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Food-web composition affects cross-ecosystem interactions and subsidies
  • Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
  • Univ British Columbia
  • Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)
  • Killam Faculty Research Award
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Sponsorship Process Number: 
  • FAPESP: 04/13658-5
  • FAPESP: 05/51421-0
P>1. Ecosystems may affect each other through trophic interactions that cross ecosystem boundaries as well as via the transfer of subsidies, but these effects can vary depending on the identity of species involved in the interaction.2. In this study, we manipulated two terrestrial bromeliad-living spider species (Aglaoctenus castaneus, Corinna gr. rubripes) that have variable hunting modes, to test their individual and combined effects on aquatic invertebrate community structure and ecosystem processes (i.e. decomposition rate and nitrogen cycling). We predicted that these terrestrial predators can affect aquatic invertebrates and nutrient dynamics within water-filled bromeliads.3. Aglaoctenus spiders reduced the richness, abundance and biomass of aquatic insect larvae via consumptive or non-consumptive effects on ovipositing terrestrial adults, but effects of the two spider species in combination were usually the linear average of their monoculture effects. In contrast, invertebrates with entirely aquatic life cycles were unaffected or facilitated by spiders. Spiders did not affect either net detritivore biomass or the flux of detrital nitrogen to the bromeliad. Instead, Corinna spiders contributed allochthonous nitrogen to bromeliads.4. Our results provide the novel observations that predators in one ecosystem not only directly reduce taxa whose life cycles cross-ecosystem boundaries, but also indirectly facilitate taxa whose life cycles are entirely within the second ecosystem. This compensatory response between cross-ecosystem and within-ecosystem taxa may have led to an attenuation of top-down effects across ecosystem boundaries. In addition, our results add to a growing consensus that species identity is an important determinant of community structure and ecosystem functioning. Thus, the composition of both terrestrial and aquatic food webs may affect the strength of cross-ecosystem interactions.
Issue Date: 
Journal of Animal Ecology. Malden: Wiley-blackwell, v. 79, n. 5, p. 1122-1131, 2010.
Time Duration: 
  • allochthonous subsides
  • density compensation
  • ecosystem functioning
  • Indirect facilitation
  • predator hunting mode
Access Rights: 
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Appears in Collections:Artigos, TCCs, Teses e Dissertações da Unesp

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