Joint effects of climate warming and exotic litter (Eucalyptus globulus Labill.) on stream detritivore fitness and litter breakdown

Correa-Araneda, Francisco, Boyero, Luz, Figueroa, Ricardo, Sánchez, Carolina, Abdala, Roberto, Ruiz-Garcia, Antonio, and Graca, Manuel A.S. (2015) Joint effects of climate warming and exotic litter (Eucalyptus globulus Labill.) on stream detritivore fitness and litter breakdown. Aquatic Sciences, 77 (2). pp. 197-205.

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Joint effects of climate warming and other stressors are potentially complex and difficult to predict. In stream ecosystems, exotic riparian species have the potential to alter leaf-shredding detritivorous invertebrate assemblages and leaf litter breakdown due to differences in the quality of litter inputs. This is the case for Eucalyptus plantations, which are widespread, occurring along riparian corridors of streams around the world. We hypothesised that the presence of Eucalyptus globulus (Labill.) litter (1) impairs detritivore fitness both directly (i.e., through leaf consumption) and indirectly (i.e., through leaf leachates in the water) and (2) impairs litter breakdown, (3) with stronger effects at higher temperatures. We tested these hypotheses in microcosm experiments with two detritivore species from two locations: the stonefly Diamphipnosis samali (Illies, 1960) in Chile and the caddisfly Calamoceras marsupus (Brauer 1865) in Spain. Eucalyptus leaves affected detritivore growth mainly by direct consumption, while the presence of both Eucalyptus leaves and leachates inhibited the breakdown of native litter. When both litter types were available, breakdown of Eucalyptus leaves was enhanced, possibly as a means of compensatory feeding. Increased temperature exacerbated the negative effect of Eucalyptus on native litter breakdown, possibly because it reduced detritivore survival. Our results add to the mounting evidence that joint effects of multiple stressors can be non-additive, and suggest that the sole presence of Eucalyptus leaves and leachates in the water may impact stream communities and ecosystem functions even if native litter is available, with further negative effects to be expected under a warmer climate.

Item ID: 42034
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1420-9055
Keywords: climate change, exotic species, leaf litter breakdown, leaf-shredding detritivores, riparian vegetation, stream ecosystems, temperature
Projects and Grants: MINECO grant no. CGL2010-16285, FONDAP CHRHIAM 1513001, CONAF 035-2010
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 18:22
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960807 Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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