have been free from ice for approximately 10, 60, 100 and more than 700 years. The structure and function of microbial communities were identified by 13C analysis of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) and phospholipid ether lipids (PLEL). Results showed increasing microbial diversity and biomass, and enhanced proliferation of bacterial groups as ecosystem development progressed. Initially, litter decomposition proceeded faster at the more developed sites, but at the end of the experiment loss of litter mass was similar at all sites, once the more easily-degradable litter fraction was processed. As a result incorporation of 13C into microbial biomass was more evident during the first weeks of litter decomposition. 13C enrichments of both PLEL and PUFA biomarkers following litter incorporation were observed at all sites, suggesting similar microbial foodwebs at all stages of soil development. Nonetheless, the contribution of bacteria and actinomycetes to litter turnover became more pronounced as soil age increased in detriment of archaea, fungi and protozoa, more prominent in recently deglaciated terrain.

  2. Microbial food web dynamics along a soil chronosequence of a glacier forefield

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esperschütz, J.; Pérez-de-Mora, A.; Schreiner, K.; Welzl, G.; Buegger, F.; Zeyer, J.; Hagedorn, F.; Munch, J. C.; Schloter, M.

    2011-11-01

    Microbial food webs are critical for efficient nutrient turnover providing the basis for functional and stable ecosystems. However, the successional development of such microbial food webs and their role in "young" ecosystems is unclear. Due to a continuous glacier retreat since the middle of the 19th century, glacier forefields have expanded offering an excellent opportunity to study food web dynamics in soils at different developmental stages. In the present study, litter degradation and the corresponding C fluxes into microbial communities were investigated along the forefield of the Damma glacier (Switzerland). 13C-enriched litter of the pioneering plant Leucanthemopsis alpina (L.) Heywood was incorporated into the soil at sites that have been free from ice for approximately 10, 60, 100 and more than 700 years. The structure and function of microbial communities were identified by 13C analysis of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) and phospholipid ether lipids (PLEL). Results showed increasing microbial diversity and biomass, and enhanced proliferation of bacterial groups as ecosystem development progressed. Initially, litter decomposition proceeded faster at the more developed sites, but at the end of the experiment loss of litter mass was similar at all sites, once the more easily-degradable litter fraction was processed. As a result incorporation of 13C into microbial biomass was more evident during the first weeks of litter decomposition. 13C enrichments of both PLEL and PLFA biomarkers following litter incorporation were observed at all sites, suggesting similar microbial foodwebs at all stages of soil development. Nonetheless, the contribution of bacteria, especially actinomycetes to litter turnover became more pronounced as soil age increased in detriment of archaea, fungi and protozoa, more prominent in recently deglaciated terrain.

  3. Use of Metabolic Inhibitors to Characterize Ecological Interactions in an Estuarine Microbial Food Web.

    PubMed

    DeLorenzo, M.E.; Lewitus, A.J.; Scott, G.I.; Ross, P.E.

    2001-10-01

    Understanding microbial food web dynamics is complicated by the multitude of competitive or interdependent trophic interactions involved in material and energy flow. Metabolic inhibitors can be used to gain information on the relative importance of trophic pathways by uncoupling selected microbial components and examining the net effect on ecosystem structure and function. A eukaryotic growth inhibitor (cycloheximide), a prokaryotic growth inhibitor (antibiotic mixture), and an inhibitor of photosynthesis (DCMU) were used to examine the trophodynamics of microbial communities from the tidal creek in North Inlet, a salt marsh estuary near Georgetown, South Carolina. Natural microbial communities were collected in the spring, summer, and fall after colonization onto polyurethane foam substrates deployed in the tidal creek. Bacterial abundance and productivity, heterotrophic ciliate and flagellate abundance, and phototrophic productivity, biomass, and biovolume were measured at five time points after inhibitor additions. The trophic responses of the estuarine microbial food web to metabolic inhibitors varied with season. In the summer, a close interdependency among phototrophs, bacteria, and protozoa was indicated, and the important influence of microzooplanktonic nutrient recycling was evident (i.e., a positive feedback loop). In the fall, phototroph and bacteria interactions were competitive rather than interdependent, and grazer nutrient regeneration did not appear to be an important regulatory factor for bacterial or phototrophic activities. The results indicate a seasonal shift in microbial food web structure and function in North Inlet, from a summer community characterized by microbial loop dynamics to a more linear trophic system in the fall. This study stresses the important role of microbial loops in driving primary and secondary production in estuaries such as North Inlet that are tidally dominated by fluctuations in nutrient supply and a summer

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Eating from the same plate? Revisiting the role of labile carbon inputs in the soil food web.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Franciska T; Caruso, Tancredi

    2016-11-01

    An increasing number of empirical studies are challenging the central fundamentals on which the classical soil food web model is built. This model assumes that bacteria consume labile substrates twice as fast as fungi, and that mycorrhizal fungi do not decompose organic matter. Here, we build on emerging evidence that points to significant consumption of labile C by fungi, and to the ability of ectomycorrhizal fungi to decompose organic matter, to show that labile C constitutes a major and presently underrated source of C for the soil food web. We use a simple model describing the dynamics of a recalcitrant and a labile C pool and their consumption by fungi and bacteria to show that fungal and bacterial populations can coexist in a stable state with large inputs into the labile C pool and a high fungal use of labile C. We propose a new conceptual model for the bottom trophic level of the soil food web, with organic C consisting of a continuous pool rather than two or three distinct pools, and saprotrophic fungi using substantial amounts of labile C. Incorporation of these concepts will increase our understanding of soil food web dynamics and functioning under changing conditions.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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

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

    PubMed

    Namkung, Young; Almanza, Barbara A

    2006-10-01

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

  2. Bioaccumulation of mercury in pelagic freshwater food webs.

    PubMed

    Watras, C J; Back, R C; Halvorsen, S; Hudson, R J; Morrison, K A; Wente, S P

    1998-08-28

    Current paradigms regarding the bioaccumulation of mercury are rooted in observations that monomethyl mercury (meHg) biomagnifies along pelagic food chains. However, mechanisms regulating the formation of meHg, its initial incorporation at the base of pelagic food chains, and its subsequent trophic transfer remain controversial. Here we use field data from 15 northern Wisconsin lakes, equilibrium aqueous speciation modeling, and statistical modeling to revisit several hypotheses about the uptake, distribution, and fate of inorganic Hg (HgII) and meHg in aquatic biota. Our field data comprise determinations of total Hg (HgT) and meHg in surface waters, sediments, microseston, zooplankton, and small fish in each of the study lakes. For these lake waters, strong positive correlations between DOC and aqueous concentrations of mercury along with negative correlations between DOC and the seston-water partitioning of mercury indicate that organic ligands bind HgII and meHg strongly enough to dominate their apparent aqueous speciation. In the microseston, zooplankton and fish, meHg concentrations and bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) increased with increasing trophic level while biotic concentrations of HgII decreased--indicating that meHg was indeed the biomagnified species of mercury. For all trophic levels, meHg concentrations varied positively with the calculated aqueous concentration of meHg+ (free ion), especially when coupled with pH, or meHgOH (hydroxide) species but not with meHgCl0, the neutral chloride complex. These findings suggest that: (1) the passive uptake of meHg does not control bioaccumulation at the base of aquatic food webs in nature (i.e. phyto- and bacterioplankton); (2) correlation with pH and DOC largely reflect the supply and bioavailability of meHg to lower trophic levels; and (3) meHg concentrations at higher trophic levels reflect uptake at low trophic levels and other factors, such as diet and growth. Low concentrations of meHg in surficial

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

    PubMed Central

    Chiu, Grace S.; Westveld, Anton H.

    2011-01-01

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

  4. Interaction diversity within quantified insect food webs in restored and adjacent intensively managed meadows.

    PubMed

    Albrecht, Matthias; Duelli, Peter; Schmid, Bernhard; Müller, Christine B

    2007-09-01

    1. We studied the community and food-web structure of trap-nesting insects in restored meadows and at increasing distances within intensively managed grassland at 13 sites in Switzerland to test if declining species diversity correlates with declining interaction diversity and changes in food-web structure. 2. We analysed 49 quantitative food webs consisting of a total of 1382 trophic interactions involving 39 host/prey insect species and 14 parasitoid/predator insect species. Species richness and abundance of three functional groups, bees and wasps as the lower trophic level and natural enemies as the higher trophic level, were significantly higher in restored than in adjacent intensively managed meadows. Diversity and abundance of specific trophic interactions also declined from restored to intensively managed meadows. 3. The proportion of attacked brood cells and the mortality of bees and wasps due to natural enemies were significantly higher in restored than in intensively managed meadows. Bee abundance and the rate of attacked brood cells of bees declined with increasing distance from restored meadows. These findings indicate that interaction diversity declines more rapidly than species diversity in our study system. 4. Quantitative measures of food-web structure (linkage density, interaction diversity, interaction evenness and compartment diversity) were higher in restored than in intensively managed meadows. This was reflected in a higher mean number of host/prey species per consumer species (degree of generalism) in restored than in intensively managed meadows. 5. The higher insect species and interaction diversity was related to higher plant species richness in restored than in intensively managed meadows. In particular, bees and natural enemies reacted positively to increased plant diversity. 6. Our findings provide empirical evidence for the theoretical prediction that decreasing species richness at lower trophic levels should reduce species richness at

  5. Disruption of the lower food web in Lake Ontario: Did it affect alewife growth or condition?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Gorman, R.; Prindle, S.E.; Lantry, J.R.; Lantry, B.F.

    2008-01-01

    From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, a succession of non-native invertebrates colonized Lake Ontario and the suite of consequences caused by their colonization became known as "food web disruption". For example, the native burrowing amphipod Diporeia spp., a key link in the profundal food web, declined to near absence, exotic predaceous cladocerans with long spines proliferated, altering the zooplankton community, and depth distributions of fishes shifted. These changes had the potential to affect growth and condition of planktivorous alewife Alosa pseudoharengus, the most abundant fish in the lake. To determine if food web disruption affected alewife, we used change-point analysis to examine alewife growth and adult alewife condition during 1976-2006 and analysis-of-variance to determine if values between change points differed significantly. There were no change points in growth during the first year of life. Of three change points in growth during the second year of life, one coincided with the shift in springtime distribution of alewife to deeper water but it was not associated with a significant change in growth. After the second year of life, no change points in growth were evident, although growth in the third year of life spiked in those years when Bythotrephes, the largest of the exotic cladocerans, was abundant suggesting that it was a profitable prey item for age-2 fish. We detected two change points in condition of adult alewife in fall, but the first occurred in 1981, well before disruption began. A second change point occurred in 2003, well after disruption began. After the springtime distribution of alewife shifted deeper during 1992-1994, growth in the first two years of life became more variable, and growth in years of life two and older became correlated (P < 0.05). In conclusion, food web disruption had no negative affect on growth and condition of alewife in Lake Ontario although it appears to have resulted in growth in the first two years of

  6. Disentangling trophic relationships in a High Arctic tundra ecosystem through food web modeling.

    PubMed

    Legagneux, P; Gauthier, G; Berteaux, D; Bêty, J; Cadieux, M C; Bilodeau, F; Bolduc, E; McKinnon, L; Tarroux, A; Therrien, J F; Morissette, L; Krebs, C J

    2012-07-01

    Determining the manner in which food webs will respond to environmental changes is difficult because the relative importance of top-down vs. bottom-up forces in controlling ecosystems is still debated. This is especially true in the Arctic tundra where, despite relatively simple food webs, it is still unclear which forces dominate in this ecosystem. Our primary goal was to assess the extent to which a tundra food web was dominated by plant-herbivore or predator-prey interactions. Based on a 17-year (1993-2009) study of terrestrial wildlife on Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, we developed trophic mass balance models to address this question. Snow Geese were the dominant herbivores in this ecosystem, followed by two sympatric lemming species (brown and collared lemmings). Arctic foxes, weasels, and several species of birds of prey were the dominant predators. Results of our trophic models encompassing 19 functional groups showed that <10% of the annual primary production was consumed by herbivores in most years despite the presence of a large Snow Goose colony, but that 20-100% of the annual herbivore production was consumed by predators. The impact of herbivores on vegetation has also weakened over time, probably due to an increase in primary production. The impact of predators was highest on lemmings, intermediate on passerines, and lowest on geese and shorebirds, but it varied with lemming abundance. Predation of collared lemmings exceeded production in most years and may explain why this species remained at low density. In contrast, the predation rate on brown lemmings varied with prey density and may have contributed to the high-amplitude, periodic fluctuations in the abundance of this species. Our analysis provided little evidence that herbivores are limited by primary production on Bylot Island. In contrast, we measured strong predator-prey interactions, which supports the hypothesis that this food web is primarily controlled by top-down forces. The presence of

  7. 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

    After the explosion and subsequent sinking of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) on 22 April 2010, an estimated 780,000 m3 of Sweet Louisiana Crude (SLC) and 205,000 mT of methane were released into the northern Gulf of Mexico over an 85 d period. A great deal of controversy ensued regarding the application of unprecedented volumes of chemical dispersants both at the surface and at depth. One of the consequences of dispersing such large volumes of oil into the water column was the difficulty of tracking its fate over distance and through the food web. Most of the attention to date has been on large underwater plumes of oil, and scant evidence exists for subsea oil in warm (>25 °C), shallow shelf waters due to rapid weathering and utilization by prokaryotes. A large pool of isotopically depleted carbon from released oil and methane is presumably available to zooplankton and zooplankton-eating fish and invertebrates via prokaryotic consumers. Thus, carbon isotopic depletion extending into marine zooplankton grazers, a pathway mediated by the microbial food web, is a good proxy for food web modification by the spill. We employed δ13C as a tracer of oil-derived carbon incorporation into the lower marine food web across the middle and inner continental shelf. During June-August 2010, we followed two particle size classes: the nominally 1 μm - 0.2 mm “small suspended particulate” and the >0.2-2 mm “mesozooplankton” fractions, with the former considered likely food particle size for the latter. A clear pattern of δ13C depletion occurring in each fraction at middle and inner shelf stations was consistent with two sequential northward pulses of surface oil slicks from DWH. Relative to early June, an isotopic shift of -1 to -3 ‰ (toward weathered and fresh oil, -27.23 ± 0.03 ‰ and -27.34 ± 0.34 ‰, respectively) occurred during the peak of areal coverage of oil over the sites in late June 2010. Recovery of this depletion was 2-4 wks. A third pulse of residual oil

  8. 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.

  9. Terrestrial support of lake food webs: Synthesis reveals controls over cross-ecosystem resource use.

    PubMed

    Tanentzap, Andrew J; Kielstra, Brian W; Wilkinson, Grace M; Berggren, Martin; Craig, Nicola; Del Giorgio, Paul A; Grey, Jonathan; Gunn, John M; Jones, Stuart E; Karlsson, Jan; Solomon, Christopher T; Pace, Michael L

    2017-03-01

    Widespread evidence that organic matter exported from terrestrial into aquatic ecosystems supports recipient food webs remains controversial. A pressing question is not only whether high terrestrial support is possible but also what the general conditions are under which it arises. We assemble the largest data set, to date, of the isotopic composition (δ(2)H, δ(13)C, and δ(15)N) of lake zooplankton and the resources at the base of their associated food webs. In total, our data set spans 559 observations across 147 lakes from the boreal to subtropics. By predicting terrestrial resource support from within-lake and catchment-level characteristics, we found that half of all consumer observations that is, the median were composed of at least 42% terrestrially derived material. In general, terrestrial support of zooplankton was greatest in lakes with large physical and hydrological connections to catchments that were rich in aboveground and belowground organic matter. However, some consumers responded less strongly to terrestrial resources where within-lake production was elevated. Our study shows that multiple mechanisms drive widespread cross-ecosystem support of aquatic consumers across Northern Hemisphere lakes and suggests that changes in terrestrial landscapes will influence ecosystem processes well beyond their boundaries.

  10. Mercury and selenium accumulation in the Colorado River food web, Grand Canyon, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walters, David M.; E.J. Rosi-Marshall,; Kennedy, Theodore A.; W.F. Cross,; C.V. Baxter,

    2015-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) biomagnify in aquatic food webs and are toxic to fish and wildlife. The authors measured Hg and Se in organic matter, invertebrates, and fishes in the Colorado River food web at sites spanning 387 river km downstream of Glen Canyon Dam (AZ, USA). Concentrations were relatively high among sites compared with other large rivers (mean wet wt for 6 fishes was 0.17–1.59 μg g–1 Hg and 1.35–2.65 μg g–1 Se), but consistent longitudinal patterns in Hg or Se concentrations relative to the dam were lacking. Mercury increased (slope = 0.147) with δ15N, a metric of trophic position, indicating biomagnification similar to that observed in other freshwater systems. Organisms regularly exceeded exposure risk thresholds for wildlife and humans (6–100% and 56–100% of samples for Hg and Se, respectfully, among risk thresholds). In the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Hg and Se concentrations pose exposure risks for fish, wildlife, and humans, and the findings of the present study add to a growing body of evidence showing that remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and subsequent bioaccumulation of contaminants. Management of exposure risks in Grand Canyon will remain a challenge, as sources and transport mechanisms of Hg and Se extend far beyond park boundaries. Environ Toxicol Chem2015;9999:1–10

  11. Trophic magnification of chlorinated flame retardants and their dechlorinated analogs in a fresh water food web.

    PubMed

    Wang, De-Gao; Guo, Ming-Xing; Pei, Wei; Byer, Jonathan D; Wang, Zhuang

    2015-01-01

    Chlorinated flame retardants, particularly dechlorane plus (DP), were widely used in commercial applications and are ubiquitous in the environment. A total of seven species of aquatic organisms were collected concurrently from the region of a chemical production facility in Huai’an, China. DP and structurally related compounds including mirex, dechloranes 602, 603, 604, chlordene plus (CP), DP monoadduct (DPMA), and two dechlorinated breakdown products of DP, decachloropentacyclooctadecadiene (anti-Cl(10)-DP) and undecachloropentacyclooctadecadiene (anti-Cl(11)-DP), were detected in these aquatic organisms. Nitrogen stable isotope ratios were also measured to determine the trophic levels of the organisms. Trophic magnification factors (TMFs) for these chemicals were calculated with values ranging from 1.0 to 3.1. TMFs for CP, mirex, anti-DP, and ∑DP were statistically greater than 1, showing evidence of biomagnification in the food web. Concentration ratios of anti-Cl(11)-DP to anti-DP showed a significant relationship with trophic level, implying that anti-Cl(11)-DP had a higher food-web magnification potential than its precursor. The biota-sediment accumulation factors and TMFs for DP demonstrated stereoselectivity, with syn-DP having a greater bioaccumulation potential than anti-DP in the aquatic environment.

  12. Mercury and selenium accumulation in the Colorado River food web, Grand Canyon, USA.

    PubMed

    Walters, David M; Rosi-Marshall, Emma; Kennedy, Theodore A; Cross, Wyatt F; Baxter, Colden V

    2015-10-01

    Mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) biomagnify in aquatic food webs and are toxic to fish and wildlife. The authors measured Hg and Se in organic matter, invertebrates, and fishes in the Colorado River food web at sites spanning 387 river km downstream of Glen Canyon Dam (AZ, USA). Concentrations were relatively high among sites compared with other large rivers (mean wet wt for 6 fishes was 0.17-1.59 μg g(-1) Hg and 1.35-2.65 μg g(-1) Se), but consistent longitudinal patterns in Hg or Se concentrations relative to the dam were lacking. Mercury increased (slope = 0.147) with δ(15) N, a metric of trophic position, indicating biomagnification similar to that observed in other freshwater systems. Organisms regularly exceeded exposure risk thresholds for wildlife and humans (6-100% and 56-100% of samples for Hg and Se, respectfully, among risk thresholds). In the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Hg and Se concentrations pose exposure risks for fish, wildlife, and humans, and the findings of the present study add to a growing body of evidence showing that remote ecosystems are vulnerable to long-range transport and subsequent bioaccumulation of contaminants. Management of exposure risks in Grand Canyon will remain a challenge, as sources and transport mechanisms of Hg and Se extend far beyond park boundaries. © 2015 SETAC.

  13. Terrestrial support of lake food webs: Synthesis reveals controls over cross-ecosystem resource use

    PubMed Central

    Tanentzap, Andrew J.; Kielstra, Brian W.; Wilkinson, Grace M.; Berggren, Martin; Craig, Nicola; del Giorgio, Paul A.; Grey, Jonathan; Gunn, John M.; Jones, Stuart E.; Karlsson, Jan; Solomon, Christopher T.; Pace, Michael L.

    2017-01-01

    Widespread evidence that organic matter exported from terrestrial into aquatic ecosystems supports recipient food webs remains controversial. A pressing question is not only whether high terrestrial support is possible but also what the general conditions are under which it arises. We assemble the largest data set, to date, of the isotopic composition (δ2H, δ13C, and δ15N) of lake zooplankton and the resources at the base of their associated food webs. In total, our data set spans 559 observations across 147 lakes from the boreal to subtropics. By predicting terrestrial resource support from within-lake and catchment-level characteristics, we found that half of all consumer observations that is, the median were composed of at least 42% terrestrially derived material. In general, terrestrial support of zooplankton was greatest in lakes with large physical and hydrological connections to catchments that were rich in aboveground and belowground organic matter. However, some consumers responded less strongly to terrestrial resources where within-lake production was elevated. Our study shows that multiple mechanisms drive widespread cross-ecosystem support of aquatic consumers across Northern Hemisphere lakes and suggests that changes in terrestrial landscapes will influence ecosystem processes well beyond their boundaries. PMID:28345035

  14. Bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of mercury and selenium in african sub-tropical fluvial reservoirs food webs (Burkina Faso).

    PubMed

    Ouédraogo, Ousséni; Chételat, John; Amyot, Marc

    2015-01-01

    The bioaccumulation and biomagnification of mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) were investigated in sub-tropical freshwater food webs from Burkina Faso, West Africa, a region where very few ecosystem studies on contaminants have been performed. During the 2010 rainy season, samples of water, sediment, fish, zooplankton, and mollusks were collected from three water reservoirs and analysed for total Hg (THg), methylmercury (MeHg), and total Se (TSe). Ratios of δ13C and δ15N were measured to determine food web structures and patterns of contaminant accumulation and transfer to fish. Food chain lengths (FCLs) were calculated using mean δ15N of all primary consumer taxa collected as the site-specific baseline. We report relatively low concentrations of THg and TSe in most fish. We also found in all studied reservoirs short food chain lengths, ranging from 3.3 to 3.7, with most fish relying on a mixture of pelagic and littoral sources for their diet. Mercury was biomagnified in fish food webs with an enrichment factor ranging from 2.9 to 6.5 for THg and from 2.9 to 6.6 for MeHg. However, there was no evidence of selenium biomagnification in these food webs. An inverse relationship was observed between adjusted δ15N and log-transformed Se:Hg ratios, indicating that Se has a lesser protective effect in top predators, which are also the most contaminated animals with respect to MeHg. Trophic position, carbon source, and fish total length were the factors best explaining Hg concentration in fish. In a broader comparison of our study sites with literature data for other African lakes, the THg biomagnification rate was positively correlated with FCL. We conclude that these reservoir systems from tropical Western Africa have low Hg biomagnification associated with short food chains. This finding may partly explain low concentrations of Hg commonly reported in fish from this area.

  15. Bioaccumulation and Trophic Transfer of Mercury and Selenium in African Sub-Tropical Fluvial Reservoirs Food Webs (Burkina Faso)

    PubMed Central

    Ouédraogo, Ousséni; Chételat, John; Amyot, Marc

    2015-01-01

    The bioaccumulation and biomagnification of mercury (Hg) and selenium (Se) were investigated in sub-tropical freshwater food webs from Burkina Faso, West Africa, a region where very few ecosystem studies on contaminants have been performed. During the 2010 rainy season, samples of water, sediment, fish, zooplankton, and mollusks were collected from three water reservoirs and analysed for total Hg (THg), methylmercury (MeHg), and total Se (TSe). Ratios of δ13C and δ15N were measured to determine food web structures and patterns of contaminant accumulation and transfer to fish. Food chain lengths (FCLs) were calculated using mean δ15N of all primary consumer taxa collected as the site-specific baseline. We report relatively low concentrations of THg and TSe in most fish. We also found in all studied reservoirs short food chain lengths, ranging from 3.3 to 3.7, with most fish relying on a mixture of pelagic and littoral sources for their diet. Mercury was biomagnified in fish food webs with an enrichment factor ranging from 2.9 to 6.5 for THg and from 2.9 to 6.6 for MeHg. However, there was no evidence of selenium biomagnification in these food webs. An inverse relationship was observed between adjusted δ15N and log-transformed Se:Hg ratios, indicating that Se has a lesser protective effect in top predators, which are also the most contaminated animals with respect to MeHg. Trophic position, carbon source, and fish total length were the factors best explaining Hg concentration in fish. In a broader comparison of our study sites with literature data for other African lakes, the THg biomagnification rate was positively correlated with FCL. We conclude that these reservoir systems from tropical Western Africa have low Hg biomagnification associated with short food chains. This finding may partly explain low concentrations of Hg commonly reported in fish from this area. PMID:25875292

  16. The effects of energy input, immigration and habitat size on food web structure: a microcosm experiment.

    PubMed

    Spencer, Matthew; Warren, Philip H

    1996-12-01

    It has been hypothesised that larger habitats should support more complex food webs. We consider three mechanisms which could lead to this pattern. These are increased immigration rates, increased total productivity and spatial effects on the persistence of unstable interactions. Experiments designed to discriminate between these mechanisms were carried out in laboratory aquatic microcosm communities of protista and bacteria, by independently manipulating habitat size, total productivity and immigration rate. Larger habitats supported more complex food webs, with more species, more links per species and longer maximum and mean food chains, even in the absence of differences in total energy input. Increased immigration rate resulted in more complex food webs, but habitats with higher energy input per unit area supported less complex food webs. We conclude that spatial effects on the persistence of unstable interactions, and variation in immigration rates, are plausible mechanisms by which habitat size could affect food web structure. Variation in total productivity with habitat area seems a less likely explanation for variation in food web structure.

  17. Impact of Non-Native Terrestrial Mammals on the Structure of the Terrestrial Mammal Food Web of Newfoundland, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Strong, Justin S.; Leroux, Shawn J.

    2014-01-01

    The island of Newfoundland is unique because it has as many non-native terrestrial mammals as native ones. The impacts of non-native species on native flora and fauna can be profound and invasive species have been identified as one of the primary drivers of species extinction. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of a non-native species assemblage on community and ecosystem properties. We reviewed the literature to build the first terrestrial mammal food web for the island of Newfoundland and then used network analyses to investigate how the timing of introductions and trophic position of non-native species has affected the structure of the terrestrial mammal food web in Newfoundland. The first non-native mammals (house mouse and brown rat) became established in Newfoundland with human settlement in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Coyotes and southern red-backed voles are the most recent mammals to establish themselves on the island in 1985 and 1998, respectively. The fraction of intermediate species increased with the addition of non-native mammals over time whereas the fraction of basal and top species declined over time. This increase in intermediate species mediated by non-native species arrivals led to an overall increase in the terrestrial mammal food web connectance and generality (i.e. mean number of prey per predator). This diverse prey base and sources of carrion may have facilitated the natural establishment of coyotes on the island. Also, there is some evidence that the introduction of non-native prey species such as the southern red-backed vole has contributed to the recovery of the threatened American marten. Long-term monitoring of the food web is required to understand and predict the impacts of the diverse novel interactions that are developing in the terrestrial mammal food web of Newfoundland. PMID:25170923

  18. Impact of non-native terrestrial mammals on the structure of the terrestrial mammal food web of Newfoundland, Canada.

    PubMed

    Strong, Justin S; Leroux, Shawn J

    2014-01-01

    The island of Newfoundland is unique because it has as many non-native terrestrial mammals as native ones. The impacts of non-native species on native flora and fauna can be profound and invasive species have been identified as one of the primary drivers of species extinction. Few studies, however, have investigated the effects of a non-native species assemblage on community and ecosystem properties. We reviewed the literature to build the first terrestrial mammal food web for the island of Newfoundland and then used network analyses to investigate how the timing of introductions and trophic position of non-native species has affected the structure of the terrestrial mammal food web in Newfoundland. The first non-native mammals (house mouse and brown rat) became established in Newfoundland with human settlement in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Coyotes and southern red-backed voles are the most recent mammals to establish themselves on the island in 1985 and 1998, respectively. The fraction of intermediate species increased with the addition of non-native mammals over time whereas the fraction of basal and top species declined over time. This increase in intermediate species mediated by non-native species arrivals led to an overall increase in the terrestrial mammal food web connectance and generality (i.e. mean number of prey per predator). This diverse prey base and sources of carrion may have facilitated the natural establishment of coyotes on the island. Also, there is some evidence that the introduction of non-native prey species such as the southern red-backed vole has contributed to the recovery of the threatened American marten. Long-term monitoring of the food web is required to understand and predict the impacts of the diverse novel interactions that are developing in the terrestrial mammal food web of Newfoundland.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  3. Soil fertility shapes belowground food webs across a regional climate gradient.

    PubMed

    Laliberté, Etienne; Kardol, Paul; Didham, Raphael K; Teste, François P; Turner, Benjamin L; Wardle, David A

    2017-10-01

    Changes in soil fertility during pedogenesis affect the quantity and quality of resources entering the belowground subsystem. Climate governs pedogenesis, yet how climate modulates responses of soil food webs to soil ageing remains unexplored because of the paucity of appropriate model systems. We characterised soil food webs along each of four retrogressive soil chronosequences situated across a strong regional climate gradient to show that belowground communities are predominantly shaped by changes in fertility rather than climate. Basal consumers showed hump-shaped responses to soil ageing, which were propagated to higher-order consumers. There was a shift in dominance from bacterial to fungal energy channels with increasing soil age, while the root energy channel was most important in intermediate-aged soils. Our study highlights the overarching importance of soil fertility in regulating soil food webs, and indicates that belowground food webs will respond more strongly to shifts in soil resources than climate change. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  7. Mercury flow through an Asian rice-based food web.

    PubMed

    Abeysinghe, Kasun S; Qiu, Guangle; Goodale, Eben; Anderson, Christopher W N; Bishop, Kevin; Evers, David C; Goodale, Morgan W; Hintelmann, Holger; Liu, Shengjie; Mammides, Christos; Quan, Rui-Chang; Wang, Jin; Wu, Pianpian; Xu, Xiao-Hang; Yang, Xiao-Dong; Feng, Xinbin

    2017-10-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a globally-distributed pollutant, toxic to humans and animals. Emissions are particularly high in Asia, and the source of exposure for humans there may also be different from other regions, including rice as well as fish consumption, particularly in contaminated areas. Yet the threats Asian wildlife face in rice-based ecosystems are as yet unclear. We sought to understand how Hg flows through rice-based food webs in historic mining and non-mining regions of Guizhou, China. We measured total Hg (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in soil, rice, 38 animal species (27 for MeHg) spanning multiple trophic levels, and examined the relationship between stable isotopes and Hg concentrations. Our results confirm biomagnification of THg/MeHg, with a high trophic magnification slope. Invertivorous songbirds had concentrations of THg in their feathers that were 15x and 3x the concentration reported to significantly impair reproduction, at mining and non-mining sites, respectively. High concentrations in specialist rice consumers and in granivorous birds, the later as high as in piscivorous birds, suggest rice is a primary source of exposure. Spiders had the highest THg concentrations among invertebrates and may represent a vector through which Hg is passed to vertebrates, especially songbirds. Our findings suggest there could be significant population level health effects and consequent biodiversity loss in sensitive ecosystems, like agricultural wetlands, across Asia, and invertivorous songbirds would be good subjects for further studies investigating this possibility. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed

    Van Meter, Robin J; Swan, Christopher M

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  10. Hypoxia Impacts on Food Web Linkages in a Pelagic Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sato, M.; Horne, J. K.; Parker-Stetter, S. L.; Essington, T.; Keister, J. E.; Moriarty, P.; Li, L.

    2016-02-01

    Low dissolved oxygen (DO), or hypoxia, causes significant disturbances on aquatic organisms, but the consequences for key food web linkages is not well understood. Here, we tested how the intensity of low DO events governs the degree of spatial overlap between pelagic zooplanktivorous fish and their zooplankton prey, fish feeding rates, and community compositions of zooplankton. We hypothesized that the greater sensitivity of fish to DO compared to zooplankton would lead to diminished spatial overlap at moderate DO and reduced feeding rates of fish, while severe hypoxia would amplify spatial overlap by preventing zooplankton from using deep refuge habitats leading to increased fish feeding rates. We also hypothesized shifts in zooplankton community composition towards less energetically profitable taxa such as small copepods and gelatinous species. We used a combination of multifrequency acoustic and net sampling for detecting distributions and abundance of zooplankton and pelagic fish in Hood Canal, WA, a seasonally hypoxic fjord. We employed a sampling design which paired hypoxic regions of Hood Canal with normoxic regions sampled prior to, during, and after the onset of hypoxia in two years. Contrary to our hypotheses, we found that fish and zooplankton did not change their horizontal and vertical distributions during periods and in locations with low DO levels. Consequently, the vertical overlap between fish and zooplankton did not change with DO. Fish feeding rates and the dominant zooplankton prey did not change with hypoxia events. The apparent resilience of fish to low DO in our system may be explained by decreased metabolic oxygen demand due to cool temperatures, increased availability and accessibility to their prey in low DO waters, or potential increase in predation risk at shallower depth. This study highlights the importance of both temperature and DO, instead of hypoxia threshold alone, in evaluating the impacts of hypoxia on pelagic communities.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

  12. Habitat fragmentation and species loss across three interacting trophic levels: effects of life-history and food-web traits.

    PubMed

    Cagnolo, Luciano; Valladares, Graciela; Salvo, Adriana; Cabido, Marcelo; Zak, Marcelo

    2009-10-01

    Not all species are likely to be equally affected by habitat fragmentation; thus, we evaluated the effects of size of forest remnants on trophically linked communities of plants, leaf-mining insects, and their parasitoids. We explored the possibility of differential vulnerability to habitat area reduction in relation to species-specific and food-web traits by comparing species-area regression slopes. Moreover, we searched for a synergistic effect of these traits and of trophic level. We collected mined leaves and recorded plant, leaf miner, and parasitoid species interactions in five 100-m2 transects in 19 Chaco Serrano woodland remnants in central Argentina. Species were classified into extreme categories according to body size, natural abundance, trophic breadth, and trophic level. Species-area slopes differed between groups with extreme values of natural abundance or trophic specialization. Nevertheless, synergistic effects of life-history and food-web traits were only found for trophic level and trophic breadth: area-related species loss was highest for specialist parasitoids. It has been suggested that species position within interaction webs could determine their vulnerability to extinction. Our results provide evidence that food-web parameters, such as trophic level and trophic breadth, affect species sensitivity to habitat fragmentation.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-08-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-15

    The food web composition, assimilation efficiency of Dechlorane Plus (DP) in food web components, and even extrinsic conditions can affect the trophic biomagnification potentials of DP isomers in food webs. Antarctica ecological system is characterized by the presence of few consumers and simple trophic levels (TLs), which are crucial in discussing the behavior of contaminants. To assess the biomagnification potential of DP in the Antarctic food web, nine representative species were sampled and analyzed from the Fildes Peninsula. Results showed the DP concentrations ranged from 0.25ngg(-1) to 6.81ngg(-1) lipid weight in Antarctic biota and the concentrations of anti-DP and syn-DP showed significantly positive correlations with TLs (p<0.05, ra=0.85; rs=0.81, respectively), suggesting that syn-DP and anti-DP underwent biomagnification and the biomagnification ability of anti-DP was higher than that of syn-DP. The anti-DP fraction (anti-DP/∑DP) (ƒanti=0.23-0.53) of the organisms was lower than that of commercial products (ƒanti=0.68), demonstrating ƒanti was changed during long-range atmospheric transport or stereoselection enrichment through the food web. Furthermore, based on food web magnification factors (FWMF) comparison between DP and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the biomagnification potential of DP was found to be similar to that of highly chlorinated PCBs. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Robustness of empirical food webs with varying consumer's sensitivities to loss of resources.

    PubMed

    Bellingeri, Michele; Vincenzi, Simone

    2013-09-21

    Food web responses to species loss have been mostly studied in binary food webs, thus without accounting for the amount of energy transferred in consumer-resource interactions. We introduce an energetic criterion, called extinction threshold, for which a species goes secondarily extinct when a certain fraction of its incoming energy is lost. We study the robustness to random node loss of 10 food webs based on empirically-derived weightings. We use different extinction scenarios (random removal and from most- to least-connected species), and we simulate 10(5) replicates for each extinction threshold to account for stochasticity of extinction dynamics. We quantified robustness on the basis of how many additional species (i.e. secondary extinctions) were lost after the direct removal of species (i.e. primary extinctions). For all food webs, the expected robustness linearly decreases with extinction threshold, although a large variance in robustness is observed. The sensitivity of robustness to variations in extinction threshold increases with food web species richness and quantitative unweighted link density, while we observed a nonlinear relationship when the predictor is food web connectance and no relationship with the proportion of autotrophs. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-17

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-24

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. A framework for evaluating food-web responses to hydrological manipulations in riverine systems.

    PubMed

    Rolls, Robert J; Baldwin, Darren S; Bond, Nick R; Lester, Rebecca E; Robson, Barbara J; Ryder, Daren S; Thompson, Ross M; Watson, Garth A

    2017-12-01

    Environmental flows are used to restore elements of the hydrological regime altered by human use of water. One of the primary justifications and purposes for environmental flows is the maintenance of target species populations but, paradoxically, there has been little emphasis on incorporating the food-web and trophic dynamics that determine population-level responses into the monitoring and evaluation of environmental flow programs. We develop a generic framework for incorporating trophic dynamics into monitoring programs to identify the food-web linkages between hydrological regimes and population-level objectives of environmental flows. These linkages form the basis for objective setting, ecological targets and indicator selection that are necessary for planning monitoring programs with a rigorous scientific basis. Because there are multiple facets of trophic dynamics that influence energy production and transfer through food webs, the specific objectives of environmental flows need to be defined during the development of monitoring programs. A multitude of analytical methods exist that each quantify distinct aspects of food webs (e.g. energy production, prey selection, energy assimilation), but no single method can provide a basis for holistic understanding of food webs. Our paper critiques a range of analytical methods for quantifying attributes of food webs to inform the setting, monitoring and evaluation of trophic outcomes of environmental flows and advance the conceptual understanding of trophic dynamics in river-floodplain systems. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  4. Winter is coming: Food web structure and seasonality in a subtropical freshwater coastal lake.

    PubMed

    Peralta-Maraver, Ignacio; Robertson, Anne L; Rezende, Enrico L; Lemes da Silva, Aurea Luiza; Tonetta, Denise; Lopes, Michelle; Schmitt, Rafael; Leite, Nei K; Nuñer, Alex; Petrucio, Mauricio M

    2017-07-01

    Food web studies provide a useful tool to assess the organization and complexity of natural communities. Nevertheless, the seasonal dynamics of food web properties, their environmental correlates, and potential association with community diversity and stability remain poorly studied. Here, we condensed an incomplete 6-year community dataset of a subtropical coastal lake to examine how monthly variation in diversity impacts food web structure over an idealized time series for an averaged year. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish were mostly resolved to species level (n = 120 trophospecies). Our results showed that the seasonal organization of the food web could be aggregated into two clusters of months grouped here as 'summer' and 'winter'. During 'winter', the food web decreases in size and complexity, with the number of trophospecies dropping from 106 to 82 (a 22.6% decrease in the number of nodes) and the trophic interactions from 1,049 to 637 between month extremes (a 39.3% drop in the number of links). The observed simplification in food web structure during 'winter' suggests that community stability is more vulnerable to the impact of any change during this period.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-22

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic threats holistically, it is necessary to know how threats affect different components within ecosystems and ultimately alter ecosystem functioning. We used a case study of a Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) food web and expert knowledge elicitation in an application of the initial steps of a framework for assessment of cumulative human impacts on food webs. We produced a conceptual seagrass food web model, determined the main trophic relationships, identified the main threats to the food web components, and assessed the components' vulnerability to those threats. Some threats had high (e.g., coastal infrastructure) or low impacts (e.g., agricultural runoff) on all food web components, whereas others (e.g., introduced carnivores) had very different impacts on each component. Partitioning the ecosystem into its components enabled us to identify threats previously overlooked and to reevaluate the importance of threats commonly perceived as major. By incorporating this understanding of system vulnerability with data on changes in the state of each threat (e.g., decreasing domestic pollution and increasing fishing) into a food web model, managers may be better able to estimate and predict cumulative human impacts on ecosystems and to prioritize conservation actions. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-01

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

  8. Effects of Seasonal and Spatial Differences in Food Webs on Mercury Concentrations in Fish in the Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-05-01

    A clear understanding of the aquatic food web is essential for determining the entry points and subsequent biomagnification pathways of contaminants such as methyl-mercury (MeHg) in the Everglades. Anthropogenic changes in nutrients can significantly affect the entry points of MeHg by changing food web structure from one dominated by algal productivity to one dominated by macrophytes and associated microbial activity. These changes in the base of the food web can also influence the distribution of animals within the ecosystem, and subsequently the bioaccumulation of MeHg up the food chain. As part of several collaborations with local and other federal agencies, more than 7000 Everglades samples were collected in 1995-99, and analysed for d13C and d15N. Many organisms were also analysed for d34S, gut contents, total Hg, and MeHg. Carbon isotopes effectively distinguish between two main types of food webs: ones where algae is the dominant base of the food web, which are characteristic of relatively pristine marsh sites with long hydroperiods, and ones where macrophyte debris appears to be a significant source of nutrients, which are apparently characteristic of shorter hydroperiod sites, and nutrient-impacted marshes and canals. Many organisms show significant (5-12%) spatial and temporal differences in d13C and d15N values across the Everglades. These differences may reflect site and season-specific differences in the relative importance of algae vs. macrophyte debris to the food web. However, there is a lack of evidence that these sites otherwise differ in food chain length (as determined by d15N values). This conclusion is generally supported by gut contents and mercury data. Furthermore, there are no statistically significant differences between the Delta d15N (predator-algae) values at pristine marsh, nutrient-impacted marsh, or canal sites. The main conclusions from this preliminary comparison of gut contents, stable isotope, and Hg data are: (1) there is

  9. Intraguild predation, invertebrate predators, and trophic cascades in lake food webs.

    PubMed

    Hart, Deborah

    2002-09-07

    The top-down and bottom-up properties of model food webs that include intraguild predation and self-limiting factors such as cannibalism are investigated. Intraguild predation can dampen or even reverse the top-down effects predicted by food chain theory. The degree of self-limitation among the intraguild prey is a key factor in determining the direction and strength of the top-down response. Intraguild predation and self-limiting factors can also substantially alter the bottom-up effects of enrichment. These results can help explain the disparate results of trophic cascade experiments in lakes, where cascades are usually seen when large Daphnia are the primary herbivores, but not when smaller-bodied herbivores are dominant. Top-down manipulations should cascade at least modestly to phytoplankton in those lakes whose food web can be reasonably approximated by a chain (typically, those where Daphnia is the dominant herbivore), as predicted by food chain theory. On the other hand, smaller-bodied zooplankton are often preyed upon heavily by invertebrate predators as well as by planktivorous fish, thereby introducing elements of intraguild predation into these food webs. In this case, conventional food chain theory is likely to give incorrect predictions. Very large cascade effects may be due primarily to regime shifts between intraguild predation-dominated food webs and those that more resemble food chains, rather than due to the simple food chain cascade usually considered.

  10. Food web de-synchronization in England's largest lake: an assessment based on multiple phenological metrics.

    PubMed

    Thackeray, Stephen J; Henrys, Peter A; Feuchtmayr, Heidrun; Jones, Ian D; Maberly, Stephen C; Winfield, Ian J

    2013-12-01

    Phenological changes have been observed globally for marine, freshwater and terrestrial species, and are an important element of the global biological 'fingerprint' of climate change. Differences in rates of change could desynchronize seasonal species interactions within a food web, threatening ecosystem functioning. Quantification of this risk is hampered by the rarity of long-term data for multiple interacting species from the same ecosystem and by the diversity of possible phenological metrics, which vary in their ecological relevance to food web interactions. We compare phenological change for phytoplankton (chlorophyll a), zooplankton (Daphnia) and fish (perch, Perca fluviatilis) in two basins of Windermere over 40 years and determine whether change has differed among trophic levels, while explicitly accounting for among-metric differences in rates of change. Though rates of change differed markedly among the nine metrics used, seasonal events shifted earlier for all metrics and trophic levels: zooplankton advanced most, and fish least, rapidly. Evidence of altered synchrony was found in both lake basins, when combining information from all phenological metrics. However, comparisons based on single metrics did not consistently detect this signal. A multimetric approach showed that across trophic levels, earlier phenological events have been associated with increasing water temperature. However, for phytoplankton and zooplankton, phenological change was also associated with changes in resource availability. Lower silicate, and higher phosphorus, concentrations were associated with earlier phytoplankton growth, and earlier phytoplankton growth was associated with earlier zooplankton growth. The developing trophic mismatch detected between the dominant fish species in Windermere and important zooplankton food resources may ultimately affect fish survival and portend significant impacts upon ecosystem functioning. We advocate that future studies on phenological

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hopkins, Thomas L.; Torres, Joseph J.

    1989-04-01

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

  12. Temporal characterization of mercury accumulation at different trophic levels and implications for metal biomagnification along a coastal food web.

    PubMed

    Cardoso, P G; Pereira, E; Duarte, A C; Azeiteiro, U M

    2014-10-15

    The main goal of this study was to assess temporal mercury variations along an estuarine food web to evaluate the mercury contamination level of the system and the risks that humans are exposed to, due to mercury biomagnification. The highest mercury concentrations in the sediments and primary producers (macrophytes) were observed during winter sampling. Instead, the highest mercury concentrations in the water, suspended particulate matter as well as in the zooplanktonic and suprabenthic communities were observed during summer sampling. Evidences of mercury biomagnification along the food web were corroborated by the positive biomagnification factors, particularly for omnivorous macrobenthic species. Comparing the mercury levels at distinct components with several environmental quality criteria it suggests that sediments, water and edible species (e.g., bivalve Scrobicularia plana and the crustacean Carcinus maenas) presented higher mercury levels than the values accepted by legislation which represent a matter of concern for the environment and human health.

  13. The protozooplankton-ichthyoplankton trophic link: an overlooked aspect of aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Montagnes, David J S; Dower, John F; Figueiredo, Gisela M

    2010-01-01

    Since the introduction of the microbial loop concept, awareness of the role played by protozooplankton in marine food webs has grown. By consuming bacteria, and then being consumed by metazooplankton, protozoa form a trophic link that channels dissolved organic material into the "classic" marine food chain. Beyond enhancing energy transfer to higher trophic levels, protozoa play a key role in improving the food quality of metazooplankton. Here, we consider a third role played by protozoa, but one that has received comparatively little attention: that as prey items for ichthyoplankton. For >100 years it has been known that fish larvae consume protozoa. Despite this, fisheries scientists and biological oceanographers still largely ignore protozoa when assessing the foodweb dynamics that regulate the growth and survival of larval fish. We review evidence supporting the importance of the protozooplankton-ichthyoplankton link, including examples from the amateur aquarium trade, the commercial aquaculture industry, and contemporary studies of larval fish. We then consider why this potentially important link continues to receive very little attention. We conclude by offering suggestions for quantifying the importance of the protozooplankton-ichthyoplankton trophic link, using both existing methods and new technologies.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergamino, Leandro; Lercari, Diego; Defeo, Omar

    2011-03-01

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

  15. What do molecular methods bring to host-parasitoid food webs?

    PubMed

    Hrček, Jan; Godfray, H Charles J

    2015-01-01

    Quantitative food webs are valuable tools to detect patterns in community structure and generate hypotheses for experimentation. Quantitative webs of whole communities are usually not feasible to build, and most attention focuses on assemblages of species that interact in similar ways. Hosts and parasitoids are a popular guild for study, and quantitative webs have traditionally been constructed by collecting, rearing, and identifying large samples of individuals from the field. In the past decade molecular methods have begun to be used extensively in studies of host-parasitoid webs to clarify species concepts. We review how this rapidly developing field is using molecular information to detect cryptic interactions between species and to increase our understanding of the phylogenetic and mechanistic processes which structure food webs. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. The impact of nonlinear functional responses on the long-term evolution of food web structure.

    PubMed

    Drossel, Barbara; McKane, Alan J; Quince, Christopher

    2004-08-21

    We investigate the long-term web structure emerging in evolutionary food web models when different types of functional responses are used. We find that large and complex webs with several trophic layers arise only if the population dynamics is such that it allows predators to focus on their best prey species. This can be achieved using modified Lotka-Volterra or Holling/Beddington functional responses with effective couplings that depend on the predator's efficiency at exploiting the prey, or a ratio-dependent functional response with adaptive foraging. In contrast, if standard Lotka-Volterra or Holling/Beddington functional responses are used, long-term evolution generates webs with almost all species being basal, and with additionally many links between these species. Interestingly, in all cases studied, a large proportion of weak links result naturally from the evolution of the food webs.

  17. Microbial food web structure in the Arabian Sea: a US JGOFS study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garrison, David L.; Gowing, Marcia M.; Hughes, Margaret P.; Campbell, Lisa; Caron, David A.; Dennett, Mark R.; Shalapyonok, Alexi; Olson, Robert J.; Landry, Michael R.; Brown, Susan L.; Liu, Hong-Bin; Azam, Farooq; Steward, Grieg F.; Ducklow, Hugh W.; Smith, David C.

    One of the main objectives of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Studies (JGOFS) program is to develop an understanding of the factors controlling organic carbon production in the ocean and the time-varying vertical flux of carbon from surface waters (US JGOFS (1990) US JGOFS Planning Report Number 11; Sarmiento and Armstrong (1997) US JGOFS Synthesis and Modeling Project Implementation Plan). A considerable amount of evidence suggests that carbon cycling and the potential for exporting carbon from ocean systems is a function of food web structure. As part of the US JGOFS Arabian Sea Studies, the biomass of planktonic organisms, ranging from heterotrophic bacteria through microplankton-sized organisms, was estimated using a variety of methods including flow cytometry and microscopy. This is a first attempt to combine biomass data from a number of sources, evaluate the structure of the food web, examine changes in food web structure in relation to seasonal or spatial features of the study area, and look for indications of how changing structure affects carbon-cycling processes. Biomass in the upper 100 m of the water column ranged from approximately 1.5 to >5.2 gC m -2. Heterotrophic bacteria (Hbac) made up from 16 and 44% of the biomass; autotrophs comprised 43-64%; and the remainder was made up of nano- and microheterotrophs. Autotrophs and nano- and microheterotrophs showed a general pattern of higher values at coastal stations, with the lowest values offshore. Heterotrophic bacteria (Hbac) showed no significant spatial variations. The Spring Intermonsoon and early NE Monsoon were dominated by autotrophic picoplankton, Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. The late NE Monsoon and late SW Monsoon periods showed an increase in the larger size fractions of the primary producers. At several stations during the SW Monsoon, autotrophic microplankton, primarily diatoms and Phaeocystis colonies, predominated. Increases in the size of autotrophs were also reflected in increasing

  18. High school students' understanding of food webs: Identification of a learning hierarchy and related misconceptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Griffiths, Alan K.; Grant, Bette A. C.

    Developing an understanding of the nature of food webs is an important topic in today's biology curricula. The relationships represented in a food web are rule-like in nature. Hence, it should be possible to construct a learning hierarchy for this concept. A hierarchy leading to the ability to determine how a change in the size of one population can affect another population in the same web but not on the same chain was hypothesized. Data from 200 subjects were extremely consistent with the hierarchy. A second major focus related to the identification of specific misconceptions held by subjects for food webs. The need to identify students' misconceptions of important concepts has been expressed widely in the recent science education literature. In the present article, an argument is presented for the usefulness of learning hierarchies in this work. Specific misconceptions and the frequencies of their occurrence are reported.

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

    PubMed

    Caskenette, Amanda L; McCann, Kevin S

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Caskenette, Amanda L.; McCann, Kevin S.

    2017-01-01

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

  1. Comparing Food Label Experiments Using Samples from Web Panels versus Mall Intercepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chang, LinChiat; Lin, Chung-Tung Jordan

    2015-01-01

    To regulate health messages on food labels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traditionally relied on mall intercepts to collect consumer data. In recent years, web surveys have presented a viable alternative for presenting visual stimuli with more control and efficiency in data collection. However, there is a paucity of empirical data…

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2001

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2001

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

    Terrestrial carbon and nutrients can subsidize the detrital pool of freshwater ecosystems; yet, the importance of terrestrial subsidies to lake and pond food webs is uncertain and debated. Terrestrial detritus is expected to have the greatest impact on food webs when water bodies are small and shallow with low levels of incident light. Temporary forested ponds fit this description and are often assumed to have a leaf detritus-based food web, but this has not been quantified. In a whole-ecosystem experiment, we traced the flow of isotopically enriched leaf litter to primary producers and consumers in a small, forested pond. We found that terrestrial leaves provided nutrients to algae, offering an indirect pathway in which leaf litter can enter the food web. Terrestrial leaves were also consumed directly, and larval caddisfly (Limnephilus sp.) shredders likely mobilized leaf nutrients to other consumers, a process overlooked in many previous small-scale experiments that did not incorporate shredders. Unexpectedly, most consumers relied heavily upon algal food pathways despite low light and net heterotrophic conditions. Overall, our study highlights the interconnectedness of algal and leaf litter pathways in small pond food webs, and emphasizes that algal pathways are prevalent and important even in small, shaded ponds with high loads of terrestrial leaf litter. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-17

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Gravel, Dominique; Albouy, Camille; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2016-05-19

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Albouy, Camille

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-05

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-05-24

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Sources and transfers of methylmercury in adjacent river and forest food webs.

    PubMed

    Tsui, Martin Tsz Ki; Blum, Joel D; Kwon, Sae Yun; Finlay, Jacques C; Balogh, Steven J; Nollet, Yabing H

    2012-10-16

    Nearly all ecosystems are contaminated with highly toxic methylmercury (MeHg), but the specific sources and pathways leading to the uptake of MeHg within and among food webs are not well understood. In this study, we report stable mercury (Hg) isotope compositions in food webs in a river and an adjacent forest in northern California and demonstrate the utility of Hg isotopes for studying MeHg sources and cross-habitat transfers. We observed large differences in both δ(202)Hg (mass-dependent fractionation) and Δ(199)Hg (mass-independent fractionation) within both food webs. The majority of isotopic variation within each food web could be accounted for by differing proportions of inorganic Hg [Hg(II)] and MeHg along food chains. We estimated mean isotope values of Hg(II) and MeHg in each habitat and found a large difference in δ(202)Hg between Hg(II) and MeHg (∼2.7‰) in the forest but not in the river (∼0.25‰). This is consistent with in situ Hg(II) methylation in the study river but suggests Hg(II) methylation may not be important in the forest. In fact, the similarity in δ(202)Hg between MeHg in forest food webs and Hg(II) in precipitation suggests that MeHg in forest food webs may be derived from atmospheric sources (e.g., rainfall, fog). Utilizing contrasting δ(202)Hg values between MeHg in river food webs (-1.0‰) and MeHg in forest food webs (+0.7‰), we estimate with a two-source mixing model that ∼55% of MeHg in two riparian spiders is derived from riverine sources while ∼45% of MeHg originates from terrestrial sources. Thus, stable Hg isotopes can provide new information on subtle differences in sources of MeHg and trace MeHg transfers within and among food webs in natural ecosystems.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-19

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. The Contribution of Microarthropods to Aboveground Food Webs: A Review and Model of Belowground Transfer in a Coniferous Forest

    Treesearch

    John M. Johnston

    1999-01-01

    Although below ground food webs have received much attention, studies concerning microarthropods in nondetrital food webs are scarce. because adult oribatid mites often number between 250.000-500,000/ m2 in coniferous forests, microarthropods are a potential food resource for macroarthropod and vertebrate predators of the forest floor. Although...

  20. Planktonic food webs revisited: Reanalysis of results from the linear inverse approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hlaili, Asma Sakka; Niquil, Nathalie; Legendre, Louis

    2014-01-01

    Identification of the trophic pathway that dominates a given planktonic assemblage is generally based on the distribution of biomasses among food-web compartments, or better, the flows of materials or energy among compartments. These flows are obtained by field observations and a posteriori analyses, including the linear inverse approach. In the present study, we re-analysed carbon flows obtained by inverse analysis at 32 stations in the global ocean and one large lake. Our results do not support two "classical" views of plankton ecology, i.e. that the herbivorous food web is dominated by mesozooplankton grazing on large phytoplankton, and the microbial food web is based on microzooplankton significantly consuming bacteria; our results suggest instead that phytoplankton are generally grazed by microzooplankton, of which they are the main food source. Furthermore, we identified the "phyto-microbial food web", where microzooplankton largely feed on phytoplankton, in addition to the already known "poly-microbial food web", where microzooplankton consume more or less equally various types of food. These unexpected results led to a (re)definition of the conceptual models corresponding to the four trophic pathways we found to exist in plankton, i.e. the herbivorous, multivorous, and two types of microbial food web. We illustrated the conceptual trophic pathways using carbon flows that were actually observed at representative stations. The latter can be calibrated to correspond to any field situation. Our study also provides researchers and managers with operational criteria for identifying the dominant trophic pathway in a planktonic assemblage, these criteria being based on the values of two carbon ratios that could be calculated from flow values that are relatively easy to estimate in the field.

  1. Validity and reproducibility of an adolescent web-based food frequency questionnaire.

    PubMed

    Matthys, Christophe; Pynaert, Ilse; De Keyzer, Willem; De Henauw, Stefaan

    2007-04-01

    To assess the validity and reproducibility of a newly developed, cost-effective, and easy to administer, Web-based food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for the dietary assessment of adolescents. Cross-sectional validation of a Web-based FFQ, which contained 15 food groups (water; soft drinks, including fruit juice and diet soft drinks; alcoholic beverages; soup; milk and milk products; fruit; sweet and savory snacks/fillings; sauces and fat spreads; breakfast cereals; bread; cheese, fish/eggs/meat; pasta/rice; vegetables; and potatoes). Reference data for validation were 3-day estimated food records. Analyses were done for all participants and for consumers only (consumer in both Web-based FFQ and food record). A selected group of adolescents (12 to 18 years of age, n=104) from participating secondary schools in Ghent, Belgium. For all participants, the measured intakes of water, fruit, breakfast cereals, fish/eggs/meat, pasta/rice, and potatoes were not significantly different between the two methods. The Spearman correlation for all foods was on average 0.38 (ranging from 0.20 for pasta/rice to 0.64 for breakfast cereals). When analyzed for consumers only, the Web-based FFQ showed significantly lower estimates for soft drinks, sweet and savory snacks/fillings, sauces and fat spreads, cheese, pasta/rice, and vegetables. The average Spearman correlation for all foods collectively was 0.30. When reproducibility of the Web-based FFQ was assessed, the average Spearman correlation coefficient for all foods collectively was 0.62. Most questions on the 15 food groups had acceptable reproducibility, whereas validation only showed reliable intakes for water, fruit, bread, and fish/eggs/meat. This Web-based FFQ could be a start for development of dietary assessment methods in public health nutrition contexts.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Lingas, Elena O.; Bukofzer, Eliana

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-01

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

  5. Anthropogenic and natural sources of acidity and metals and their influence on the structure of stream food webs.

    PubMed

    Hogsden, Kristy L; Harding, Jon S

    2012-03-01

    We compared food web structure in 20 streams with either anthropogenic or natural sources of acidity and metals or circumneutral water chemistry in New Zealand. Community and diet analysis indicated that mining streams receiving anthropogenic inputs of acidic and metal-rich drainage had much simpler food webs (fewer species, shorter food chains, less links) than those in naturally acidic, naturally high metal, and circumneutral streams. Food webs of naturally high metal streams were structurally similar to those in mining streams, lacking fish predators and having few species. Whereas, webs in naturally acidic streams differed very little from those in circumneutral streams due to strong similarities in community composition and diets of secondary and top consumers. The combined negative effects of acidity and metals on stream food webs are clear. However, elevated metal concentrations, regardless of source, appear to play a more important role than acidity in driving food web structure. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Species Richness and Trophic Diversity Increase Decomposition in a Co-Evolved Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Baiser, Benjamin; Ardeshiri, Roxanne S.; Ellison, Aaron M.

    2011-01-01

    Ecological communities show great variation in species richness, composition and food web structure across similar and diverse ecosystems. Knowledge of how this biodiversity relates to ecosystem functioning is important for understanding the maintenance of diversity and the potential effects of species losses and gains on ecosystems. While research often focuses on how variation in species richness influences ecosystem processes, assessing species richness in a food web context can provide further insight into the relationship between diversity and ecosystem functioning and elucidate potential mechanisms underpinning this relationship. Here, we assessed how species richness and trophic diversity affect decomposition rates in a complete aquatic food web: the five trophic level web that occurs within water-filled leaves of the northern pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea. We identified a trophic cascade in which top-predators — larvae of the pitcher-plant mosquito — indirectly increased bacterial decomposition by preying on bactivorous protozoa. Our data also revealed a facultative relationship in which larvae of the pitcher-plant midge increased bacterial decomposition by shredding detritus. These important interactions occur only in food webs with high trophic diversity, which in turn only occur in food webs with high species richness. We show that species richness and trophic diversity underlie strong linkages between food web structure and dynamics that influence ecosystem functioning. The importance of trophic diversity and species interactions in determining how biodiversity relates to ecosystem functioning suggests that simply focusing on species richness does not give a complete picture as to how ecosystems may change with the loss or gain of species. PMID:21673992

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-05

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

  10. The cesium:potassium index of food web structure -- A complementary approach to stable isotope indicators

    SciTech Connect

    Young, D.

    1995-12-31

    Stable isotope shifts with trophic or average feeding level are an important tool in characterizing sampled food webs for biomagnification and other studies. However, spatial and temporal variations in isotope ratios in the environment can introduce uncertainties in interpreting such data. An elemental index, the Cs/K ratio, has proved to be a useful tool in assessing the reliability of the trophic level approach to characterizing marine and estuarine food webs. A major advantage is the constant value of this elemental ratio in seawater. Studies conducted over the last three decades in a variety of aquatic ecosystems generally have yielded consistent results using the Cs/K Index. The mean Trophic Transfer Factor obtained from twelve food web surveys was 2.0 +/- 0.1 (SE), indicating substantial structure for most of the food webs sampled. An empirical technique, termed the Exponential Biomagnification Model, was developed to simplify the observed variation of Cs/K with Trophic Level Assignment. This approach has proved useful in assessing sampled food webs with non-integer Trophic Level Assignments, and obtaining average Trophic Transfer Factors for the Cs/K ratio and corresponding tissue concentrations of environmental contaminants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-08-27

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-16

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Vallina, Sergio M; Le Quéré, Corinne

    2011-03-07

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

  18. Effects of alien plants on insect abundance and biomass: a food-web approach.

    PubMed

    Heleno, Rúben H; Ceia, Ricardo S; Ramos, Jaime A; Memmott, Jane

    2009-04-01

    The replacement of native plants by alien species is likely to affect other trophic levels, particularly phytophagous insects. Nevertheless, the effect of alien plants on insect biomass has not yet been quantified. Given their critical role in transferring energy from plants to higher trophic levels, if alien plants do affect insect biomass, this could have far-reaching consequences for community structure. We used 35 food webs to evaluate the impacts of alien plants on insect productivity in a native forest in the Azores. Our food webs quantified plants, insect herbivores, and their parasitoids, which allowed us to test the effects of alien plants on species richness and evenness, insect abundance, insect biomass, and food-web structure. Species richness of plants and insects, along with plant species evenness, declined as the level of plant invasion increased. Nevertheless, none of the 4 quantitative food-web descriptors (number of links, link density, connectance, and interaction evenness) varied significantly with plant invasion independent of the size of the food web. Overall, insect abundance was not significantly affected by alien plants, but insect biomass was significantly reduced. This effect was due to the replacement of large insects on native plants with small insects on alien plants. Furthermore, the impact of alien plants was sufficiently severe to invert the otherwise expected pattern of species-richness decline with increased elevation. We predict a decrease in insect productivity by over 67% if conservation efforts fail to halt the invasion of alien plants in the Azores.

  19. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  1. Food web structure in a near-pristine mangrove area of the Australian Wet Tropics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abrantes, Kátya; Sheaves, Marcus

    2009-05-01

    Carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition was used to identify the main sources of carbon and describe the main trophic pathways in Deluge Inlet, a near-pristine mangrove estuary in tropical north Queensland, Australia. Producers' δ13C varied from -28.9‰ for mangroves to -18.6‰ for seagrass. Animals were also well separated in δ13C (-25.4‰ to -16.3‰ for invertebrates and -25.2‰ to -17.2‰ for fish), suggesting considerable differences in ultimate sources of carbon, from a substantial reliance on mangrove carbon to an almost exclusive reliance on seagrass. In general, invertebrates had lower δ15N than fish, indicating lower trophic levels. Among fish, δ15N values reflected well the assumed trophic levels, as species from lower trophic levels had lower δ15N than species from higher trophic levels. Trophic levels and trophic length were estimated based on δ15N of invertebrate primary consumers (6.1‰), with results suggesting a food web with four trophic levels. There was also evidence of a high level of diet overlap between fish species, as indicated by similarities in δ13C for fish species of higher trophic levels. Stable isotope data was also useful to construct a general model for this food web, where five main trophic pathways were identified: one based on both mangrove and microphytobenthos, one on plankton, two on both microphytobenthos and seagrass, and one based mainly on seagrass. This model again suggested the presence of four trophic levels, in agreement with the value calculated based on the difference in δ15N between invertebrate primary consumers and top piscivores.

  2. Bioaccumulation and trophic magnification of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in a Mediterranean river food web.

    PubMed

    Ruhí, Albert; Acuña, Vicenç; Barceló, Damià; Huerta, Belinda; Mor, Jordi-Rene; Rodríguez-Mozaz, Sara; Sabater, Sergi

    2016-01-01

    Increasing evidence exists that emerging pollutants such as pharmaceuticals (PhACs) and endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) can be bioaccumulated by aquatic organisms. However, the relative role of trophic transfers in the acquisition of emerging pollutants by aquatic organisms remains largely unexplored. In freshwater ecosystems, wastewater treatment plants are a major source of PhACs and EDCs. Here we studied the entrance of emerging pollutants and their flow through riverine food webs in an effluent-influenced river. To this end we assembled a data set on the composition and concentrations of a broad spectrum of PhACs (25 compounds) and EDCs (12 compounds) in water, biofilm, and three aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa with different trophic positions and feeding strategies (Ancylus fluviatilis, Hydropsyche sp., Phagocata vitta). We tested for similarities in pollutant levels among these compartments, and we compared observed bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) to those predicted by a previously-developed empirical model based on octanol-water distribution coefficients (Dow). Despite a high variation in composition and levels of emerging pollutants across food web compartments, observed BAFs in Hydropsyche and Phagocata matched, on average, those already predicted. Three compounds (the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, the lipid regulator gemfibrozil, and the flame retardant TBEP) were detected in water, biofilm and (at least) one macroinvertebrate taxa. TBEP was the only compound present in all taxa and showed magnification across trophic levels. This suggests that prey consumption may be, in some cases, a significant exposure route. This study advances the notion that both waterborne exposure and trophic interactions need to be taken into account when assessing the potential ecological risks of emerging pollutants in aquatic ecosystems.

  3. The impact of anticyclonic mesoscale structures on microbial food webs in the Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christaki, U.; van Wambeke, F.; Lefevre, D.; Lagaria, A.; Prieur, L.; Pujo-Pay, M.; Grattepanche, J.-D.; Colombet, J.; Psarra, S.; Dolan, J. R.; Sime-Ngando, T.; Conan, P.; Weinbauer, M. G.; Moutin, T.

    2011-01-01

    The abundance and activity of the major members of the heterotrophic microbial community - from viruses to ciliates - were studied along a longitudinal transect across the Mediterranean Sea in the summer of 2008. The Mediterranean Sea is characterized by a west to the east gradient of deepening of DCM (deep chlorophyll maximum) and increasing oligotrophy reflected in gradients of heterotrophic microbial biomass and production. However, within this longitudinal trend, hydrological mesoscale features exist and likely influence microbial dynamics. We show here the importance of mesoscale structures by a description of the structure and function of the microbial food web through an investigation of 3 geographically distant eddies within a longitudinal transect. Three selected sites each located in the center of an anticyclonic eddy were intensively investigated: in the Algero-Provencal Basin (St. A), the Ionian Basin (St. B), and the Levantine Basin (St. C). The 3 geographically distant eddies showed the lowest values of the different heterotrophic compartments of the microbial food web, and except for viruses in site C, all stocks were higher in the neighboring stations outside the eddies. During our study the 3 eddies showed equilibrium between GCP (Gross Community Production) and DCR (Dark Community Respiration); moreover, the west-east (W-E) gradient was evident in terms of heterotrophic biomass but not in terms of production. Means of integrated PPp values were higher at site B (~190 mg C m-2 d-1) and about 15% lower at sites A and C (~160 mg C m-2 d-1). Net community production fluxes were similar at all three stations exhibiting equilibrium between gross community production and dark community respiration.

  4. Isotopic study of mercury sources and transfer between a freshwater lake and adjacent forest food web.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Sae Yun; Blum, Joel D; Nadelhoffer, Knute J; Timothy Dvonch, J; Tsui, Martin Tsz-Ki

    2015-11-01

    Studies of monomethylmercury (MMHg) sources and biogeochemical pathways have been extensive in aquatic ecosystems, but limited in forest ecosystems. Increasing evidence suggests that there is significant mercury (Hg) exchange between aquatic and forest ecosystems. We use Hg stable isotope ratios (δ(202)Hg and Δ(199)Hg) to investigate the relative importance of MMHg sources and assess Hg transfer pathways between Douglas Lake and adjacent forests located at the University of Michigan Biological Station, USA. We characterize Hg isotopic compositions of basal resources and use linear regression of % MMHg versus δ(202)Hg and Δ(199)Hg to estimate Hg isotope values for inorganic mercury (IHg) and MMHg in the aquatic and adjacent forest food webs. In the aquatic ecosystem, we found that lake sediment represents a mixture of IHg pools deposited via watershed runoff and precipitation. The δ(202)Hg and Δ(199)Hg values estimated for IHg are consistent with other studies that measured forest floor in temperate forests. The Δ(199)Hg value estimated for MMHg in the aquatic food web indicates that MMHg is subjected to ~20% photochemical degradation prior to bioaccumulation. In the forest ecosystem, we found a significant negative relationship between total Hg and δ(202)Hg and Δ(199)Hg of soil collected at multiple distances from the lakeshore and lake sediment. This suggests that IHg input from watershed runoff provides an important Hg transfer pathway between the forest and aquatic ecosystems. We measured Δ(199)Hg values for high trophic level insects and compared these insects at multiple distances perpendicular to the lake shoreline. The Δ(199)Hg values correspond to the % canopy cover suggesting that forest MMHg is subjected to varying extents of photochemical degradation and the extent may be controlled by sunlight. Our study demonstrates that the use of Hg isotopes adds important new insight into the relative importance of MMHg sources and complex Hg transfer

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

    PubMed

    Weber, Kristi; Story, Mary; Harnack, Lisa

    2006-09-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. Food product design: emerging evidence for food policy.

    PubMed

    Al-Hamdani, Mohammed; Smith, Steven

    2017-03-01

    The research on the impact of specific brand elements such as food descriptors and package colors is underexplored. We tested whether a "light" color and a "low-calorie" descriptor on food packages gain favorable consumer perception ratings as compared with regular packages. Our online experiment recruited 406 adults in a 3 (product type: Chips versus Juice versus Yoghurt) × 2 (descriptor type: regular versus low-calorie) × 2 (color type: regular versus light) mixed design. Dependent variables were sensory (evaluations of the product's nutritional value and quality), product-based (evaluations of the product's physical appeal), and consumer-based (evaluations of the potential consumers of the product) scales. "Low-calorie" descriptors were found to increase sensory ratings as compared with regular descriptors and light-colored packages received higher product-based ratings as compared with their regular-colored counterparts. Food package color and descriptors present a promising venue for understanding preventative measures against obesity.[Formula: see text].

  8. Warming effects on marine microbial food web processes: how far can we go when it comes to predictions?

    PubMed Central

    Sarmento, Hugo; Montoya, José M.; Vázquez-Domínguez, Evaristo; Vaqué, Dolors; Gasol, Josep M.

    2010-01-01

    Previsions of a warmer ocean as a consequence of climatic change point to a 2–6°C temperature rise during this century in surface oceanic waters. Heterotrophic bacteria occupy the central position of the marine microbial food web, and their metabolic activity and interactions with other compartments within the web are regulated by temperature. In particular, key ecosystem processes like bacterial production (BP), respiration (BR), growth efficiency and bacterial–grazer trophic interactions are likely to change in a warmer ocean. Different approaches can be used to predict these changes. Here we combine evidence of the effects of temperature on these processes and interactions coming from laboratory experiments, space-for-time substitutions, long-term data from microbial observatories and theoretical predictions. Some of the evidence we gathered shows opposite trends to warming depending on the spatio-temporal scale of observation, and the complexity of the system under study. In particular, we show that warming (i) increases BR, (ii) increases bacterial losses to their grazers, and thus bacterial–grazer biomass flux within the microbial food web, (iii) increases BP if enough resources are available (as labile organic matter derived from phytoplankton excretion or lysis), and (iv) increases bacterial losses to grazing at lower rates than BP, and hence decreasing the proportion of production removed by grazers. As a consequence, bacterial abundance would also increase and reinforce the already dominant role of microbes in the carbon cycle of a warmer ocean. PMID:20513721

  9. Warming effects on marine microbial food web processes: how far can we go when it comes to predictions?

    PubMed

    Sarmento, Hugo; Montoya, José M; Vázquez-Domínguez, Evaristo; Vaqué, Dolors; Gasol, Josep M

    2010-07-12

    Previsions of a warmer ocean as a consequence of climatic change point to a 2-6 degrees C temperature rise during this century in surface oceanic waters. Heterotrophic bacteria occupy the central position of the marine microbial food web, and their metabolic activity and interactions with other compartments within the web are regulated by temperature. In particular, key ecosystem processes like bacterial production (BP), respiration (BR), growth efficiency and bacterial-grazer trophic interactions are likely to change in a warmer ocean. Different approaches can be used to predict these changes. Here we combine evidence of the effects of temperature on these processes and interactions coming from laboratory experiments, space-for-time substitutions, long-term data from microbial observatories and theoretical predictions. Some of the evidence we gathered shows opposite trends to warming depending on the spatio-temporal scale of observation, and the complexity of the system under study. In particular, we show that warming (i) increases BR, (ii) increases bacterial losses to their grazers, and thus bacterial-grazer biomass flux within the microbial food web, (iii) increases BP if enough resources are available (as labile organic matter derived from phytoplankton excretion or lysis), and (iv) increases bacterial losses to grazing at lower rates than BP, and hence decreasing the proportion of production removed by grazers. As a consequence, bacterial abundance would also increase and reinforce the already dominant role of microbes in the carbon cycle of a warmer ocean.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Davenport, Jon M; Chalcraft, David R

    2012-01-01

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

  12. Changes in food web structure affect rate of PCB decline in herring gull (Larus argentatus) eggs

    SciTech Connect

    Hebert, C.E.; Hobson, K.A.; Shutt, J.L.

    2000-05-01

    Biological monitors provide important information regarding temporal trends in levels of persistent organic pollutants. Correct interpretation of these trends is critical if one is to accurately assess his progress in eliminating these contaminants from the environment. In the Laurentian Great Lakes, polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in herring gull eggs declined during the 1970s and early 1980s. By the mid-1980s, further declines were not as obvious. An exception to this trend was observed in eggs from Lake Erie. On that lake, egg PCB concentrations continued to decline rapidly during the 1980s/1990s. Evidence from stable isotope analysis indicated that temporal changes in the composition of the herring gull diet occurred on Lake Erie. In the eastern basin, declines in fish availability may have forced the gulls to incorporate a greater proportion of terrestrial food into their diets. Decreases in the proportion of fish in the gull diet would have resulted in reduced PCB exposure. This may be partially responsible for the continuing rapid rate of decline in egg PCB concentrations. This decline should be interpreted with caution. These trends may not be indicative of lake-wide declines in PCB bioavailability but only reflect changes in dietary exposure brought about by alterations in food web structure.

  13. Mixotrophy and intraguild predation - dynamic consequences of shifts between food web motifs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karnatak, Rajat; Wollrab, Sabine

    2017-06-01

    Mixotrophy is ubiquitous in microbial communities of aquatic systems with many flagellates being able to use autotroph as well as heterotroph pathways for energy acquisition. The usage of one over the other pathway is associated with resource availability and the coupling of alternative pathways has strong implications for system stability. We investigated the impact of dominance of different energy pathways related to relative resource availability on system dynamics in the setting of a tritrophic food web motif. This motif consists of a mixotroph feeding on a purely autotroph species while competing for a shared resource. In addition, the autotroph can use an additional exclusive food source. By changing the relative abundance of shared vs. exclusive food source, we shift the food web motif from an intraguild predation motif to a food chain motif. We analyzed the dependence of system dynamics on absolute and relative resource availability. In general, the system exhibits a transition from stable to oscillatory dynamics with increasing nutrient availability. However, this transition occurs at a much lower nutrient level for the food chain in comparison to the intraguild predation motif. A similar transition is also observed with variations in the relative abundance of food sources for a range of nutrient levels. We expect this shift in food web motifs to occur frequently in microbial communities and therefore the results from our study are highly relevant for natural systems.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-05-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1996-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kéfi, Sonia; Berlow, Eric L.; Wieters, Evie A.; Navarrete, Sergio A.; Petchey, Owe