Consumer-resource elemental imbalances in a nutrient rich stream

Lauridsen, Rasmus B.; Edwards, Francois K.; Bowes, Michael J.; Woodward, Guy; Hildrew, Alan G.; Ibbotson, Anton T.; Jones, John Iwan. 2012 Consumer-resource elemental imbalances in a nutrient rich stream. Freshwater Science, 31 (2). 408-422.

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Pronounced stoichiometric imbalances (CNP) between consumers and resources reported from nutrient-poor systems potentially constrain key ecological processes, but such imbalances should be less marked when more nutrients are available. In a headwater stream rich in nutrients (total P  =  208 µg/L; total oxidizable N  =  7 mg/L), we determined the elemental composition and standing stock of the consumer species and basal resources in relation to taxonomic identity, feeding mode, and season (spring and autumn). Compared with previous studies, basal resources had low elemental ratios (CN and CP), reflecting the high concentrations of inorganic nutrients in the water. Nevertheless, elemental imbalances were still evident between consumers and these basal resources, particularly for organisms feeding on detritus. Some of the variation in elemental ratios among consumers could be attributed to taxonomic identity. Furthermore, detritivores typically were depleted in N and P compared to taxonomically related species with different feeding modes. Elemental ratios of primary consumers differed between the 2 sampling occasions. Collector-gatherers and scrapers had lower CP and NP and shredders had higher CN in October than in May. Basal resources (fine and coarse particulate organic matter and periphyton) made up most of the standing stock of organic N and P, but quantities varied between May and October. The elemental composition of consumers of basal resources appeared to track changes in resource availability. Even with a plentiful supply of inorganic N and P available to primary producers, the availability of elements from food (a combination of quality and quantity) may influence the elemental composition of consumers.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
ISSN: 2161-9549
Additional Keywords: stoichiometry, detritus, functional feeding group, ecosystem, fresh water
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 05 Apr 2012 10:44 +0 (UTC)

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