Matching Items (17)

128775-Thumbnail Image.png

Sensitivity and Tolerance of Riparian Arthropod Communities to Altered Water Resources along a Drying River

Description

Background
Rivers around the world are drying with increasing frequency, but little is known about effects on terrestrial animal communities. Previous research along the San Pedro River in southeastern AZ,

Background
Rivers around the world are drying with increasing frequency, but little is known about effects on terrestrial animal communities. Previous research along the San Pedro River in southeastern AZ, USA, suggests that changes in the availability of water resources associated with river drying lead to changes in predator abundance, community composition, diversity, and abundance of particular taxa of arthropods, but these observations have not yet been tested manipulatively.
Methods and Results
In this study, we constructed artificial pools in the stream bed adjacent to a drying section of the San Pedro River and maintained them as the river dried. We compared pitfall trapped arthropods near artificial pools to adjacent control sites where surface waters temporarily dried. Assemblage composition changed differentially at multiple taxonomic levels, resulting in different assemblages at pools than at control sites, with multiple taxa and richness of carabid beetle genera increasing at pools but not at controls that dried. On the other hand, predator biomass, particularly wolf spiders, and diversity of orders and families were consistently higher at control sites that dried. These results suggest an important role for colonization dynamics of pools, as well as the ability of certain taxa, particularly burrowing wolf spiders, to withstand periods of temporary drying.
Conclusions
Overall, we found some agreement between this manipulative study of water resources and a previous analysis of river drying that showed shifts in composition, changes in diversity, and declines in abundance of certain taxa (e.g. carabid beetles). However, colonization dynamics of pools, as well as compensatory strategies of predatory wolf spiders seem to have led to patterns that do not match previous research, with control sites maintaining high diversity, despite drying. Tolerance of river drying by some species may allow persistence of substantial diversity in the face of short-term drying. The long-term effects of drying remain to be investigated.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-10-08

128814-Thumbnail Image.png

Multitaxonomic Diversity Patterns along a Desert Riparian–Upland Gradient

Description

Riparian areas are noted for their high biodiversity, but this has rarely been tested across a wide range of taxonomic groups. We set out to describe species richness, species abundance,

Riparian areas are noted for their high biodiversity, but this has rarely been tested across a wide range of taxonomic groups. We set out to describe species richness, species abundance, and community similarity patterns for 11 taxonomic groups (forbs & grasses, shrubs, trees, solpugids, spiders, scarab beetles, butterflies, lizards, birds, rodents, and mammalian carnivores) individually and for all groups combined along a riparian–upland gradient in semiarid southeastern Arizona, USA. Additionally, we assessed whether biological characteristics could explain variation in diversity along the gradient using five traits (trophic level, body size, life span, thermoregulatory mechanism, and taxonomic affiliation). At the level of individual groups diversity patterns varied along the gradient, with some having greater richness and/or abundance in riparian zones whereas others were more diverse and/or abundant in upland zones. Across all taxa combined, riparian zones contained significantly more species than the uplands. Community similarity between riparian and upland zones was low, and beta diversity was significantly greater than expected for most taxonomic groups, though biological traits explained little variance in diversity along the gradient. These results indicate heterogeneity amongst taxa in how they respond to the factors that structure ecological communities in riparian landscapes. Nevertheless, across taxonomic groups the overall pattern is one of greater species richness and abundance in riparian zones, coupled with a distinct suite of species.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012-01-17

131526-Thumbnail Image.png

The response of macroinvertebrate richness and functional diversity to climate-related disturbance patterns in desert streams

Description

Aquatic macroinvertebrates are important for many ecological processes within river ecosystems and, as a result, their abundance and diversity are considered indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. Macroinvertebrates

Aquatic macroinvertebrates are important for many ecological processes within river ecosystems and, as a result, their abundance and diversity are considered indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. Macroinvertebrates can be classified into functional feeding groups (FFG) based on morphological-behavioral adaptations. FFG ratios can shift due to changes in normal disturbance patterns, such as changes in precipitation, and from human impact. Due to their increased sensitivity to environmental changes, it has become more important to protect and monitor aquatic and riparian communities in arid regions as climate change continues to intensify. Therefore, the diversity and richness of macroinvertebrate FFGs before and after monsoon and winter storm seasons were analyzed to determine the effect of flow-related disturbances. Ecosystem size was also considered, as watershed area has been shown to affect macroinvertebrate diversity. There was no strong support for flow-related disturbance or ecosystem size on macroinvertebrate diversity and richness. This may indicate a need to explore other parameters of macroinvertebrate community assembly. Establishing how disturbance affects aquatic macroinvertebrate communities will provide a key understanding as to what the stream communities will look like in the future, as anthropogenic impacts continue to affect more vulnerable ecosystems.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

135424-Thumbnail Image.png

Peeing in the Pool: how aquatic insect excretion reflects and affects nutrient recycling in two desert streams

Description

Aquatic macroinvertebrates can be key contributors to nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling in streams. Though they exhibit intense control via trophic interactions and nutrient conversion, they may be influenced

Aquatic macroinvertebrates can be key contributors to nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling in streams. Though they exhibit intense control via trophic interactions and nutrient conversion, they may be influenced by other environmental factors that can determine total excretion-derived N, P, and N:P. Garden Canyon and Ramsey Canyon, two streams in the Huachuca Mountain Range in Southern Arizona, USA, host similar insect communities, but only Garden Canyon experiences a seasonal P limitation due to the co-precipitation of phosphate with calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in its benthic substrate (Corman et al. 2015). I performed an analysis of excretion rates of aquatic insects living in these streams to test if the P limitation is reflected in rates that insects recycle nutrients. A lower mean N:P of all insect excretion rates in Garden provides evidence for an ecosystem-scale effect, though the differences in N:P of excretion rates by individual taxa between streams did not support the hypothesis. Attributing excretion rates to actual insect densities in three years reveals that natural-occurring fluctuations in excretion rates can operate on the same magnitude as fluctuations in abundances and causes steep differences in nutrient conversion between streams. Lastly, I found that since these streams support immense insect diversity, they receive excretion-derived N and P from taxa in many different functional feeding groups, which illustrates ecosystem resilience and uniqueness.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

137211-Thumbnail Image.png

Secondary Production of Terrestrial Macroinvertebrates Along a Gradient of Streamflow Permanence

Description

Ephemeral and intermittent streams are valuable sources of surface water support in the arid ecosystems of the Southwestern United States. These streams account for over 80% of the streams in

Ephemeral and intermittent streams are valuable sources of surface water support in the arid ecosystems of the Southwestern United States. These streams account for over 80% of the streams in the American Southwest and their importance has been indicated in many studies. Ephemeral and intermittent streams support a wide range of plant and animal species in both continuous and episodic fashions. This study aimed to gain a better understanding of the relationship between streamflow permanence and patterns of biomass and secondary production of the riparian fauna these ecosystems support. This was accomplished through a yearlong survey in the Huachuca Mountains of Southeastern, Arizona where macroinvertebrates were collected at various sites along a gradient of streamflow permanence before, during, and after the three month monsoon season that supplies most of the annual rainfall in this region. The results of my surveys indicate that 1) Sites characterized by low streamflow permanence were more responsive to changes in precipitation than sites characterized by relatively high streamflow permanence 2) In ephemeral streams, there is a significant peak in terrestrial macroinvertebrate production and biomass both during and after the monsoon season 3) streamflow permanence may convey consistent but not exceptional secondary production whereas seasonality in rainfall may convey exceptional but episodic secondary production—more so in sites where streamflow is not consistent.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

137561-Thumbnail Image.png

Nutrient limitation of decomposers in the travertine streams of the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona

Description

Many studies have shown that as the calcium carbonate precipitates, it sequesters phosphate. Although the geochemical interactions between phosphate and calcium carbonate are known, only a few studies have considered

Many studies have shown that as the calcium carbonate precipitates, it sequesters phosphate. Although the geochemical interactions between phosphate and calcium carbonate are known, only a few studies have considered calcium carbonate deposition's effect on stream ecology. Further, those studies considering decomposition have produced conflicting results. In this study, nutrient-diffusing cups with organic substrata were used to determine the nutrient limitation of decomposers in the travertine streams in the Huachuca Mountains. After processing a subset of the experiments, only one site (in Huachuca Canyon) from the four study streams was significantly nutrient-limited (NP co-limitation).

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

130261-Thumbnail Image.png

Does the Growth Rate Hypothesis Apply across Temperatures? Variation in the Growth Rate and Body Phosphorus of Neotropical Benthic Grazers

Description

The growth rate hypothesis predicts that organisms with higher maximum growth rates will also have higher body percent phosphorus (P) due to the increased demand for ribosomal RNA production needed

The growth rate hypothesis predicts that organisms with higher maximum growth rates will also have higher body percent phosphorus (P) due to the increased demand for ribosomal RNA production needed to sustain rapid growth. However, this hypothesis was formulated for invertebrates growing at the same temperature. Within a biologically relevant temperature range, increased temperatures can lead to more rapid growth, suggesting that organisms in warmer environments might also contain more P per gram of dry mass. However, since higher growth rates at higher temperature can be supported by more rapid protein synthesis per ribosome rather than increased ribosome investment, increasing temperature might not lead to a positive relationship between growth and percent P. We tested the growth rate hypothesis by examining two genera of Neotropical stream grazers, the leptophlebiid mayfly Thraulodes and the bufonid toad tadpole Rhinella. We measured the body percent P of field-collected Thraulodes as well as the stoichiometry of periphyton resources in six Panamanian streams over an elevational gradient spanning approximately 1,100 m and 7°C in mean annual temperature. We also measured Thraulodes growth rates using in situ growth chambers in two of these streams. Finally, we conducted temperature manipulation experiments with both Thraulodes and Rhinella at the highest and lowest elevation sites and measured differences in percent P and growth rates. Thraulodes body percent P increased with temperature across the six streams, and average specific growth rate was higher in the warmer lowland stream. In the temperature manipulation experiments, both taxa exhibited higher growth rate and body percent P in the lowland experiments regardless of experimental temperature, but growth rate and body percent P of individuals were not correlated. Although we found that Thraulodes from warmer streams grew more rapidly and had higher body percent P, our experimental results suggest that the growth rate hypothesis does not apply across temperatures. Instead, our results indicate that factors other than temperature drive variation in organismal percent P among sites.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-04-18

128913-Thumbnail Image.png

Crayfish Impact Desert River Ecosystem Function and Litter-Dwelling Invertebrate Communities through Association with Novel Detrital Resources

Description

Shifts in plant species distributions due to global change are increasing the availability of novel resources in a variety of ecosystems worldwide. In semiarid riparian areas, hydric pioneer tree species

Shifts in plant species distributions due to global change are increasing the availability of novel resources in a variety of ecosystems worldwide. In semiarid riparian areas, hydric pioneer tree species are being replaced by drought-tolerant plant species as water availability decreases. Additionally, introduced omnivorous crayfish, which feed upon primary producers, allochthonous detritus, and benthic invertebrates, can impact communities at multiple levels through both direct and indirect effects mediated by drought-tolerant plants. We tested the impact of both virile crayfish (Orconectes virilis) and litter type on benthic invertebrates and the effect of crayfish on detrital resources across a gradient of riparian vegetation drought-tolerance using field cages with leaf litter bags in the San Pedro River in Southeastern Arizona. Virile crayfish increased breakdown rate of novel drought-tolerant saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima), but did not impact breakdown of drought-tolerant seepwillow (Baccharis salicifolia) or hydric Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii) and Gooding's willow (Salix goodingii). Effects on invertebrate diversity were observed at the litter bag scale, but no effects were found at the cage scale. Crayfish decreased alpha diversity of colonizing macroinvertebrates, but did not affect beta diversity. In contrast, the drought-tolerant litter treatment decreased beta diversity relative to hydric litter. As drought-tolerant species become more abundant in riparian zones, their litter will become a larger component of the organic matter budget of desert streams which may serve to homogenize the litter-dwelling community and support elevated populations of virile crayfish. Through impacts at multiple trophic levels, crayfish have a significant effect on desert stream ecosystems.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05-07

130394-Thumbnail Image.png

Diet Composition Affects the Rate and N:P Ratio of Fish Excretion

Description

Nutrient recycling by fish can be an important part of nutrient cycles in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. As a result, understanding the mechanisms that influence excretion elemental ratios of

Nutrient recycling by fish can be an important part of nutrient cycles in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. As a result, understanding the mechanisms that influence excretion elemental ratios of fish is of great importance to a complete understanding of aquatic nutrient cycles. As fish consume a wide range of diets that differ in elemental composition, stoichiometric theory can inform predictions about dietary effects on excretion ratios.
We conducted a meta-analysis to test the effects of diet elemental composition on consumption and nutrient excretion by fish. We examined the relationship between consumption rate and diet N : P across all laboratory studies and calculated effect sizes for each excretion metric to test for significant effects.
Consumption rate of N, but not P, was significantly negatively affected by diet N : P. Effect sizes of diet elemental composition on consumption-specific excretion N, P and N : P in laboratory studies were all significantly different from 0, but effect size for raw excretion N : P was not significantly different from zero in laboratory or field surveys.
Our results highlight the importance of having a mechanistic understanding of the drivers of consumer excretion rates and ratios. We suggest that more research is needed on how consumption and assimilation efficiency vary with N : P and in natural ecosystems in order to further understand mechanistic processes in consumer-driven nutrient recycling.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-03-01

150816-Thumbnail Image.png

Locust outbreaks and migration in the Asian steppe: the influence of land management practices and host plant nutrient status

Description

Land management practices such as domestic animal grazing can alter plant communities via changes in soil structure and chemistry, species composition, and plant nutrient content. These changes can affect the

Land management practices such as domestic animal grazing can alter plant communities via changes in soil structure and chemistry, species composition, and plant nutrient content. These changes can affect the abundance and quality of plants consumed by insect herbivores with consequent changes in population dynamics. These population changes can translate to massive crop damage and pest control costs. My dissertation focused on Oedaleus asiaticus, a dominant Asian locust, and had three main objectives. First, I identified morphological, physiological, and behavioral characteristics of the migratory ("brown") and non-migratory ("green") phenotypes. I found that brown morphs had longer wings, larger thoraxes and higher metabolic rates compared to green morphs, suggesting that developmental plasticity allows greater migratory capacity in the brown morph of this locust. Second, I tested the hypothesis of a causal link between livestock overgrazing and an increase in migratory swarms of O. asiaticus. Current paradigms generally assume that increased plant nitrogen (N) should enhance herbivore performance by relieving protein-limitation, increasing herbivorous insect populations. I showed, in contrast to this scenario, that host plant N-enrichment and high protein artificial diets decreased the size and viability of O. asiaticus. Plant N content was lowest and locust abundance highest in heavily livestock-grazed fields where soils were N-depleted, likely due to enhanced erosion and leaching. These results suggest that heavy livestock grazing promotes outbreaks of this locust by reducing plant protein content. Third, I tested for the influence of dietary imbalance, in conjunction with high population density, on migratory plasticity. While high population density has clearly been shown to induce the migratory morph in several locusts, the effect of diet has been unclear. I found that locusts reared at high population density and fed unfertilized plants (i.e. high quality plants for O. asiaticus) had the greatest migratory capacity, and maintained a high percent of brown locusts. These results did not support the hypothesis that poor-quality resources increased expression of migratory phenotypes. This highlights a need to develop new theoretical frameworks for predicting how environmental factors will regulate migratory plasticity in locusts and perhaps other insects.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012