Browsing All Posts filed under »food webs«

Restoration and invertebrates: Reappraising stream condition indicators

September 25, 2017

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In degraded rivers and stream systems, the replanting of riparian vegetation is a common restoration activity, partly because increases in shading, nutrient interception and litter fall are expected to provide food and habitat benefits for aquatic communities. Changed habitat conditions should be reflected in indices of stream condition, such as those based on macroinvertebrate richness. […]

Mosquitofish threaten frogs

September 25, 2017

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The mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki, is one of the most invasive freshwater fish species in the world.  Although it’s been widely introduced for mosquito control, it has a broad diet that includes algae, higher plants, detritus, invertebrates and fish.  As a result, the species has negative predatory and competitive effects on native fish.   Although declines in […]

How cell size affects algal chemicals

September 25, 2017

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The chemical composition of microalgae – organisms such as green algae, diatoms and dinoflagellates – influences their food web interactions and the way they compete for nutrients, as well as their suitability for human exploitation in the form of biofuels, nutraceuticals and aquaculture feeds.   Because microalgae cover a wide range of cell sizes (less than […]

Coarse, shallow and wooden… but useful nonetheless

June 19, 2017

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Coarse woody debris (CWD) derived from shoreline trees provides an important, spatially complex habitat and a food source for lake-dwelling organisms. Here are some interesting facts about lake CWD, taken from a recent review paper: In the absence of the physical action of flowing water, CWD breaks down more slowly in lakes than in streams. […]

Human impacts on ecological connectivity

June 19, 2017

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Ecological connectivity – the exchange of organisms between habitat patches or subpopulations – has an influence on many key processes, including population dynamics, nutrient flux, disease transmission, species invasions, food-web interactions, genetic isolation and the maintenance of biodiversity. A recent study reviewed ways in which graph theory has been used to investigate how human activities […]

How big is a food patch?

June 19, 2017

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Most studies of food patch choice by foraging animals have assumed that the patches in question are separate and well-defined. However, in many cases, predators feed in continuous habitats without obvious, discrete patches, and researchers are forced to choose an arbitrary spatial scale when calculating prey densities and interpreting the impacts of predators. An important […]

Herbivory is important in freshwater systems

March 27, 2017

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Until the 1990s it was believed that, in the main, freshwater and marine plants were connected to aquatic food webs only indirectly, through the breakdown of decaying vegetation by decomposers. However, over the last two decades there’s been a growing realisation that the activities of aquatic herbivores in consuming plants and channeling the derived nutrients […]