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Reciprocal Role of Salamanders in Aquatic Energy Flow Pathways

Área de Biodiversidad y Conservación, Departamento de Biología y Geología, Física y Química Inorgánica, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Móstoles, 28933 Madrid, Spain
Diversity 2020, 12(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12010032
Received: 19 November 2019 / Revised: 13 January 2020 / Accepted: 15 January 2020 / Published: 17 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ecological Role of Salamanders as Predators and Prey)
Many species of salamanders (newts and salamanders per se) have a pivotal role in energy flow pathways as they include individuals functioning as prey, competitors, and predators. Here, I synthesize historic and contemporary research on the reciprocal ecological role of salamanders as predators and prey in aquatic systems. Salamanders are a keystone in ecosystem functioning through a combination of top–down control, energy transfer, nutrient cycling processes, and carbon retention. The aquatic developmental stages of salamanders are able to feed on a wide variety of invertebrate prey captured close to the bottom as well as on small conspecifics (cannibalism) or other sympatric species, but can also consume terrestrial invertebrates on the water surface. This capacity to consume allochthonous resources (terrestrial invertebrates) highlights the key role of salamanders as couplers of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (i.e., aquatic–terrestrial linkages). Salamanders are also an important food resource for other vertebrates such as fish, snakes, and mammals, covering the energy demands of these species at higher trophic levels. This study emphasizes the ecological significance of salamanders in aquatic systems as central players in energy flow pathways, enabling energy mobility among trophic levels (i.e., vertical energy flow) and between freshwater and terrestrial habitats (i.e., lateral energy flow). View Full-Text
Keywords: amphibia; energy flow; habitat coupling; predator–prey interactions; top–down control; trophic cascades; trophic ecology; Urodela amphibia; energy flow; habitat coupling; predator–prey interactions; top–down control; trophic cascades; trophic ecology; Urodela
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sánchez-Hernández, J. Reciprocal Role of Salamanders in Aquatic Energy Flow Pathways. Diversity 2020, 12, 32.

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