Special Issue "Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Mariana Meerhoff
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Guest Editor
Departamento de Ecología y Gestión Ambiental, CURE- Universidad de la República
Departamento de Ecología y Gestión Ambiental, Centro Universitario Regional del Este, Universidad de la República, Maldonado 20000, Uruguay
Interests: climate warming; trophic webs; ecosystem resilience; shallow lakes ecology; lowland streams ecology
Assoc. Prof. Franco Teixeira De Mello
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Departamento de Ecología y Gestión Ambiental, CURE- Universidad de la República
Interests: biomonitoring; fish ecology; stream ecology; shallow lakes; trophic interactions
Assoc. Prof. Carlos Iglesias
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Guest Editor
Departamento de Ecología y Gestión Ambiental, CURE- Universidad de la República
Interests: trophic interactions; shallow lakes ecology; zooplankton ecology; resurrection ecology; experimental ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Trophic interactions are key for the structure and function of ecosystems, not least of which fresh waters. Most of the theoretical and empirical studies on trophic interactions and the consequences on ecosystem functioning, with applications to ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation, have been conducted in temperate climates, but increasing evidence suggests that, under warm climates, the strength of interactions and some cascading effects may differ. Ecosystems in warm climates are also more sensitive to anthropogenic impacts, such as eutrophication and water extraction, than similar ecosystems in temperate or cold climates, imposing different scenarios for the biota.

Consequences for the theoretical basis of restoration strategies are thus being critically reviewed. These pieces of evidence are also contributing to the prediction of effects to be expected with climate warming.

In this Special Issue, we welcome articles that describe trophic interactions in warm climate freshwater ecosystems (ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, lagoons, floodplains) that contribute to increase our basic and potentially applied knowledge on the particularities of these systems. We encourage comparative studies, manipulative experiments, long-term field studies, modelling and field experiments where clear hypotheses are tested.

Prof. Mariana Meerhoff
Assoc. Prof. Franco Teixeira de Mello
Assoc. Prof. Carlos Iglesias
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Trophic cascades
  • predator-prey interactions
  • refuge effect
  • space-for-time substitution
  • ecosystem functioning
  • manipulative experiments
  • invasive species
  • latitudinal studies
  • arid ecosystems
  • tropical and subtropical ecosystems
  • Mediterranean ecosystems

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Short-Term Interactive Effects of Experimental Heat Waves and Turbidity Pulses on the Foraging Success of a Subtropical Invertivorous Fish
Water 2019, 11(10), 2109; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102109 - 10 Oct 2019
Abstract
Sudden increases in temperature and turbidity in aquatic ecosystems are expected for different regions in the future, as a result of the more frequent extreme climatic events that are predicted. The consequences of these abrupt changes in the outcomes of predator–prey interactions are [...] Read more.
Sudden increases in temperature and turbidity in aquatic ecosystems are expected for different regions in the future, as a result of the more frequent extreme climatic events that are predicted. The consequences of these abrupt changes in the outcomes of predator–prey interactions are unknown. Here, we tested the effects of a heat wave and a turbidity pulse on the foraging success of a subtropical cichlid fish (Gymnogeophagus terrapurpura) on amphipods (Hyalella curvispina). We carried out a short-term experiment combining treatments of turbidity (3 and 100 nephelometric turbidity units [NTU]) and water temperature (19.2, 22.2, 25.2 and 27.0 °C), considering potential differences given by fish length. Changes in water temperature did not promote significant changes in prey consumption. Higher turbidity, in contrast, decreased prey consumption. Also, we found that fish with different body lengths consumed a similar amount of prey under clear waters, but, in turbid waters, bigger individuals were more efficient than the smaller individuals. This finding is an empirical demonstration that the effect of increased turbidity on predation rate depends upon predator body size, and it suggests that bigger body sizes may help overcome turbidity-associated limitations in finding and capturing prey. Our short-term results suggest that, if turbidity pulses and heat waves become more frequent in the future, the outcome of fish–invertebrate interaction can be affected by local characteristics such as fish population size distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon Transfer from Cyanobacteria to Pelagic and Benthic Consumers in a Subtropical Lake: Evidence from a 13C Labelling Experiment
Water 2019, 11(8), 1536; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081536 - 25 Jul 2019
Abstract
Eutrophication of lakes often results in dominance of cyanobacteria, which may potentially lead to serious blooms and toxic water. However, cyanobacterial detritus may act as an important carbon source for aquatic organisms. Using stable isotope carbon (13C) as a tracer, we [...] Read more.
Eutrophication of lakes often results in dominance of cyanobacteria, which may potentially lead to serious blooms and toxic water. However, cyanobacterial detritus may act as an important carbon source for aquatic organisms. Using stable isotope carbon (13C) as a tracer, we assessed the carbon transfer from cyanobacteria to pelagic and benthic consumers in a 28-day outdoor mesocosm (~130 L) labelling experiment established in Lake Taihu, China, during a Microcystis aeruginosa bloom. The different organisms were labelled differently after addition of the labelled Microcystis detritus to the water. δ13C of particulate organic matter and of cladoceran zooplankton peaked earlier than for larger invertebrate consumers. Among the pelagic species, Daphnia similis had the highest Δδ13C, while the two snail species Radix swinhoei and Bellamya aeruginosa had lower but similar Δδ13C. The bivalves showed relatively modest changes in δ13C. The δ13C of Anodonta woodiana and Unio douglasiae showed a marginal though not significant increase, while a marked increase occurred for Arconaia lanceolate peaking on day 20, and Corbicula fluminea a slight increase peaking on day 9. Our results suggest that carbon from cyanobacteria can be incorporated by pelagic and some benthic consumers and eventually be transferred to higher trophic levels. Cyanobacterial carbon may, therefore, be considered an important carbon source supporting the entire food web during blooms, even if the cyanobacteria are not consumed directly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Diets and Trophic Structure of Fish Assemblages in a Large and Unexplored Subtropical River: The Uruguay River
Water 2019, 11(7), 1374; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071374 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Neotropics represent a hotspot for freshwater biodiversity with vast number of fish species of scarce ecological knowledge. This holds true for the Uruguay River, where fish assemblages and their diets remain unexplored. Fish assemblages were surveyed in 14 sites along the river [...] Read more.
The Neotropics represent a hotspot for freshwater biodiversity with vast number of fish species of scarce ecological knowledge. This holds true for the Uruguay River, where fish assemblages and their diets remain unexplored. Fish assemblages were surveyed in 14 sites along the river main course, from headwaters to mouth (approximately 1800 km), with the aim to identify the trophic roles of fishes and to describe trophic structure of these assemblages, following standardized sampling campaigns and laboratory procedures. One hundred species (2309 gut contents) were analysed and classified into four trophic groups subdivided into eight lower-level groups: Piscivore, piscivore-invertivore, detritivore, omnivore-detritivore, omnivore-invertivore, omnivore-planktivore and omnivore-herbivore. The trophic structure of the assemblages varied along the river, with the relative species richness of fish consuming terrestrial invertebrates increasing towards the middle river section, probably driven by the large floodplains in that areas, supporting global theories such as the flood pulse concept. This study describes the feeding habits of fish along the Uruguay River, being the first dietary description for 29 species. This knowledge is essential for management and conservation, serving as baseline in the context of future environmental changes while generating novel evidence on the functioning of ecosystems in this scarcely studied climatic region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Beta Diversity Partitioning and Drivers of Variations in Fish Assemblages in a Headwater Stream: Lijiang River, China
Water 2019, 11(4), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040680 - 02 Apr 2019
Abstract
Beta diversity partitioning has currently received much attention in research of fish assemblages. However, the main drivers, especially the contribution of spatial and hydrological variables for species composition and beta diversity of fish assemblages are less well studied. To link species composition to [...] Read more.
Beta diversity partitioning has currently received much attention in research of fish assemblages. However, the main drivers, especially the contribution of spatial and hydrological variables for species composition and beta diversity of fish assemblages are less well studied. To link species composition to multiple abiotic variables (i.e., local environmental variables, hydrological variables, and spatial variables), the relative roles of abiotic variables in shaping fish species composition and beta diversity (i.e., overall turnover, replacement, and nestedness) were investigated in the upstream Lijiang River. Species composition showed significant correlations with environmental, hydrological, and spatial variables, and variation partitioning revealed that the local environmental and spatial variables outperformed hydrological variables, and especially abiotic variables explained a substantial part of the variation in the fish composition (43.2%). The overall species turnover was driven mostly by replacement (87.9% and 93.7% for Sørensen and Jaccard indices, respectively) rather than nestedness. Mantel tests indicated that the overall species turnover (ßSOR and ßJAC) and replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU) were significantly related to hydrological, environmental, and spatial heterogeneity, whereas nestedness (ßSNE or ßJNE) was insignificantly correlated with abiotic variables (P > 0.05). Moreover, the pure effect of spatial variables on overall species turnover (ßSOR and ßJAC) and replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU), and the pure effect of hydrological variables on replacement (ßSIM and ßJTU), were not important (P > 0.05). Our findings demonstrated the relative importance of interactions among environmental, hydrological, and spatial variables in structuring fish assemblages in headwater streams; these fish assemblages tend to be compositionally distinct, rather than nested derivatives of one another. Our results, therefore, indicate that maintaining natural flow dynamics and habitat continuity are of vital importance for conservation of fish assemblages and diversity in headwater streams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Periods of Extreme Shallow Depth Hinder but Do Not Stop Long-Term Improvements of Water Quality in Lake Apopka, Florida (USA)
Water 2019, 11(3), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030538 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
We recently documented that during times of extreme shallow depth, there are severe effects on the water quality of one of the largest shallow lakes in the southeastern USA—Lake Apopka. During those times, total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), chlorophyll-a (Chl-a [...] Read more.
We recently documented that during times of extreme shallow depth, there are severe effects on the water quality of one of the largest shallow lakes in the southeastern USA—Lake Apopka. During those times, total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and toxic cyanobacteria blooms increase, and Secchi transparency (SD) declines. The lake recovers when water levels rise in subsequent years. In this paper, we determined whether extreme shallow depth events, particularly when they re-occur frequently, can stop the long-term recovery of a shallow eutrophic lake undergoing nutrient reduction programs. Apopka is an ideal location for this case study because the State of Florida has spent over 200 million USD in order to reduce the inputs of P to the lake, to build large filter marshes to treat the water, and to remove large quantities of benthivorous fish that contribute to internal P loading. We obtained data from 1985 to 2018, a period that had relatively stable water levels for nearly 15 years, and then three successive periods of extreme shallow depth, and we examined the long-term trends in TP, TN, Chl-a, and SD. There were significant decreasing trends in all of these water quality variables, and even though water quality deteriorated during periods of extreme shallow depth, and reduced the slope of the long-term trends, it did not stop the recovery. However, in the future, if climate change leads to more frequent shallow depth events, which in lakes such as Apopka, result in the concentration of water and nutrients, it is unclear whether the resilience we document here will continue, vs. the lake not responding to further nutrient input reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius) Strongly Affect C/N/P Stoichiometry of Suspended Particulate Matter in Shallow Warm Water Eutrophic Lakes
Water 2019, 11(3), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030524 - 13 Mar 2019
Abstract
Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) is a key fish species in most Chinese subtropical and tropical shallow lakes. Through sediment feeding, crucian carp could greatly change water turbidity and nutrient levels, as well as the abundance of herbivorous consumers, which may have [...] Read more.
Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) is a key fish species in most Chinese subtropical and tropical shallow lakes. Through sediment feeding, crucian carp could greatly change water turbidity and nutrient levels, as well as the abundance of herbivorous consumers, which may have important influences on seston element stoichiometry. However, so far, experimental studies on this topic are lacking. We conducted a 36-day mesocosm experiment to explore the effects of crucian carp on water physicochemical and biological properties, and C/N/P ratios in suspended particulate matter (SPM) under eutrophic conditions. Our results provided three major findings: (1) Crucian carp resuspended sediments and along with them, reduced light penetration and lower light/total phosphorus (TP) ratios. (2) Crucian carp reduced biomasses of both zooplankton and macrozoobenthos, whereas their effect on phytoplankton was weak, potentially because of resuspension-induced light limitation. (3) Both C/P and N/P ratios in SPM were significant lower in mesocosms with crucian carp than in fish-free controls, which may be attributed to the high contribution of P-rich sediments and low light to nutrient supply caused by fish-induced resuspension. Our results suggest that besides planktivorous fish, benthivore (e.g., crucian carp) in warm shallow waters could also affect pelagic C/N/P stoichiometry via sediment feeding, which may further influence energy transfer efficiency in lake food chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Plankton Taxonomic and Size Diversity of Mediterranean Brackish Ponds in Spring: Influence of Abiotic and Biotic Factors
Water 2019, 11(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11010106 - 09 Jan 2019
Abstract
In this study, performed in Mediterranean brackish ponds during spring season, we assessed the effects of biotic interactions and abiotic factors on the size and taxonomic structure of the phytoplankton and zooplankton. We used a taxonomic and a size diversity index as a [...] Read more.
In this study, performed in Mediterranean brackish ponds during spring season, we assessed the effects of biotic interactions and abiotic factors on the size and taxonomic structure of the phytoplankton and zooplankton. We used a taxonomic and a size diversity index as a descriptor of the community structure. We predicted that the size diversity of each trophic level would be mainly related to biotic interactions, such as size-based fish predation (in the case of zooplankton) and food resource availability (in the case of phytoplankton), whereas taxonomic diversity would be more affected by abiotic variables (e.g., conductivity, pond morphology). Our results showed a negative relationship between phytoplankton size diversity and food resource availability leading to low size diversities under food scarcity due to dominance of small species. Conductivity also negatively affected the phytoplankton size diversity, although slightly. Regarding zooplankton size diversity, none of predictors tested seemed to influence this index. Similar fish size diversities among ponds may prevent a significant effect of fish predation on size diversity of zooplankton. As expected, taxonomic diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton was related to abiotic variables (specifically pond morphometry) rather than biotic interactions, which are usually body size dependent, especially in these species-poor brackish environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Combined Effects of Experimental Warming and Eutrophication on Phytoplankton Dynamics and Nitrogen Uptake
Water 2018, 10(8), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081057 - 09 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Shallow lakes are highly vulnerable to damages caused by human activities and warming trends. To assess whether and how community structures of phytoplankton and nitrogen uptake respond to the combined effects of elevated temperature and eutrophication, we performed a mesocosm experiment in field [...] Read more.
Shallow lakes are highly vulnerable to damages caused by human activities and warming trends. To assess whether and how community structures of phytoplankton and nitrogen uptake respond to the combined effects of elevated temperature and eutrophication, we performed a mesocosm experiment in field by combining a 4.5 °C increase in temperature and the addition of phosphorus. Our results demonstrated that the combination of rising temperatures and phosphorus loading stimulated the maximum biomass built up by the phytoplankton community, and changed the phytoplankton community by significantly increasing the number of Chlorophyta and Cyanophyta, and decreasing that of Cryptophyta. We also examined the effects of climate warming and eutrophication on phytoplankton nitrogen uptake and dynamics using 15N tracer techniques. The addition of phosphorus slightly increased the phytoplankton nitrate uptake velocity and relative preference index, but decreased the nitrate uptake turnover time. Warming relatively increased the ammonium uptake velocity and the relative preference index, but decreased the ammonium turnover time. In kinetic studies, NH4+ exhibited a higher maximum uptake rate (Vmax) and a lower half-saturation constant (Ks) than NO3 substrates due to temperature elevation and the addition of phosphorus. Hence, warming and eutrophication increased the capacity of phytoplankton for NH4+ uptake and their affinity at low substrate concentrations. Thus, the combined effects of climate warming and phosphorus nutrient availability may increase the prevalence of Chlorophyta and Cyanophyta, and change the nitrogen cycling of aquatic ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Interactions in Warm Freshwater Ecosystems)
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