Mobile piscivores and the nature of top-down forcing in Upper Amazonian floodplain lakes

Terborgh, John, and Davenport, Lisa (2021) Mobile piscivores and the nature of top-down forcing in Upper Amazonian floodplain lakes. Hydrobiologia, 848 (2). pp. 431-443.

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Abstract

Shallow lakes can change states in response to manipulations of top predators. In most reported experiments, the top piscivore has been a fish. However, low-latitude lakes typically support non-piscine piscivores, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. The roles of these groups have been little investigated, and whether they are more important as piscivores than fish remains unknown. We report both a longitudinal (2001–2018) and a cross-sectional (2012) study of the bird, caiman, and giant otter populations of floodplain lakes in Perú’s Manu National Park. We compare the three groups, after removing the effects of taxonomic status and body mass, using allometric equations to estimate the field metabolic rate (FMR) for each group in each lake. Giant otters emerge as the dominant piscivore in lakes that support a resident family, with an energy requirement more than twice that of piscivorous birds and more than seven times that of caiman. However, giant otters were resident in only eight of 27 surveyed lakes. Indirect evidence suggests that these eight lakes are more productive than lakes not occupied by otters. The fact that lakes occupied by otters are dominated by phytoplankton suggests an underlying five-tiered trophic structure in keeping with the prominence of alternating levels in the structure of food webs.

Item ID: 66980
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5117
Keywords: Amazon, Birds, Caiman, Floodplain lakes, Giant otter, Lake type, Perú, Piscivores, Predation
Copyright Information: © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2022 22:41
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Last 12 Months: 1
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