Forest canopy affects stream macroinvertebrate assemblage structure but not trophic stability

Canning, Adam D., Death, Russell G., and Gardner, Erna M. (2019) Forest canopy affects stream macroinvertebrate assemblage structure but not trophic stability. Freshwater Science, 38 (1). pp. 40-52.

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Understanding the determinates of community structure and function is a central theme in community ecology. The form in which energy is supplied to foodwebs can strongly influence community structure and function. Trophic stability is also thought to be affected by the nature of food web energy pathways and whether they are external (allochthonous) or internal (autochthonous) to the ecosystem. In this study, we assessed whether stream invertebrate assemblages differ in taxonomic composition, energetic network structure, trophic network stability, and assemblage temporal variability based on whether the streams they occupy occur under forested canopies or in open grasslands. We assumed that forested sites would receive more allochthonous inputs, whereas grassland sites would rely more on autochthonous resources. We also tested whether food web stability (robustness, the conservation of energy flow) changed after simulated species extinctions. We found that the forest stream assemblages were dominated by filter feeders and shredders, whereas the grassland assemblages were dominated by grazers. In spite of these differences in assemblage composition, we found no significant differences in trophic network structure, stability, or temporal variability among different site types. Many stream systems, particularly in mountainous areas, such as New Zealand, are exposed to regular and large physical disturbance from flooding, which may result in assemblages with similarly generic diets irrespective of the energy source.

Item ID: 64191
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2161-9565
Keywords: riparian, stability, macroinvertebrate, community, stream, land use, allochthonous, autochthonous, robustness, trophic network
Copyright Information: © 2019 by The Society for Freshwater Science. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial reuse of the work with attribution. For commercial use, contact
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 01:38
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 33%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) @ 33%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410299 Ecological applications not elsewhere classified @ 34%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961302 Protected Conservation Areas in Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 50%
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