Food web structure but not robustness differ between rivers, lakes and estuaries

Canning, Adam Douglas, and Death, Russell George (2019) Food web structure but not robustness differ between rivers, lakes and estuaries. Oecologia Australis, 23 (1). pp. 112-126.

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Abstract

The pervading physical habitat differences between lakes, rivers, and estuaries should result in structural and thus stability differences in food webs in these three different aquatic habitats. We compared 24 metrics of food web structure and the robustness to loss of both well-connected and random species of 18 well-resolved food webs from six lakes, six rivers, and six estuaries. Robustness measures the proportion of species that need to be removed for 50% of all species to be lost/disconnected. Riverine food webs had lower neighborhood clustering and greater variability in prey vulnerability than estuaries and lakes. Typically, rivers experience physical disturbance relatively more frequently and with greater severity than estuaries and lakes. Disturbance may drive rivers to have lower clustering and have greater proportions of early successional taxa that are mobile and have little armor, and hence greater variability in their vulnerability to predation. Despite the observed differences in food web structure, these did not drive differences in modelled food web robustness between the three habitats. Similarities in robustness may be a result of freshwater organisms having similar body-size ratios between predator and prey/resource taxa thereby driving similar link distributions.

Item ID: 64192
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2177-6199
Keywords: allometric scaling; aquatic ecosystem; clustering coefficient; ecological networks; stability
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2020 01:53
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 33%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 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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