Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 160, Issue 4, pp 757–770 | Cite as

Placing biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in context: environmental perturbations and the effects of species richness in a stream field experiment

  • Brendan G. McKie
  • Markus Schindler
  • Mark O. Gessner
  • Björn Malmqvist
Community ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

Greater biodiversity is often associated with increased ecosystem process rates, and is expected to enhance the stability of ecosystem functioning under abiotic stress. However, these relationships might themselves be altered by environmental factors, complicating prediction of the effects of species loss in ecosystems subjected to abiotic stress. In boreal streams, we investigated effects of biodiversity and two abiotic perturbations on three related indices of ecosystem functioning: leaf decomposition, detritivore leaf processing efficiency (LPE) and detritivore growth. Replicate field enclosures containing leaves and detritivore assemblages were exposed to liming and nutrient enrichment, raising pH and nutrient levels. Both treatments constitute perturbations for our naturally acidic and nutrient-poor streams. We also varied detritivore species richness and density. The effects of the abiotic and diversity manipulations were similar in magnitude, but whereas leaf decomposition increased by 18% and 8% following liming and nutrient enrichment, respectively, increased detritivore richness reduced leaf decomposition (6%), detritivore LPE (19%) and detritivore growth (12%). The detritivore richness effect on growth was associated with negative trait-independent complementarity, indicating interspecific interference competition. These interactions were apparently alleviated in both enriched and limed enclosures, as trait-independent complementarity became less negative. LPE increased with detritivore density in the monocultures, indicating benefits of intra-specific aggregation that outweighed the costs of intra-specific competition, and dilution of these benefits probably contributed to lowered leaf decomposition in the species mixtures. Finally, the effects of liming were reduced in most species mixtures relative to the monocultures. These results demonstrate how environmental changes might regulate the consequences of species loss for functioning in anthropogenically perturbed ecosystems, and highlight potential influences of biodiversity on functional stability. Additionally, the negative effects of richness and positive effects of density in our field study were opposite to previous laboratory observations, further illustrating the importance of environmental context for biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships.

Keywords

Density dependence Diversity–stability Intra-specific aggregation Multiple stressors Statistical averaging 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Johan Baudou for assisting with animal collection, and Richard Illi and the AUA lab for nutrient analyses. Constructive comments, particularly on statistical issues, by Barbara Downes, Lars Gamfeldt and an anonymous referee resulted in substantial improvements to a previous manuscript, and are greatly appreciated. This research was conducted within the RIVFUNCTION project (www.ecolab.ups-tlse.fr/rivfunction) supported by the EU Commission (EVK1-CT-2001-00088) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research (SBF no. 01.0087), with additional funding from a Swedish Research Council grant to B. Malmqvist (VR 2003-2495). All experiments comply with Swedish laws.

References

  1. Ahlström J (2006) Försurning och kalkning av sjöar och vattendrag i Västerbottens län: Årsrapport 2006 (med bilagor). In. Länsstyrelsen Västerbottens Län, Umeå, pp 44 (main report) plus attachments with individual stream reportsGoogle Scholar
  2. Balvanera P et al (2006) Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning and services. Ecol Lett 9:1146–1156PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bärlocher F, Kendrick B (1975) Leaf-conditioning by microorganisms. Oecologia 20:359–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Biles CL, Solan M, Isaksson I, Paterson DM, Emes C, Raffaelli DG (2003) Flow modifies the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: an in situ study of estuarine sediments. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 285:165–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown JH, Gillooly JF, Allen AP, Savage VM, West GB (2004) Toward a metabolic theory of ecology. Ecology 85:1771–1789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cardinale BJ, Palmer MA (2002) Disturbance moderates biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships: evidence from suspension feeding caddisflies in stream mesocosms. Ecology 83:1915–1927Google Scholar
  7. Cardinale BJ, Nelson K, Palmer MA (2000) Linking species diversity to the functioning of ecosystems: on the importance of environmental context. Oikos 91:175–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cardinale BJ et al (2006) Effects of biodiversity on the functioning of trophic groups and ecosystems. Nature 443:989–992PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dang CK, Chauvet E, Gessner MO (2005) Magnitude and variability of process rates in fungal diversity-litter decomposition relationships. Ecol Lett 8:1129–1137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dangles O, Malmqvist B (2004) Species richness-decomposition relationships depend on species dominance. Ecol Lett 7:395–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dangles O, Gessner MO, Guerold F, Chauvet E (2004) Impacts of stream acidification on litter breakdown: implications for assessing ecosystem functioning. J Appl Ecol 41:365–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DEV (1985) Deutsche Einheitsverfahren zur Wasser-, Abwasser- und Schlammuntersuchung. Wasserchemische Gesellschaft (Fachgruppe Wasserchemie in der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker und Normenausschuss Wasserwesen). Deutsches Institut für Normung, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  13. Doak DF, Bigger D, Harding EK, Marvier MA, O’Malley RE, Thomson D (1998) The statistical inevitability of stability–diversity relationships in community ecology. Am Nat 151:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Doroszuk A, Te Brake E, Crespo-Gonzalez D, Kammenga JE (2007) Response of secondary production and its components to multiple stressors in nematode field populations. J Appl Ecol 44:446–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dzialowski AR, Smith VH (2008) Nutrient dependent effects of consumer identity and diversity on freshwater ecosystem function. Freshwater Biol 53:148–158Google Scholar
  16. Fox JW (2005) Interpreting the “selection effect” of biodiversity on ecosystem function. Ecol Lett 8:846–856CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fridley JD (2002) Resource availability dominates and alters the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem productivity in experimental plant communities. Oecologia 132:271–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gamfeldt L, Hillebrand H, Jonsson PR (2008) Multiple functions increase the importance of biodiversity for overall ecosystem functioning. Ecology 89:1223–1231PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gessner MO, Chauvet E (2002) A case for using litter breakdown to assess functional stream integrity. Ecol Appl 12:498–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gillooly JF, Brown JH, West GB, Savage VM, Charnov EL (2001) Effects of size and temperature on metabolic rate. Science 293:2248–2251PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gulis V, Suberkropp K (2003) Effect of inorganic nutrients on relative contributions of fungi and bacteria to carbon flow from submerged decomposing leaf litter. Microb Ecol 45:11–19PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haynes RJ, Naidu R (1998) Influence of lime, fertilizer and manure applications on soil organic matter content and soil physical conditions: a review. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 51:123–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hector A, Bagchi R (2007) Biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature 448:186–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hemphill N (1991) Disturbance and variation in competition between two stream insects. Ecology 72:864–872CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huryn AD, Huryn VMB, Arbuckle CJ, Tsomides L (2002) Catchment land-use, macroinvertebrates and detritus processing in headwater streams: taxonomic richness versus function. Freshwater Biol 47:401–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Huston MA (1997) Hidden treatments in ecological experiments: re-evaluating the ecosystem function of biodiversity. Oecologia 110:449–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jansson M, Bergström A-K, Drakare S, Blomqvist P (2001) Nutrient limitation of bacterioplankton and phytoplankton in humic lakes in northern Sweden. Freshwater Biol 46:653–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jenkins CC, Suberkropp K (1995) The influence of water chemistry on the enzymatic degradation of leaves in streams. Freshwater Biol 33:245–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jiang L, Pu Z, Nemergut DR (2008) On the importance of the negative selection effect for the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Oikos 117:488–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jonsson M (2006) Species richness effects on ecosystem functioning increase with time in an ephemeral resource system. Acta Oecol 29:72–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jonsson M, Malmqvist B (2003) Mechanisms behind positive diversity effects on ecosystem functioning: testing the facilitation and interference hypotheses. Oecologia 134:554–559PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Kenward MG, Roger JH (1997) Small sample inference for fixed effects from restricted maximum likelihood. Biometrics 53:983–987PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Laudon H, Westling O, Bergquist A, Bishop K (2004) Episodic acidification in northern Sweden: a regional assessment of the anthropogenic component. J Hydrol 297:162–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lecerf A, Dobson M, Dang CK, Chauvet E (2005) Riparian plant species loss alters trophic dynamics in detritus-based stream ecosystems. Oecologia 146:432–442PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lecerf A, Risnoveanu G, Popescu C, Gessner MO, Chauvet E (2007) Decomposition of diverse litter mixtures in streams. Ecology 88:219–227PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lieske R, Zwick P (2007) Food preference, growth and maturation of Nemurella pictetii (Plecoptera: Nemouridae). Freshwater Biol 52:1187–1197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lillehammer A (1988) Stoneflies (Plecoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Brill, Scandinavian Science Press, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  38. Loreau M (2002) A new look at the relationship between diversity and stability. In: Loreau M, Naeem S, Inchausti P et al (eds) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: synthesis and perspectives. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 79–91Google Scholar
  39. Loreau M, Hector A (2001) Partitioning selection and complementarity in biodiversity experiments. Nature 412:72–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lotka AJ (1932) The growth of mixed populations: two species competing for a common food supply. J Wash Acad Sci 22:461–469Google Scholar
  41. Malmqvist B (1993) Interactions in stream leaf packs—effects of a stonefly predator on detritivores and organic-matter processing. Oikos 66:454–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Malmqvist B, Rundle S (2002) Threats to the running water ecosystems of the world. Environ Conserv 29:134–153Google Scholar
  43. McKie BG, Pearson RG (2006) Environmental variation and the predator-specific responses of tropical stream insects: effects of temperature and predation on survival and development of Australian Chironomidae (Diptera). Oecologia 149:328-339PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McKie BG, Malmqvist B (2009) Assessing ecosystem functioning in streams affected by forest management: increased leaf decomposition occurs without changes to the composition of benthic assemblages. Freshwater Biol doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2008.02150.x
  45. McKie BG, Petrin Z, Malmqvist B (2006) Mitigation or disturbance? Effects of liming on macroinvertebrate assemblage structure and leaf-litter decomposition in the humic streams of northern Sweden. J Appl Ecol 43:780–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McKie BG, Woodward G, Hladyz S, Nistorescu M, Preda E, Popescu C, Giller PS, Malmqvist B (2008) Ecosystem functioning in stream assemblages from different regions: contrasting responses to variation in detritivore richness, evenness and density. J Anim Ecol 77:495–504PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mulder CPH, Koricheva J, Huss-Danell K, Högberg P, Joshi J (1999) Insects affect relationships between plant species richness and ecosystem processes. Ecol Lett 2:237–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mulder CPH, Uliassi DD, Doak DF (2001) Physical stress and diversity–productivity relationships: the role of positive interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:6704–6708PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Münster U (1999) Bioavailability of nutrients. In: Keskitalo J, Eloranta P (eds) Limnology of humic waters. Backhuys, Leiden, pp 77–94Google Scholar
  50. Murphy JF, Giller PS, Horan MA (1998) Spatial scale and the aggregation of stream macroinvertebrates associated with leaf packs. Freshwater Biol 39:325–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pascoal C, Cassio F, Marcotegui A, Sanz B, Gomes P (2005) Role of fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates in leaf litter breakdown in a polluted river. J North Am Benthol Soc 24:784–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Petrin Z, McKie BG, Buffam I, Laudon H, Malmqvist B (2007) Landscape-controlled chemistry variation affects communities and ecosystem function in headwater streams. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 64:1563–1572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Petrin Z, Englund G, Malmqvist B (2008) Contrasting effects of anthropogenic and natural acidity in streams: a meta-analysis. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 275:1143–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Presa Abós C, Lepori F, McKie BG, Malmqvist B (2006) Aggregation among resource patches can promote coexistence in stream-living shredders. Freshwater Biol 51:545–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  56. Robinson CT, Gessner MO (2000) Nutrient addition accelerates leaf breakdown in an alpine springbrook. Oecologia 122:258–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rohlfs M, Hoffmeister TS (2004) Spatial aggregation across ephemeral resource patches in insect communities: an adaptive response to natural enemies? Oecologia 140:654–661PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rosberg I, Frank J, Stuanes AO (2006) Effects of liming and fertilization on tree growth and nutrient cycling in a Scots pine ecosystem in Norway. For Ecol Manage 237:191–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Searle SR, Casella G, McCulloch CE (1992) Variance components. Wiley, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sommer U (1992) Phosphorus-limited Daphnia—intraspecific facilitation instead of competition. Limnol Oceanogr 37:966–973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Srivastava DS, Vellend M (2005) Biodiversity-ecosystem function research: is it relevant to conservation? Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 36:267–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thompson R, Starzomski BM (2007) What does biodiversity actually do? A review for managers and policy makers. Biodivers Conserv 16:1359–1378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tilman D, Reich PB, Knops JMH (2006) Biodiversity and ecosystem stability in a decade-long grassland experiment. Nature 441:629–632PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vinebrooke RD, Cottingham KL, Norberg J, Scheffer M, Dodson SI, Maberly SC, Sommer U (2004) Impacts of multiple stressors on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: the role of species co-tolerance. Oikos 104:451–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wojdak JM (2005) Relative strength of top-down, bottom-up, and consumer species richness effects on pond ecosystems. Ecol Monogr 75:489–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Woodcock TS, Huryn AD (2005) Leaf litter processing and invertebrate assemblages along a pollution gradient in a Maine (USA) headwater stream. Environ Pollut 134:363–375PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brendan G. McKie
    • 1
    • 3
  • Markus Schindler
    • 2
  • Mark O. Gessner
    • 2
  • Björn Malmqvist
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Environmental ScienceUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Department of Aquatic EcologyEAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, and Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ), ETH ZurichKastanienbaumSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Aquatic Sciences and AssessmentSLUUppsalaSweden

Personalised recommendations