Consequences of inferring diet from feeding guilds when estimating and interpreting consumer-resource stoichiometry

Lauridsen, Rasmus B.; Edwards, Francois K.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Woodward, Guy; Hildrew, Alan G.; Jones, J. Iwan. 2014 Consequences of inferring diet from feeding guilds when estimating and interpreting consumer-resource stoichiometry. Freshwater Biology, 59 (7). 1497-1508.

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1. Imbalances between the supply of elements from resources and their demand from consumers may constrain key ecological processes, such as growth and production. Most previous studies have estimated such stoichiometric imbalances between consumers and resources by inferring the diet of the former from functional classifications rather than by direct assessments of the diet. However, this does not allow for potentially plastic responses of consumers to a restricted supply of elemental resources. 2. Here, for three streams of very contrasting nutrient availability, we calculated elemental imbalances between consumers and resources using diets derived from empirical gut contents analysis and compared them with those inferred for the functional feeding guilds of the species concerned. 3. In almost every case, elemental imbalances (C:P and N:P) based on the realised diet differed significantly from those expected from the inferred diet, the former revealing greater alignment between the elemental composition of consumers and their resources, particularly for P. 4. Simply inferring the diet, as is commonly done, results in erroneous estimates of elemental imbalances and misleading conclusions about stoichiometric constraints on consumers

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 2 - Ecological Processes in the Environment > BD - 2.1 - Interactions ... structure ecosystems and their functioning
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.4 - Quantify the importance of food web structure and trophic interactions ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
ISSN: 0046-5070
Additional Keywords: elemental constraints, elemental regulation, functional classification, gut contents, stoichiometric imbalances
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 27 Mar 2014 12:21 +0 (UTC)

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