Food Web Structure and Basal Resource Utilization along a Tropical Island Stream Continuum, Puerto Rico

March, JG, and CM Pringle. 2003. Food web structure and basal resource utilization along a tropical island stream continuum, puerto rico. Biotropica 35 (1) (MAR): 84-93.

Tropicals treamf ood webs are thought to be based primarilyo n terrestriarl esources( leaf litter) in small forested headwatesrt reamsa nd algalr esourceisn largerw, iders treamsI. n tropicali slands treamst, he dominantc onsumeras re often omnivorousfr eshwatesrh rimpst hat consumea lgae,l eaf litter,i nsects,a nd others hrimpsW. e useds tablei sotope analysist o examine( 1) the relativei mportanceo f terrestriaal nd algal-basedfo od resourcest o shrimpsa nd other consumersa nd determine( 2) if the relativeim portanceo f thesef ood resourcecs hangeda longt he streamc ontinuum. We examined8 15N and 813Cs ignatureos f leaves,a lgae,m acrophytesb, iofilm,i nsects,s nails,f ishes,a nd shrimpsa t threes ites (300, 90, and 10 m elev.)a longt he Rio EspirituS anto,w hichd rainst he CaribbeanN ationalF orestP, uerto Rico. Isotopes ignatureos f basalr esourcews ered istincta t all sites.R esultso f two-source6 13Cm ixingm odelss uggest that shrimpsr eliedm oreo n algal-basedca rbonr esourcetsh an terrestrialldye rivedr esourceas t all threes itesa longt he continuum.T his studys upportso therr ecentf indingsi n tropicals treamsd, emonstratintgh ata lgal-basedre sourceas re very importantt o streamc onsumers,e ven in small forestedh eadwaters treams.T his study also demonstratetsh e importanceo f doing assimilation-baseadn alysis( i.e., stablei sotope or trophicb asis of production)w hen studying food webs.

Does the river continuum concept apply on a tropical island? Longitudinal variation in a Puerto Rican stream

Greathouse,Effie A.; Pringle, Catherine M. 2006. Does the river continuum concept apply on a tropical island? Longitudinal variation in a Puerto Rican stream.. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 63: 134-152.

We examined whether a tropical stream in Puerto Rico matched predictions of the river continuum concept (RCC) for macroinvertebrate functional feeding groups (FFGs). Sampling sites for macroinvertebrates, basal resources, and fishes ranged from headwaters to within 2.5 km of the fourth-order estuary. In a comparison with a model temperate system in which RCC predictions generally held, we used catchment area as a measure of stream size to examine truncated RCC predictions (i.e., cut off to correspond to the largest stream size sampled in Puerto Rico). Despite dominance of generalist freshwater shrimps, which use more than one feeding mode, RCC predictions held for scrapers, shredders, and predators. Collector–filterers showed a trend opposite to that predicted by the RCC, but patterns in basal resources suggest that this is consistent with the central RCC theme: longitudinal distributions of FFGs follow longitudinal patterns in basal resources. Alternatively, the filterer pattern may be explained by fish predation affecting distributions of filter-feeding shrimp. Our results indicate that the RCC generally applies to running waters on tropical islands. However, additional theoretical and field studies across a broad array of stream types should examine whether the RCC needs to be refined to reflect the potential influence of top-down trophic controls on FFG distributions.
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