The effect of forest canopy and flood disturbance on New Zealand stream food web structure and robustness

Canning, A.D., Death, R.G., and Gardner, E.M. (2017) The effect of forest canopy and flood disturbance on New Zealand stream food web structure and robustness. Austral Ecology, 43 (3). pp. 352-358.

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Abstract

The effects of disturbance on communities have been a focus of both theoretical and empirical inquiries for many years. Food web stability is hypothesized to be affected by disturbance and the nature of the energy pathways (i.e. allochthonous or autochthonous) of a community. In this study, we investigated whether food webs at paired sites, one in forest and the other in grassland, in ten New Zealand streams along a disturbance gradient differ in their topological structure and robustness. Food web robustness (an indicator of web resistance) assesses the ease with which secondary extinctions permeate the food web following an initial random extinction (disturbance). We found that neither the nature of the energy source nor physical disturbance affected structural metrics or web robustness. As stream systems, particularly in New Zealand, are exposed to regular, unpredictable and dramatic physical disturbance from flooding, it may simply be that the floods result in generalist species dominating and increasing robustness irrespective of the energy source.

Item ID: 64196
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: allochthonous, disturbance, food web, riparian, robustness, stability, stream.
Copyright Information: © 2017 Ecological Society of Australia
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2020 23:18
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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