Predicted rainfall changes disrupt trophic interactions in a tropical aquatic ecosystem

Aliny P F PiresVinicius F Farjalla


Changes in the distribution of rainfall and the occurrence of extreme rain events will alter the size and persistence of aquatic ecosystems. Such alterations may affect the structure of local aquatic communities in terms of species composition, and by altering species interactions. In many aquatic ecosystems, leaf litter sustains detrital food webs and could regulate the responses of communities to changes in rainfall. Few empirical studies have focused on how rainfall changes will affect aquatic communities and none have evaluated if basal resource diversity can increase resistance to such rainfall effects. In this study, we used water-holding terrestrial bromeliads, a tropical aquatic ecosystem, to test how predicted rainfall changes and litter diversity may affect community composition and trophic interactions. We used structural equation modeling to investigate the combined effects of rainfall changes and litter diversity on trophic interactions. We demonstrated that changes in rainfall disrupted trophic relationships, even though there were only minor direct effects on species abundance, richness, and community composition. Litter diversity was not able to reduce the impact of changes in rainfall on trophic interactions. W...Continue Reading


Apr 20, 2017·PloS One·Aliny P F PiresEdwin T H M Peeters
May 2, 2018·Ecology·Aliny P F PiresVinicius F Farjalla
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