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Landscape configuration alters spatial arrangement of terrestrial-aquatic subsidies in headwater streams


Little, Chelsea J; Altermatt, Florian (2018). Landscape configuration alters spatial arrangement of terrestrial-aquatic subsidies in headwater streams. Landscape Ecology, 33:1519-1531.

Abstract

Context: Freshwater ecosystems depend on surrounding terrestrial landscape for resources. Most important are terrestrial leaf litter subsidies, which differ depending on land use. We lack a good understanding of the variation of these inputs across spatial scales.
Objectives: We sought to determine: (1) the relative importance of local versus catchment-level forestation for benthic leaf litter biomass in streams, (2) how landscape configuration alters these relationships, and (3) how land use affects the quality and diversity of leaf litter subsidies.
Methods: We measured biomass and identity of benthic leaf litter in 121 reaches in 10 independent catchments seasonally over the course of a year. We assessed direct and indirect effects of forestation, reach position, and seasonality on leaf litter biomass using structural equation models, and assessed how leaf litter diversity varied with land use.
Results: In catchments with forested headwaters, the degree of forestation and reach position in the catchment influenced benthic leaf litter biomass indirectly through local reach-scale forestation. In catchments where forest was only located down-stream, or with minimal forest, none of these factors influenced reach-level benthic leaf litter. Leaf litter diversity peaked in fall in all land use types, but was generally lowest in forested reaches.
Conclusions: Not only habitat amount, but its location relative to other habitats is important for ecosystem function in the context of cross-ecosystem material flows. Here, lack of upstream forest altered spatial patterns of leaf litter storage. Studies with high spatiotemporal resolution may further reveal effects of landscape configuration on other ecosystems.

Abstract

Context: Freshwater ecosystems depend on surrounding terrestrial landscape for resources. Most important are terrestrial leaf litter subsidies, which differ depending on land use. We lack a good understanding of the variation of these inputs across spatial scales.
Objectives: We sought to determine: (1) the relative importance of local versus catchment-level forestation for benthic leaf litter biomass in streams, (2) how landscape configuration alters these relationships, and (3) how land use affects the quality and diversity of leaf litter subsidies.
Methods: We measured biomass and identity of benthic leaf litter in 121 reaches in 10 independent catchments seasonally over the course of a year. We assessed direct and indirect effects of forestation, reach position, and seasonality on leaf litter biomass using structural equation models, and assessed how leaf litter diversity varied with land use.
Results: In catchments with forested headwaters, the degree of forestation and reach position in the catchment influenced benthic leaf litter biomass indirectly through local reach-scale forestation. In catchments where forest was only located down-stream, or with minimal forest, none of these factors influenced reach-level benthic leaf litter. Leaf litter diversity peaked in fall in all land use types, but was generally lowest in forested reaches.
Conclusions: Not only habitat amount, but its location relative to other habitats is important for ecosystem function in the context of cross-ecosystem material flows. Here, lack of upstream forest altered spatial patterns of leaf litter storage. Studies with high spatiotemporal resolution may further reveal effects of landscape configuration on other ecosystems.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Land use, Leaf litter, Meta-ecosystem, Resource subsidies, River network, Terrestrial-aquatic linkages
Language:English
Date:September 2018
Deposited On:19 Sep 2018 13:54
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:37
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0921-2973
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-0678-0
Official URL:https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-018-0678-0
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_150698
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in dendritic networks: a meta-ecosystem perspective
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_179089
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: a meta-ecosystem perspective

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