Community Ecology

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 109–116 | Cite as

Trophic interactions in the phytotelmata communities of the Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia purpurea

  • T. E. Miller
  • L. Horth
  • R. H. Reeves
Open Access


A pulse-perturbation experiment, designed to assess the impact of top predators, resource availability, and the interaction between predators and resources, was conducted in the inquiline community found in a natural population of the pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. Experimental manipulations of pitchers were removal of the top predator (the filter-feeding larvae of the mosquito Wyeomia smithii), addition of resources (mealworms), and the combination of the two. Pitchers were then censused every three days for 15 days. Top-predator removal had little effect on the remaining community, in part because mosquitoes rapidly recolonized the pitchers. Resource addition resulted in large, persistent increases in both bacterial and protozoan abundances but had no effect on rotifers and mites. Therefore, “top-down” effects were relatively weak. In contrast, “bottom-up” effects were strong at the lowest trophic level (bacteria) but differentially affected species at a higher trophic level that feed on bacteria. The interactions between top-down and bottom-up forces were difficult to quantify because of the rapid recolonization by mosquitoes.


Aquatic systems Bacteria Food webs Midges Mites Mosquitoes Phytotelmata Protozoa Rotifers Trophic cascades 



Analysis of Variance


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2001

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Authors and Affiliations

  • T. E. Miller
    • 1
  • L. Horth
    • 1
  • R. H. Reeves
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityFloridaUSA

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