Aquatic hyphomycetes, benthic macroinvertebrates and leaf litter decomposition in streams naturally differing in riparian vegetation

Ferreira, Veronica, Castela, José, Rosa, Paulo, Tonin, Alan Mosele, Boyero, Luz, and Graça, Manuel (2016) Aquatic hyphomycetes, benthic macroinvertebrates and leaf litter decomposition in streams naturally differing in riparian vegetation. Aquatic Ecology, 50 (4). pp. 711-725.

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Abstract

Small forest streams and their riparian vegetation are closely linked ecosystems. Stream consumers obtain most of their energy from leaf litter provided by the terrestrial vegetation. Thus, understanding the relationship between riparian vegetation, aquatic communities and litter decomposition may help explaining the variability in aquatic communities and processes among non-impacted streams, and anticipate their responses to anthropogenic-induced changes in the riparian vegetation. We surveyed 10 small non-impacted forest streams in central Portugal for riparian vegetation (species richness), benthic litter (species richness and biomass), aquatic hyphomycete conidia in transport (species richness and conidia concentration) and macroinvertebrates associated with benthic litter (taxon richness, density and biomass), during the litter fall peak. We found significant correlations between (a) aquatic communities and riparian vegetation species richness, (b) aquatic communities and benthic litter species richness and biomass and (c) within aquatic communities. Oak litter decomposition rates (from a previous experiment on the same streams) were also correlated with riparian tree species richness. This survey showed that spatial variability in riparian vegetation, benthic litter, aquatic communities and litter decomposition can be high even within a relatively small area, and allowed the identification of complex interactions between these components of the aquatic detrital food web. The positive correlation between aquatic hyphomycete species richness, macroinvertebrate taxon richness, litter decomposition and riparian tree species richness suggests that anthropogenic-induced decreases in riparian species richness may affect aquatic communities and processes. Surveys over streams naturally differing in environmental conditions may allow forecasting the response of aquatic communities and processes to anthropogenic activities.

Item ID: 47133
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5125
Keywords: deciduous vegetation, forest streams, litter breakdown, litter processing
Funders: Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration (NGS-CRE)
Projects and Grants: FCT strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2013, NGS-CRE project 7980-06, FCT SFRH/BPD/34368/2006 program POPH/FSE, FCT IF/00129/2014
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2017 07:42
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 100%
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