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.

Abstract: 
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.