The influence of nutrient enrichment on riverine food web function and stability

Canning, Adam D., and Death, Russell G. (2021) The influence of nutrient enrichment on riverine food web function and stability. Ecology and Evolution, 11 (4). pp. 942-954.

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Nutrient enrichment of rivers and lakes has been increasing rapidly over the past few decades, primarily because of agricultural intensification. Although nutrient enrichment is known to drive excessive algal and microbial growth, which can directly and indirectly change the ecological community composition, the resulting changes in food web emergent properties are poorly understood. We used ecological network analysis (ENA) to examine the emergent properties of 12 riverine food webs across a nutrient enrichment gradient in the Manawatu, New Zealand. We also derive Keystone Sensitivity Indices to explore whether nutrients change the trophic importance of species in a way that alters the resilience of the communities to further nutrient enrichment or floods. Nutrient enrichment resulted in communities composed of energy inefficient species with high community (excluding microbes) respiration. Community respiration was several times greater in enriched communities, and this may drive hypoxic conditions even without concomitant changes in microbial respiration. Enriched communities exhibited weaker trophic cascades, which may yield greater robustness to energy flow loss. Interestingly, enriched communities were also more structurally and functionally affected by species sensitive to flow disturbance making these communities more vulnerable to floods.

Item ID: 65674
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Keywords: ecological network, energy flow, food web, indirect effects, mutualism, nutrients, productivity, respiration, river, stability
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2020 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 04:53
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 > 410203 Ecosystem function @ 34%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960807 Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961103 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments (excl. Urban and @ 34%
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