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Food Web Structure and Trophic Interactions Revealed by Stable Isotope Analysis in the Midstream of the Chishui River, a Tributary of the Yangtze River, China

1
The Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, China West Normal University, Nanchong 637009, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jan Janse
Water 2021, 13(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020195
Received: 27 October 2020 / Revised: 8 January 2021 / Accepted: 12 January 2021 / Published: 15 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning)
Understanding energy flow and nutrient pathways is crucial to reveal the dynamics and functions of riverine ecosystems and develop appropriate conservation strategies. In this study, we utilized stable isotopes of δ13C and δ15N to examine the fundamental characteristics of trophic position, trophic niche, and carbon source for the food web in the midstream of the Chishui River, a tributary to the Yangtze River. Our results showed that stable isotope signatures among different sorts of basal resources and consumers were significantly distinguishable and that the food chain consisted of four trophic levels, indicating the multiple trophic pathways and long food chain length here. The trophic guilds of fish were classified into four categories, in which herbivorous and carnivorous fish showed greater trophic diversity and omnivorous fish had higher trophic redundancy, which meant that there was a stable trophic niche structure in the study area. Phytoplankton and periphyton presented the largest contributions to consumers, indicating that autochthonous productivity was the dominant carbon source in the midstream of the Chishui River. Since the Chishui River is still in a natural condition without any dam constructions, the autochthonous productivity, stable trophic niche structure, multiple trophic pathways and long food chain length found here demonstrate its high conservation value. Therefore, the strategy to refrain from damming on this river should persist into the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: stable isotopes; biodiversity and conservation; dam construction; riverine ecosystem; the Yangtze River stable isotopes; biodiversity and conservation; dam construction; riverine ecosystem; the Yangtze River
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MDPI and ACS Style

Qin, Q.; Zhang, F.; Liu, F.; Wang, C.; Liu, H. Food Web Structure and Trophic Interactions Revealed by Stable Isotope Analysis in the Midstream of the Chishui River, a Tributary of the Yangtze River, China. Water 2021, 13, 195. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020195

AMA Style

Qin Q, Zhang F, Liu F, Wang C, Liu H. Food Web Structure and Trophic Interactions Revealed by Stable Isotope Analysis in the Midstream of the Chishui River, a Tributary of the Yangtze River, China. Water. 2021; 13(2):195. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020195

Chicago/Turabian Style

Qin, Qiang; Zhang, Fubin; Liu, Fei; Wang, Chunling; Liu, Huanzhang. 2021. "Food Web Structure and Trophic Interactions Revealed by Stable Isotope Analysis in the Midstream of the Chishui River, a Tributary of the Yangtze River, China" Water 13, no. 2: 195. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13020195

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