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Stream ecosystem functioning in an agricultural landscape : the importance of terrestrial-aquatic linkages

Hladyz, Sally and Åbjörnsson, Kajsa and Chauvet, Eric and Dobson, Michael and Elosegi, Arturo and Ferreira, Verónica and Fleituch, Tadeusz and Gessner, Mark O. and Giller, Paul S. and Gulis, Vladislav and Hutton, Stephen A. and Lacoursiere, Jean O. and Lamothe, Sylvain and Lecerf, Antoine and Malmqvist, Björn and McKie, Brendan G. and Nistorescu, Marius and Preda, Elena and Riipinen, Miira P. and Risnoveanu, Geta and Schindler, Markus and Tiegs, Scott D. and Vought, Lena B.-M. and Woodward, Guy Stream ecosystem functioning in an agricultural landscape : the importance of terrestrial-aquatic linkages. (2011) In: Ecosystems in a human-modified landscape : a european perspective. (Advances in Ecological Research). Elsevier, London, UK, 211-276. ISBN 9780123747945

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-374794-5.00004-3


The loss of native riparian vegetation and its replacement with non-native species or grazing land for agriculture is a worldwide phenomenon, but one that is prevalent in Europe, reflecting the heavily-modified nature of the continent's landscape. The consequences of these riparian alterations for freshwater ecosystems remain largely unknown, largely because bioassessment has traditionally focused on the impacts of organic pollution on community structure. We addressed the need for a broader perspective, which encompasses changes at the catchment scale, by comparing ecosystem processes in woodland reference sites with those with altered riparian zones. We assessed a range of riparian modifications, including clearance for pasture and replacement of woodland with a range of low diversity plantations, in 100 streams to obtain a continental-scale perspective of the major types of alterations across Europe. Subsequently, we focused on pasture streams, as an especially prevalent widespread riparian alteration, by characterising their structural (e.g. invertebrate and fish communities) and functional (e.g. litter decomposition, algal production, herbivory) attributes in a country (Ireland) dominated by this type of landscape modification, via field and laboratory experiments. We found that microbes became increasingly important as agents of decomposition relative to macrofauna (invertebrates) in impacted sites in general and in pasture streams in particular. Resource quality of grass litter (e.g., carbon : nutrient ratios, lignin and cellulose content) was a key driver of decomposition rates in pasture streams. These systems also relied more heavily on autochthonous algal production than was the case in woodland streams, which were more detrital based. These findings suggest that these pasture streams might be fundamentally different from their native, ancestral woodland state, with a shift towards greater reliance on autochthonous-based processes. This could have a destabilizing effect on the dynamics of the food web relative to the slower, detrital-based pathways that dominate in woodland streams.

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The original PDF of the article can be found at Advances in Ecological Research website : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123747945000043
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Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:19 Mar 2014 16:26

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