Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 238–250 | Cite as

Carbon and nitrogen transfer from a desert stream to riparian predators

  • D. M. SanzoneEmail author
  • J. L. Meyer
  • E. Marti
  • E. P. Gardiner
  • J. L. Tank
  • N. B. Grimm
Ecosystems Ecology

Abstract

Adult aquatic insects emerging from streams may be a significant source of energy for terrestrial predators inhabiting riparian zones. In this study, we use natural abundance δ13C and δ15N values and an isotopic 15N tracer addition to quantify the flow of carbon and nitrogen from aquatic to terrestrial food webs via emerging aquatic insects. We continuously dripped labeled 15N-NH4 for 6 weeks into Sycamore Creek, a Sonoran desert stream in the Tonto National Forest (central Arizona) and traced the flow of tracer 15N from the stream into spiders living in the riparian zone. After correcting for natural abundance δ15N, we used isotopic mixing models to calculate the proportion of 15N from emerging aquatic insects incorporated into spider biomass. Natural abundance δ13C values indicate that orb-web weaving spiders inhabiting riparian vegetation along the stream channel obtain almost 100% of their carbon from instream sources, whereas ground-dwelling hunting spiders obtain on average 68% of their carbon from instream sources. During the 6-week period of the 15N tracer addition, orb-web weaving spiders obtained on average 39% of their nitrogen from emerging aquatic insects, whereas spider species hunting on the ground obtained on average 25% of their nitrogen from emerging aquatic insects. To determine if stream subsidies might be influencing the spatial distribution of terrestrial predators, we measured the biomass, abundance and diversity of spiders along a gradient from the active stream channel to a distance of 50 m into the upland using pitfall traps and timed sweep net samples. Spider abundance, biomass and richness were highest within the active stream channel but decreased more than three-fold 25 m from the wetted stream margin. Changes in structural complexity of vegetation, ground cover or terrestrial prey abundance could not account for patterns in spider distributions, however nutrient and energy subsidies from the stream could explain elevated spider numbers and richness within the active stream channel and riparian zone of Sycamore Creek.

Keywords

Adult aquatic insects Aquatic subsidies Araneae δ13δ15Spiders 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Bruce Peterson and Wil Wolheim for helping us think through the isotopic mixing model calculations. Stephanie Eden and Norm Leonard assisted in the laboratory. Kris Tholke and Tom Maddox performed mass spectrometry at the Ecosystems Center (MBL) and University of Georgia Analytical Chemistry Laboratories. John Sabo, Jim Elser and one anonymous reviewer provided valuable comments on the manuscript that greatly improved its content. This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation to J.R. Webster, P.J. Mulholland, J.L. Meyer and B.J. Peterson (DEB-9628860) and the Coweeta LTER program (DEB- 9632854).

References

  1. Anderson JF (1974) Responses to starvation in the spiders Lycosa lenta Hentz and Filistata hibernalis (Hentz). Ecology 55:576–585Google Scholar
  2. Bastow JL, Sabo JL, Finlay JC, Power ME (2002) A basal aquatic- terrestrial trophic link in rivers: algal subsidies via shore-dwelling grasshoppers. Oecologia (in press)Google Scholar
  3. Busch DE, Fisher SG (1981) Metabolism of a desert stream. Freshwater Biol 11:301–307Google Scholar
  4. Cabana G, Rasmussen JB (1994) Modeling food chain structure and contaminant bioaccumulation using stable nitrogen isotopes. Nature 372: 255–257Google Scholar
  5. Cadenasso ML, Pickett STA (2000) Linking forest edge structure to edge function: mediation of herbivore damage. J Ecol 88:31–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coddington JA, Young LH, Coyle FA (1996) Estimating spider species richness in southern Appalachian cove hardwood forest. J Arachnol 24:11–28Google Scholar
  7. DeNiro MJ, Epstein S (1978) Influence of diet on the distribution of carbon isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42:495–506Google Scholar
  8. Doucett RR, Power G, Barton DR, Drimmie RJ, Cunjak RA (1996) Stable isotope analysis of nutrient pathways leading to Atlantic salmon. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 53:2058–2066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fagan WF, Cantrell RS, Cosner C (1999) How habitat edges change species interactions. Am Nat 153:165–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ferguson SH (2000) Predator size and distance to edge: is bigger better? Can J Zool 78:713–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Finlay JC, Power ME, Cabana G (1999) Effects of water velocity on algal carbon isotope ratios: Implications for river food web studies Limnol Oceanogr 44:1198–1203Google Scholar
  12. Fisher SG, Gray LJ (1983) Secondary production and organic matter processing by collector macroinvertebrates in a desert stream. Ecology 64:1217–1224Google Scholar
  13. Foelix RF (1996) Biology of spiders, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Gillespie RG (1987) The mechanism of habitat selection in the long-jawed orb-weaving spider Tetragnatha elongata (Araneae, Tetragnathidae). J Arachnol 15:81–90Google Scholar
  15. Gray LJ (1981) Species composition and life histories of aquatic insects in a lowland Sonoran desert stream. Am Midl Nat 106:229–242Google Scholar
  16. Gray LJ (1989) Emergence production and export of aquatic insects from a tallgrass prairie stream. Southwest Nat 34:313–318Google Scholar
  17. Gray LJ (1993) Response of insectivorous birds to emerging aquatic insects in riparian habitats of a tallgrass prairie stream. Am Midl Nat 129:288–300Google Scholar
  18. Greenstone MH (1984) Determinants of web spider species diversity: vegetation structural diversity vs prey availability. Oecologia 62:299–304Google Scholar
  19. Greenwood MT, Bickerton MA, Petts GE (1995) Spatial distribution of spiders on the floodplain of the River Trent, UK- the role of hydrologic setting. Regul Rivers Res Manage 10:303–313Google Scholar
  20. Grimm NB (1987) Nitrogen dynamics during succession in a desert stream. Ecology:1157–1170Google Scholar
  21. Grimm NB (1988) Role of macroinvertebrates in nitrogen dynamics of a desert stream. Ecology 69:1884–1893Google Scholar
  22. Hall RO Jr, Peterson BJ, Meyer JL (1998) Testing a nitrogen-cycling model for a forest stream by using a nitrogen-15 tracer addition. Ecosystems 1:283–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hansson L (1994) Vertebrate distributions relative to clear-cut edges in a boreal forest landscape. Landscape Ecol 9:105–115Google Scholar
  24. Heiling A (1999) Why do nocturnal orb-web spiders (Araneidae) search for light? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 46:43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Henschel JR, Stumpf H, Mahsberg D (1996) Increase of arachnid abundance and biomass at water shores. Rev Suisse Zool, pp 265–268Google Scholar
  26. Henschel J, Mahsberg D, Stumpf H (2002) Stream subsidies: the influence of river insects on spider predation of terrestrial insects. In: Polis GA, Power ME, Huxel GR (eds) Food webs at the landscape level. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (in press)Google Scholar
  27. Herrera LG (1998) Trophic relationships in a neotropical bat community: a preliminary study using carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures. Trop Ecol 39:23–29Google Scholar
  28. Hershey AE, Pastor J, Peterson BJ, Kling GW (1993) Stable isotopes resolve the drift paradox for Baetis mayflies in an arctic river. Ecology 74:2315–2325Google Scholar
  29. Jackson JK (1984) Aquatic insect emergence from a desert stream. Thesis. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USAGoogle Scholar
  30. Jackson JK, Fisher SG (1986) Secondary production, emergence and export of aquatic insects of a Sonoran Desert Stream. Ecology 67:629–638Google Scholar
  31. JMP (1995) Statistical discovery software. SAS Institute, Cary, N.C.Google Scholar
  32. Jordan MJ, Nadelhoffer KJ, Fry B (1997) Nitrogen cycling in forest and grass ecosystems irrigated with 15N enriched wastewater. Ecol Appl 7:864–881Google Scholar
  33. Junger M, Planas D (1994) Quantitative use of stable carbon isotope analysis to determine the trophic base of invertebrate communities in a boreal forest lotic system. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 51:52–61Google Scholar
  34. Kareiva P (1987) Habitat fragmentation and the stability of predator-prey interactions. Nature 326:388–390Google Scholar
  35. Kaston BJ (1978) How to know the spiders, 3rd edn. Brown, Dubuque, IowaGoogle Scholar
  36. Kelly JF (2000) Stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in the study of avian and mammalian trophic ecology. Can J Zool 78:1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Koba K, Takahashi K, Kohzu A (1999) A review of stable isotope studies of nitrogen dynamics in soil-plant systems in forest ecosystems. Jpn J Ecol 49:47–51Google Scholar
  38. Leopold A (1941) Lakes in relation to terrestrial life patterns. In: The University of Wisconsin symposium volume on hydrology. Madison, Wis., pp 17–22Google Scholar
  39. Likens GE, Bormann FH (1974) Linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. BioScience 24:447–456Google Scholar
  40. Malt S (1995) Epigeic spiders as an indicator system to evaluate biotope quality of riversides and floodplain grasslands on the River Ilm (Thuringia). In: Ruzicka V (ed) Proceedings of the 15th European Colloquium of Arachnology, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, pp 136–146Google Scholar
  41. Martí E, Fisher SG, Schade JD, Grimm NB (2000) Flood frequency and stream-riparian linkages in arid lands. In: Jones JB Mulholland PJ (eds) Stream and groundwaters. Academic Press, New York, pp 111–136Google Scholar
  42. Mulholland PJ, Tank JL, Sanzone DM, Wollheim WM, Peterson BJ, Webster JR, Meyer JL (2000a) Nitrogen cycling in a deciduous forest stream determined from a tracer 15N addition experiment in Walker Branch, Tennessee. Ecol Monogr 70:471–493Google Scholar
  43. Mulholland PJ, Tank JL, Sanzone DM, Wollheim WM, Peterson BJ, Webster JR, Meyer JL (2000b) Food resources of stream macroinvertebrates determined by natural- abundance stable C and N isotopes and a 15N addition. J N Am Benthol Soc 19:145–157Google Scholar
  44. Nakano S, Murakami M (2001) Reciprocal subsidies: dynamic interdependence between terrestrial and aquatic food webs. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:166–170PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Nyffeler M, Sterling WL, Dean DA (1994) How spiders make a living. Environ Entomol 23:1357–1367Google Scholar
  46. Orians GH, Wittenberger JF (1991) Spatial and temporal scales in habitat selection. Am Nat 137:S29–S49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Peterson BJ, Fry B (1987) Stable isotopes in ecosystem studies. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 18:293–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Polis GA, Hurd SD (1996) Linking marine and terrestrial food webs: allochthonous input from the ocean supports high secondary production in small islands and coastal land communities. Am Nat 147:396–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ponsard S, Arditi R (2000) What can stable isotopes (δ15N and δ13C) tell about the food web of soil macroinvertebrates? Ecology 81:852–864Google Scholar
  50. Power ME, Rainey WE (2000) Food webs and resource sheds: towards spatially delimiting trophic interactions. In: Hutchings MJ, John EA, Stewart AJA (eds) The ecological consequences of environmental heterogeneity. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 291–314Google Scholar
  51. Power ME, Rainey WE, Parker MS, Sabo JL, Smyth A, Khandwala S, Finlay JC, McNeely FC, Marsee K, Anderson C (2002) River to watershed subsidies in old-growth conifer forests. In: Polis GA, Power ME, Huxel GR (eds) Food webs at the landscape level. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (in press)Google Scholar
  52. Rainey WE, Pierson ED, Coberg M, Barclay JH (1992) Bats in hollow redwoods: seasonal use and role in nutrient transfer into old growth communities. Bat Res News 33:71Google Scholar
  53. Sabo JL, Power ME (2002) River-watershed exchange: effects of riverine subsidies on riparian lizards and their terrestrial prey. Ecology (in press)Google Scholar
  54. Sanzone DM (2001) Linking communities across ecosystem boundaries: the influence of aquatic subsidies on terrestrial predators. Doctoral thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.Google Scholar
  55. Sanzone DM, Draney ML (1996) Effect of woody debris on spider assemblages. In: Crossley DA Jr (ed) Arthropod diversity and coarse woody debris in southern forests, report 232. USFS, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  56. SAS (1996) SAS version 6.12. SAS Institute, Cary, N.C.Google Scholar
  57. Schade JD, Fisher SG (1997) Leaf litter in a Sonoran Desert stream ecosystem. J N Am Benthol Soc 16:612–626Google Scholar
  58. Shapiro SS, Wilk MB (1965) An analysis of variance test for normality (complete samples). Biometrika 52:591–611Google Scholar
  59. Sokal RR, Rohlf F (1995) Biometry, 3rd edn. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  60. Southwood TRE, Brown VK, Reader PM (1979) The relationship of plant and insect diversities in succession. Biol J Linn Soc 12:327–348Google Scholar
  61. Stamp NE (1978) Breeding birds of a riparian woodland in south-central Arizona. Condor 80:64–71Google Scholar
  62. Stamp NE, Ohmart RD (1979) Rodents of desert shrub and riparian woodland habitats in the Sonoran Desert. Southwest Nat 24:279–289Google Scholar
  63. Summerhayes VS, Elton CS (1923) Contributions to the ecology of Spitsbergen and Bear Island. J Ecol 11:214–286Google Scholar
  64. Tank JL, Meyer JL, Sanzone DM, Mulhollland PJ, Webster JR, Peterson BJ (2000) Analysis of nitrogen cycling in a forest stream during autumn using a 15N-tracer addition. Limnol Oceanogr 45:1013–1029Google Scholar
  65. Webster JR, Ehrman TP (1996) Solute dynamics. In: Hauer FR Lamberti GA (eds) Methods in stream ecology. Academic Press, New York, pp 145–160Google Scholar
  66. Williams DD, Ambrose LG, Browning LN (1995) Trophic dynamics of two sympatric species of riparian spider (Araneae: Tetragnathidae). Can J Zool 73:1545–1553Google Scholar
  67. Williams B, Silcock D, Young M (1999) Seasonal dynamics of N in two Sphagnum moss species and the underlying peat treated with 15NH415NO3. Biogeochemistry 45:285–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Winning MA, Connolly RM, Loneragan NR, Bunn SE (1999) 15N enrichment as a method of separating the isotopic signatures of seagrass and its epiphytes for food web analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 189:289–294Google Scholar
  69. Wise DH (1993) Spiders in ecological webs. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Sanzone
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. L. Meyer
    • 2
  • E. Marti
    • 3
  • E. P. Gardiner
    • 4
  • J. L. Tank
    • 5
  • N. B. Grimm
    • 6
  1. 1.The Ecosystems CenterMarine Biological LabWoods HoleUSA
  2. 2.Institute of EcologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Centre d'Estudis Avançats de BlanesBlanes Spain
  4. 4.American Museum of Natural HistoryScience BulletinsNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Dept. of Biological SciencesUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  6. 6.Department of BiologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations