High within‐stream replication is needed to predict litter fluxes in wet–dry tropical streams

Tonin, Alan M., Boyero, Luz, Bambi, Paulino, Pearson, Richard, Correa-Araneda, Francisco, and Goncalves, José (2020) High within‐stream replication is needed to predict litter fluxes in wet–dry tropical streams. Freshwater Biology, 65 (4). pp. 688-697.

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Streams draining forested landscapes are fuelled by terrestrial plant litter, which can be transported downstream or retained and broken down locally. However, fluxes of plant litter in streams can vary at multiple spatio‐temporal scales, affecting the availability of this key resource in heterotrophic stream food webs. To explore this question we quantified several processes related to litter dynamics (i.e. litter inputs, storage, losses by transport and losses by breakdown) by sampling litter at multiple sites in three streams of the Brazilian Cerrado biome (which has a tropical wet–dry climate) for 2 years. We assessed the relative contribution of different spatial (among and within streams) and temporal scales (annual, seasonal and monthly) to total variability of these processes (hereafter fluxes). Spatial and temporal variability of fluxes were both high, but spatial variation was 1.67‐fold greater than temporal variation (61 versus 37%, respectively), especially at the within‐stream scale (50% overall); an exception was litterfall, which varied less spatially than temporally (24 versus 76%). Temporal variation of litter storage (and hence availability to consumers) was mostly seasonal and due to differences in net transport. Inputs and transport were higher in the wet than the dry season (wet versus dry season, 1.45 versus 0.92 and 1.43 versus 0.06 g litter m−2 day−1), while breakdown was similar between both seasons (0.88 versus 0.94 g litter m−2 day−1). Storage (i.e. accumulation) rate was positive and negative in the dry and wet season, respectively, indicating that litter was stored in the dry season and exported in the wet season. The transitional dry–wet season showed the highest inputs, breakdown and storage (3.21, 1.63 g litter m−2 day−1 and 145 g litter m−2), while the wet–dry season showed lower inputs (as in the dry season), higher transport (as in the wet season) and lower breakdown and storage than the other seasons (0.93, 0.65, 0.31 g litter m−2 day−1 and 24 g litter m−2). Our results underscore the role of variation in biophysical drivers of litter fluxes within streams (e.g. pool–riffle configuration, substrate features, biological communities), and suggest that high within‐stream replication is necessary to study litter fluxes at larger scales and over time. The seasonal patterns suggested potential changes in litter dynamics under future climate scenarios in the tropics, including increased storage due to reduced transport in a drier climate.

Item ID: 67651
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2427
Copyright Information: © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Funders: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) PVE
Projects and Grants: CNPq PQ-302957/2014-6, MCTI/CNPq/Universal-471767/2013-1, MCTI/CNPq/Universal-477545/2010-6, MCTI/PELD/CNPq-558233/2009-0, CAPES/PNADB-1098/2010, PROCAD-NF/CAPES-173/2010, PROCAD-NF/ CAPES-296/2010
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 00:50
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180303 Fresh, ground and surface water biodiversity @ 100%
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