Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Riparian plant species loss alters trophic dynamics in detritus-based stream ecosystems

Abstract

Riparian vegetation is closely connected to stream food webs through input of leaf detritus as a primary energy supply, and therefore, any alteration of plant diversity may influence aquatic ecosystem functioning. We measured leaf litter breakdown rate and associated biological parameters in mesh bags in eight headwater streams bordered either with mixed deciduous forest or with beech forest. The variety of leaf litter types in mixed forest results in higher food quality for large-particle invertebrate detritivores (‘shredders’) than in beech forest, which is dominated by a single leaf species of low quality. Breakdown rate of low quality (oak) leaf litter in coarse mesh bags was lower in beech forest streams than in mixed forest streams, a consequence of lower shredder biomass. In contrast, high quality (alder) leaf litter broke down at similar rates in both stream categories as a result of similar shredder biomass in coarse mesh bags. Microbial breakdown rate of oak and alder leaves, determined in fine mesh bags, did not differ between the stream categories. We found however aquatic hyphomycete species richness on leaf litter to positively co-vary with riparian plant species richness. Fungal species richness may enhance leaf litter breakdown rate through positive effects on resource quality for shredders. A feeding experiment established a positive relationship between fungal species richness per se and leaf litter consumption rate by an amphipod shredder (Gammarus fossarum). Our results show therefore that plant species richness may indirectly govern ecosystem functioning through complex trophic interactions. Integrating microbial diversity and trophic dynamics would considerably improve the prediction of the consequences of species loss.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. APHA (American Public Health Association) (1989) Standard methods for examination of water and wastewater, 17th edn. American Public Health Association, Washington DC

  2. Arsuffi TL, Suberkropp K (1984) Leaf processing capabilities of aquatic hyphomycetes: interspecific differences and influence on shredder feeding preferences. Oikos 42:144–154

  3. Arsuffi TL, Suberkropp K (1988) Effects of fungal mycelia and enzymatically degraded leaves on feeding and performance of caddisfly (Trichoptera) larvae. J N Am Benthol Soc 7:205–211

  4. Bandoni RJ (1981) Aquatic hyphomycetes from terrestrial litter. In: Wicklow OT, Carroll GC (eds) The fungal community: its organization and role in the ecosystem. Marcel Dekker, New York

  5. Bärlocher F (1992) Community organization. In: Bärlocher F (ed) The ecology of aquatic hyphomycetes. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 38–76

  6. Bärlocher F, Corkum M (2003) Nutrient enrichment overwhelms diversity effects in leaf decomposition by stream fungi. Oikos 101:247–252

  7. Bärlocher F, Graça MAS (2002) Exotic riparian vegetation lowers fungal diversity but not leaf decomposition in Portuguese streams. Freshwat Biol 47:1123–1136

  8. Bärlocher F, Kendrick B (1973) Fungi and food preferences of Gammarus pseudolimnaeus. Arch Hydrobiol 72:501–516

  9. Bärlocher F, Kendrick B (1975) Leaf-conditioning by microorganisms. Oecologia 20:359–362

  10. Boulton AJ, Boon PI (1991) A review of methodology used to measure leaf litter decomposition in lotic environments: time to turn over an old leaf? Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 42:1–43

  11. Canhoto C, Graça MAS (1995) Food value of introduced eucalypt leaves for Mediterranean stream detritivore: Tipula lateralis. Freshwat Biol 34:209–214

  12. Cargill ASI, Cummins KW, Hanson BJ, Lowry RR (1985) The role of lipids as feeding stimulant for shredding aquatic insects. Freshwat Biol 15:455–464

  13. Chamier A-C (1985) Cell-wall-degrading enzymes of aquatic hyphomycetes: a review. Bot J Lin Soc 91:67–81

  14. Chapin FS, Zavaleta ES, Eviner VT, Naylor RL, Vitousek PM, Reynolds HL, Hooper DU, Lavorel S, Sala OE, Hobbie SE, Mack MC, Diaz S (2000) Consequences of changing biodiversity. Nature 480:234–242

  15. Chauvet E, Suberkropp K (1998) Temperature and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes. Appl Environ Microbiol 64:1522–1525

  16. Cummins KW, Wilzbach MA, Gates DM, Perry JB, Taliaferro WB (1989) Shredders and riparian vegetation. Bioscience 39:24–30

  17. Felten V (2003) Effets de l’acidification des ruisseaux vosgiens sur la biologie, l’écologie et l’écophysiologie de Gammarus fossarum Koch, 1835 (Crustacea Amphipoda): Approche intégrée à différents niveaux d’organisation. Ph-D Thesis, University of Metz

  18. Fisher PJ, Petrini O, Webster J (1991) Aquatic hyphomycetes and other fungi in living aquatic and terrestrial roots of Alnus glutinosa. Mycol Res 95:543–547

  19. Friberg N, Larsen AD, Rodkaer A, Thomsen AG (2002) Shredder guilds in three Danish forest streams contrasting in forest type. Arch Hydrobiol 153:197–215

  20. Gessner MO, Bärlocher F, Chauvet E (2003) Biomass, growth and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes. In: Tsui CKM, Hyde KD (eds) Freshwater mycology. Fungal diversity Press, Hong Kong, pp 127–157

  21. Gessner MO, Chauvet E (1994) Importance of stream microfungi in controlling breakdown rates of leaf litter. Ecology 75:1807–1817

  22. Gessner MO, Schmitt AL (1996) Use of solid-phase extraction to determine ergosterol concentrations in plant tissue colonized by fungi. Appl Environ Microbiol 62:415–419

  23. Gjerløv C, Richardson JS (2004) Patchy resources in a heterogeneous environment: effects of leaf litter and forest cover on colonisation patterns of invertebrates in a British Columbian stream. Arch Hydrobiol 161:307–327

  24. González JM, Graça MAS (2003) Conversion of leaf litter to secondary production by a shredding caddis-fly. Freshwat Biol 48:1578–1592

  25. Graça MAS (2001) The role of invertebrate on leaf litter decomposition in streams — a Review. Int Rev Hydrobiol 86:383–393

  26. Graça MAS, Maltby L, Calow P (1993a) Importance of fungi in the diet of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus. I: feeding strategies. Oecologia 93:139–144

  27. Graça MAS, Maltby L, Calow P (1993b) Importance of fungi in the diet of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus. II: Effects on growth, reproduction and physiology. Oecologia 96:304–309

  28. Gulis V (2001) Are there any substrate preferences in aquatic hyphomycetes? Mycol Res 105:1088–1093

  29. Hieber M, Gessner MO (2002) Contribution of stream detritivores, fungi, and bacteria to leaf breakdown based on biomass estimates. Ecology 83:1026–1038

  30. Hölscher D, Hertel D, Koenies H (2002) Soil nutrient supply and biomass production in a mixed forest on a skeleton-rich soil and an adjacent beech forest. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 165:668–674

  31. Hooper DU, Bignell DE, Brown VK, Brussaard L, Dangerfield JM, Wall DH, Wardle DA, Coleman DC, Giller KE, Lavelle P, Van der Putten WH, de Ruiter PC, Rusek J, Silver WL, Tiedge JM, Wolters V (2000) Interaction between aboveground and belowground biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems: patterns, mechanisms, and feedbacks. Bioscience 50:1049–1061

  32. Jonsson M, Malmqvist B, Hoffsten PO (2001) Leaf litter breakdown rates in boreal streams: does shredder species richness matter? Freshwat Biol 46:161–171

  33. Jonsson M, Malmqvist B (2000) Ecosystem process rate increases with animal species richness: evidence from leaf-eating, aquatic insects. Oikos 89:519–523

  34. Kowalski T, Kehr RD (1996) Fungal endophytes of living branch bases in several European tree species. In: Redlin SC, Carris LM (eds) Endophytic fungi in grasses and woody plants: systematics, ecology and evolution. APS Press, St Paul Minnesota, pp 67–86

  35. Laitung B, Chauvet E (2005) Vegetation diversity increases species richness of leaf decaying fungal communities in woodland streams. Arch Hydrobiol (in press)

  36. Laitung B, Pretty JL, Chauvet E, Dobson M (2002) Response of aquatic hyphomycete communities to enhanced stream retention in areas impacted by commercial forestry. Freshwat Biol 47:313–324

  37. Loreau M (2001) Microbial diversity, producer–decomposer interactions and ecosystem processes: a theoretical model. Proc R Soc Lond B 268:303–309

  38. Loreau M, Naeem S, Inchausti P (eds) (2002) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: synthesis and perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford United Kingdom

  39. Motomizu S, Wakimoto T, Toei K (1983) Spectrophotometric determination of phosphate in river waters with molybdate and malachite green. Analyst 108:361–367

  40. Petersen RC, Cummins KW (1974) Leaf processing in a woodland stream. Freshwat Biol 4:343–368

  41. Petrini O (1996) Ecological and physiological aspects of host-specificity in endophytic fungi. In: Redlin SC, Carris LM (eds) Endophytic fungi in grasses and woody plants: systematics, ecology and evolution. APS Press, St Paul Minnesota, pp 87–100

  42. Polis GA, Anderson WB, Holt RD (1997) Toward an integration of landscape and food web ecology: the dynamics of spatially subsidized food webs. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 28:289–316

  43. Pimm SL, Russel GJ, Gittleman JL, Brooks TM (1995) The future of biodiversity. Science 269:347–350

  44. Pringle CM, Naiman RJ, Bretschko G, Karr JR, Oswood MW, Webster JR, Welcomme RL, Winterbourn MJ (1988) Patch dynamics in lotic systems: the stream as a mosaic. J N Am Benthol Soc 7:503–524

  45. Raffaelli D, van der Putten WH, Persson L, Wardle DA, Petchey OL, Koricheva J, van der Heijden M, Mikola J, Kennedy T (2002) Multi-trophic dynamics and ecosystem processes. In: Loreau M, Naeem S, Inchausti P (eds) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: synthesis and perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp 147–154

  46. Rowe L, Richardson JS (2001) Community responses to experimental food depletion: resource tracking by stream invertebrates. Oecologia 129:473–480

  47. Scheu S, Simmberling F (2004) Growth and reproduction of fungal feeding Collembola as affected by fungal species, melanin and mixed diets. Oecologia 139: 347–353

  48. Shannon CE (1948) A mathematical theory of communication. ATT Tech J 27:379–423

  49. Sridhar KR, Bärlocher F (1992) Endophytic aquatic hyphomycetes of roots of spruce, birch and maple. Mycol Res 96:305–308

  50. Sridhar KR, Krauss G, Bärlocher F, Raviraja NS, Wennrich R, Baumbach R, Krauss GJ (2001) Decomposition of alder leaves in two heavy metal-polluted streams in central Germany. Aquat Microb Ecol 26:73–80

  51. StatSoft (2001) STATISTICA (data analysis software system). Version 6. www.statsoft.com

  52. Stout BM, Benfield EF, Webster JR (1993) Effects of a forest disturbance on shredder production in southern Appalachian headwater streams. Freshwat Biol 29:59–69

  53. Suberkropp K (1991) Relationships between growth and sporulation of aquatic hyphomycetes on decomposing leaf litter. Mycol Res 95:843–850

  54. Suberkropp K (1992) Interaction with invertebrates. In: Bärlocher F (ed) (1992) The ecology of aquatic hyphomycetes. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 118–134

  55. Suberkropp K (2003) Methods for examining interactions between freshwater fungi and macroinvertebrates. In: Tsui CKM, Hyde KD (eds) Freshwater mycology. Fungal diversity Press, Hong Kong, pp 159–171

  56. Swan CM, Palmer MA (2004) Leaf diversity alters litter breakdown in a piedmont stream. J N Am Benthol Soc 23:15–28

  57. Tachet H, Bournand M, Richoux P, Usseglio-Polatera P (eds) (2000) Invertébrés d’eau douce. CNRS Publishers, Paris

  58. Thébault E, Loreau M (2003) Food web constraints on biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:14949–14954

  59. Thioulouse J, Chessel D, Dolédec S, Olivier JM (1997) ADE-4: a multivariate analysis and graphical display software. Stat Comput 7:75–83

  60. Treton C, Chauvet E, Charcosset JY (2004) Competitive interaction between two aquatic hyphomycete species and increase in leaf litter breakdown. Microb Ecol 48:439–446

  61. Vannote RL, Minshall GW, Cummins JR, Sedell JR, Cushing CE (1980) The river continuum concept. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 37:130–137

  62. Wallace JB, Eggert SL, Meyer JL, Webster JR (1997) Multiple trophic levels of a forest stream linked to terrestrial inputs. Science 277:102–104

  63. Ward GM, Cummins KW (1979) Effect of food quality on growth of a stream detritivore, Paratendipes albimanus (Meigen) (Diptera: Chironomidae). Ecology 60:57–64

  64. Webster JR, Benfield EF (1986) Vascular plant breakdown in freshwater ecosystems. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 17:567–594

  65. Wright DH (1983) Species-energy theory: an extension of species-area theory. Oikos 41:496–506

  66. Yanoviak SP (1999) Effects of leaf litter species on macroinvertebrate community properties and mosquito yield in Neotropical tree hole microcosms. Oecologia 120:147–155

  67. Zhang Y, Negishi JN, Richardson JS, Kolodziejczyk R (2003) Impact of marine-derived nutrients on stream ecosystem functioning. Proc R Soc Lond B 270:2117–2123

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the European Commission through the Framework 5 programme (Rivfunction: contract EVK1-CT-2001-00088) and the French national programme ECOFOR “Ecosystèmes forestiers. Biodiversité et Gestion forestière”. We thank S. Millot, D. Lambrigot and J.-Y. Charcosset for their technical assistance. We are grateful to three anonymous referees for their useful suggestions and to M.O. Gessner for his helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Antoine Lecerf.

Additional information

Communicated by Roland Brandl

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lecerf, A., Dobson, M., Dang, C.K. et al. Riparian plant species loss alters trophic dynamics in detritus-based stream ecosystems. Oecologia 146, 432–442 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-005-0212-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • Trophic interactions
  • Microbial diversity
  • Ecosystem functioning
  • Shredders
  • Leaf litter breakdown