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Quantitative food web analysis supports the energy-limitation hypothesis in cave stream ecosystems.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  25218190     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Energy limitation has long been the primary assumption underlying conceptual models of evolutionary and ecological processes in cave ecosystems. However, the prediction that cave communities are actually energy-limited in the sense that constituent populations are consuming all or most of their resource supply is untested. We assessed the energy-limitation hypothesis in three cave streams in northeastern Alabama (USA) by combining measurements of animal production, demand, and resource supplies (detritus, primarily decomposing wood particles). Comparisons of animal consumption and detritus supply rates in each cave showed that all, or nearly all, available detritus was required to support macroinvertebrate production. Furthermore, only a small amount of macroinvertebrate prey production remained to support other predatory taxa (i.e., cave fish and salamanders) after accounting for crayfish consumption. Placing the energy demands of a cave community within the context of resource supply rates provided quantitative support for the energy-limitation hypothesis, confirming the mechanism (limited energy surpluses) that likely influences the evolutionary processes and population dynamics that shape cave communities. Detritus-based surface ecosystems often have large detrital surpluses. Thus, cave ecosystems, which show minimal surpluses, occupy the extreme oligotrophic end of the spectrum of detritus-based food webs.
Authors:
Michael P Venarsky; Brock M Huntsman; Alexander D Huryn; Jonathan P Benstead; Bernard R Kuhajda
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-9-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  Oecologia     Publication Date:  2014 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-9-14     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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