Influence of four grazers on periphyton communities associated with clay tiles and leaves
- Cite this article as:
- Karouna, N.K. & Fuller, R.L. Hydrobiologia (1992) 245: 53. doi:10.1007/BF00008728
This study assessed the individual effects of three mayflies (Paraleptophlebia sp., Ephemerella subvaria McDunnough and Epeorus sp.) and one caddisfly (Psilotreta sp.) on periphyton communities associated with clay tiles and leaves. Algal densities were estimated for leaf discs and tiles from experimental chambers (with individual grazers) and control chambers (i.e., no grazers). Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of leaf discs and tiles also were taken for all mayfly grazing experiments. Densities of algae on leaf discs were two to five times lower than on tiles. Mouthpart morphology influenced how different insects grazed the periphyton community. Paraleptophlebia had ‘typical’ collector-gatherer mouthparts and had no effect on diatom densities associated with leaves whereas diatom densities on grazed tiles were higher than densities on tiles from control chambers. Epeorus had ‘brusher’ mouthparts and had little impact on diatom densities regardless of substratum type. The other two grazers had the blade-like mandibles of a scraper. Psilotreta did not reduce the numerical abundance of diatoms on either substratum, but did alter community structure by significantly reducing densities of stalked Gomphonema olivaceum and large species of Navicula and Nitzschia; densities of smaller diatoms (Achnanthes spp) increased. However, E. subvaria reduced densities of most algal species regardless of size on both substrata and also significantly altered community structure. SEMs of substrata grazed by mayflies showed reductions in fungal hyphae on all grazed leaf discs, decreases in filamentous algal forms on grazed tiles, and greatly shortened stalks of G. olivaceum (Paraleptophlebia only). Thus, periphyton communities are different on leaves versus tiles and grazers with different mouthpart morphologies have varying effects on both algal and heterotrophic microbial community structure.