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Cryptic Constituents: The Paradox of High Flux–Low Concentration Components of Aquatic Ecosystems

1
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
2
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
3
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
4
Department of Biological Sciences, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kun Shi
Water 2021, 13(16), 2301; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162301
Received: 9 July 2021 / Revised: 11 August 2021 / Accepted: 18 August 2021 / Published: 22 August 2021
The interface between terrestrial ecosystems and inland waters is an important link in the global carbon cycle. However, the extent to which allochthonous organic matter entering freshwater systems plays a major role in microbial and higher-trophic-level processes is under debate. Human perturbations can alter fluxes of terrestrial carbon to aquatic environments in complex ways. The biomass and production of aquatic microbes are traditionally thought to be resource limited via stoichiometric constraints such as nutrient ratios or the carbon standing stock at a given timepoint. Low concentrations of a particular constituent, however, can be strong evidence of its importance in food webs. High fluxes of a constituent are often associated with low concentrations due to high uptake rates, particularly in aquatic food webs. A focus on biomass rather than turnover can lead investigators to misconstrue dissolved organic carbon use by bacteria. By combining tracer methods with mass balance calculations, we reveal hidden patterns in aquatic ecosystems that emphasize fluxes, turnover rates, and molecular interactions. We suggest that this approach will improve forecasts of aquatic ecosystem responses to warming or altered nitrogen usage. View Full-Text
Keywords: turnover rates; inorganic nutrients; carbon; nitrogen; primary production turnover rates; inorganic nutrients; carbon; nitrogen; primary production
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MDPI and ACS Style

Olofsson, M.; Power, M.E.; Stahl, D.A.; Vadeboncoeur, Y.; Brett, M.T. Cryptic Constituents: The Paradox of High Flux–Low Concentration Components of Aquatic Ecosystems. Water 2021, 13, 2301. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162301

AMA Style

Olofsson M, Power ME, Stahl DA, Vadeboncoeur Y, Brett MT. Cryptic Constituents: The Paradox of High Flux–Low Concentration Components of Aquatic Ecosystems. Water. 2021; 13(16):2301. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162301

Chicago/Turabian Style

Olofsson, Malin, Mary E. Power, David A. Stahl, Yvonne Vadeboncoeur, and Michael T. Brett 2021. "Cryptic Constituents: The Paradox of High Flux–Low Concentration Components of Aquatic Ecosystems" Water 13, no. 16: 2301. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13162301

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