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Food webs in streams: Energy and matter flow Lecture Outcomes F Name and describe a variety of stream organisms, their adaptations to feeding and their.

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Presentation on theme: "Food webs in streams: Energy and matter flow Lecture Outcomes F Name and describe a variety of stream organisms, their adaptations to feeding and their."— Presentation transcript:

1 Food webs in streams: Energy and matter flow Lecture Outcomes F Name and describe a variety of stream organisms, their adaptations to feeding and their role in energy flow in streams F Describe the various sources of energy in stream systems F Compare and contrast the processing of different organic matter fractions (DOM, CPOM and FPOM and primary production in stream food webs) Topics for week 7 Group 1- Mankind’s utilisation of running waters Group 2-Adaptations of organisms to lotic habitats Group 3-River regulation/Dam construction Group 4- Biodiversity in running waters Group 5-Acidification- causes and consequences

2 F Plecoptera Stoneflies. About 36 species in British Isles. Larval stage characterised by two long tails. Herbivore/carnivore. Live for one two three years F Odonata Dragonflies (Anisoptera) and damselflies (Zygoptera). About 38 species, 2 found in fast-flowing streams. Internal gills via anus! Extendible mandibles F Ephemeroptera Mayflies ca. 50 species. Occupy wide range of habitats, but species have particular requirements. Three tails and feather like gills. Adults do not feed. F Hemiptera (True bugs) Suborder Heteroptera. Pondskaters and waterstriders/ waterboatmen. Piercing mouthparts. F Megaloptera Alderflies. 3 species. Predators F Trichoptera Caddisflies. ~200 sp. Most live in transportable cases. 45 species are caseless caddis. Construct silk nets to trap food or silk galleries attached to rocks. Free-living predators. F Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) F Diptera Flies. about 6600 species in B. Isles. Craneflies (Tipulidae), mosquitos and midges (Chironomidae) F Coleoptera (beetles) e.g. Gyrinidae: Whirligig beetles- adults: surface prey

3 Organisms and food webs require energy: F Autotrophy grows on inorganic nutrients: CO 2 as carbon source F Heterotrophy requires organic nutrients: organic carbon source F At any one trophic level there are energy losses to the next trophic level due to efficiency of consumption, assimilation and production F However, we can also describe the flow of energy between trophic levels, and different compartments of ecosystems F When comparing other ecosystems to the stream ecosystems, we see a pronounced reliance on imports of organic matter to the stream F Autochthonous- o.m. from within stream primary production F Allochthonous- o.m. from outside stream system

4 Autotrophs and primary production F periphyton (epiphytic microbes), algae, bryophytes (moss) and macrophytes (flowering plants) F Primary production can be limited by  Light (diel variation, seasonal variation, shading by trees, turbidity)  Flow rate (influences turbidity)  Temperature  Grazing  Nutrient availability

5 Heterotrophic energy sources F CPOM: Coarse Particulate Organic Matter (>1 mm) needles and leaves (important input); death of stream macrophytes; woody debris; plant and animal parts availability of CPOM to stream is highly variable in time and space F FPOM: Fine Particulate Organic Matter (0.5  m to 5mm) Decay of CPOM (important input), faeces of consumers, microbial uptake of DOM, flocculation and adsorption of dissolved organic matter, sloughing of algae, sloughing of organic layers, litter and soil, stream bank and channel. F Dissolved Organic Matter (less than 0.5  m) This is the largest pool of organic carbon in running waters. About % - identifiable molecules; remainder comprised of general categories such as fulvic and humic acids of little biol. importance Groundwater (important input), leachate from terrestrial detritus (important input), throughfall, extracellular release and leachate from both algae and macrophytes; excreted by consumers, and released by bacterial decomposition.

6 How are these energy sources (DOM, FPOM, CPOM) incorporated and utilised ? 1. Microbial Loop 2. DOM food web 3. CPOM food web 4. FPOM food web F DOM (largest pool of organic carbon) uptake and assimilation into microbial biomass abiotic process of flocculation and adsorption  FPOM may form aggregates around bubbles  FPOM –e.g. waterfalls +66% F DOM (contd) : Microbial Loop (plays a role in the incorporation of DOM into microbial biomass on benthic layers) gelatinous polysaccharide matrix secreted by microbes forms organic ‘biofilm’ on benthic surfaces binds algae, bacteria, fungi, detrital particles, exudates, enzymes nad metabolic products can be major transformers of energy and matter extent of contribution to consumer food webs can be important (but is site-dependent)

7 CPOM F e.g. needles, leaves, macrophytes, twigs, branches, berries, dead animals etc F most representative and researched topic  leaves F Breakdown rate of leaves (6weeks to 6 months) largely controlled by : substrate type (C:N), CPOM size, feeding activity, environmental factors breakdown rate largely controlled by above factors, there are three important phases in a sequence of events in decomposition process : –Rapid leaching –Microbial colonisation and decomposition –Mechanical and biological fragmentation F Prefer leaves that have been conditioned by microbial colonisation (autoclave/antibiotic/normal), and are more nutritious (but dependent on fungi) F Mechanism of benefit ’ jam on a cracker’ 60% vs 20% assim. efficiency microbial catalysis makes leaf more digestible F But ingested microbial biomass- 10% that of leaf 70-90% of growth from leaf matrix probably depends on fungus, leaf and detritivore

8 F Shredders: within-guild variation in feeding some caddis: all parts of leaf some stonefly: avoid venation  mesophyll, cuticle and epidermal cells snails/Gammarus: softer tissues larger crustaceans: tear and engulf larger leaf bits F FPOM e.g. large fraction (  ?) of decay of CPOM  FPOM, production of faeces, flocculation and adsorption of DOM Relatively little is known about the fate of FPOM, although the qualitative pathway is known F Production of shredder faecal material correlated with collector ingestion. E.g. caddisfly (S)  50% input of blackfly (FC) F Blackfly (Simulium) can compact fine particles into larger faeces.

9 Summary F Lotic environments rely greatly on inputs of solid and dissolved organic matter (allochthanous) from the catchment. F Organic matter subdivided into DOM, FPOM and CPOM, and can vary greatly by type and size (from dissolved nutrients through organic particles to dead organisms). F There are specialised organisms and trophic pathways that utilise allochthanous matter as heterotrophic energy sources (e.g. leaf litter) F Classification of invertebrate consumers of streams has been useful for description and analysis. River size, hydrology and vegetation significantly influence which pathways dominate. Although these functional groups are working conveniences, they serve as very useful general descriptors. F NEXT WEEK: Floods and disturbances


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