Document Detail

Predators accelerate nutrient cycling in a bromeliad ecosystem.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17095695     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Conventional ecological theory predicts that predators affect nutrient cycling by decreasing the abundance or activity of prey. By using a predator-detritivore-detritus food chain in bromeliads, we show that predators can increase nutrient cycling by a previously undescribed, but broadly applicable, mechanism: reducing nutrient export by prey emigration. Contrary to expectations, predation on detritivores increases detrital nitrogen uptake by bromeliads. Predation reduces detritivore emergence and hence export of nitrogen from the system. Detritivores therefore benefit their host plant, but only when predators are present. More generally, our results show that predator loss or extinction can dramatically and unexpectedly affect ecosystem functioning.
Jacqueline T Ngai; Diane S Srivastava
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  314     ISSN:  1095-9203     ISO Abbreviation:  Science     Publication Date:  2006 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-11-10     Completed Date:  2006-11-22     Revised Date:  2007-03-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0404511     Medline TA:  Science     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  963     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Beetles / growth & development,  metabolism
Bromeliaceae / metabolism*
Chironomidae / growth & development,  metabolism
Diptera / growth & development,  metabolism
Food Chain*
Insects / growth & development,  metabolism*
Nitrogen / metabolism
Phosphorus / metabolism
Plant Leaves / metabolism*
Predatory Behavior
Reg. No./Substance:
7723-14-0/Phosphorus; 7727-37-9/Nitrogen

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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