Species sorting along a subsidy gradient alters bacterial community stability

M E MuscarellaJay T Lennon


The movement of resources between terrestrial and aquatic habitats has strong effects on ecological processes in recipient ecosystems. Allochthonous inputs modify the quality and quantity of the available resource pool in ways that may alter the composition and stability of recipient communities. Inputs of terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (tDOC) into aquatic ecosystems represent a large influx of resources that has the potential to affect local communities, especially microorganisms. To evaluate the effects of terrestrial inputs on aquatic bacterial community composition and stability, we manipulated the supply rate of tDOC to a set of experimental ponds. Along the tDOC supply gradient, we measured changes in diversity and taxon-specific changes in relative abundance and activity. We then determined community stability by perturbing each pond using a pulse of inorganic nutrients and measuring changes in composition and activity (i.e., responsiveness) along the gradient. Terrestrial DOC supply significantly altered the composition of the active bacterial community. The composition of the active bacterial community changed via decreases in richness and evenness as well as taxon-specific changes in relative abundance and activ...Continue Reading


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