The influence of hydrological connectivity on food web structure in floodplain lakes

Michael Reid, Michael Delong, Martin Thoms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hydrological connectivity is an important driver of ecosystem structure in floodplain rivers; however, little is known of how hydrological connectivity affects the structure and functioning of food webs in these systems. This study examines aquatic food web structure in 10 floodplain lakes on a dryland river floodplain in eastern Australia across a connectivity gradient. Results for fishes suggest that benthic carbon sources are more important in high connectivity billabongs than in low connectivity billabongs and that pelagic sources are more important in low connectivity billabongs than in high connectivity billabongs. Fishes in less connected billabongs were also found to feed at higher trophic levels than in more connected billabongs. We hypothesize that in high connectivity billabongs, where suitable benthic primary sources are abundant, common fish species such as carp and bony bream feed as detritivores or herbivores; while in low connectivity billabongs, where benthic sources are less abundant, the same species feed as planktivores, insectivores or piscivores. This dietary difference may also be promoted by greater predation efficiency in less structurally complex low connectivity billabongs. The feeding behaviour of these fish species subsequently influences the trophic positions of fishes higher in the food chain and ultimately the total food chain lengths that high and low connectivity billabongs support. The results of this study highlight the importance of hydrological connectivity to the structure of food webs in these systems and the potential for them to be affected by water resource development
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-844
Number of pages18
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Volume28
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Fish
Lakes
food web
connectivity
floodplain
lake
Rivers
fish
Water resources
Chain length
Ecosystems
food chain
Carbon
planktivore
piscivore
insectivore
ecosystem structure
feeding behavior
river
trophic level

Cite this

Reid, Michael ; Delong, Michael ; Thoms, Martin. / The influence of hydrological connectivity on food web structure in floodplain lakes. In: River Research and Applications. 2012 ; Vol. 28, No. 7. pp. 827-844.
@article{c39fa8967c924f92b0ed1d89c9022bb1,
title = "The influence of hydrological connectivity on food web structure in floodplain lakes",
abstract = "Hydrological connectivity is an important driver of ecosystem structure in floodplain rivers; however, little is known of how hydrological connectivity affects the structure and functioning of food webs in these systems. This study examines aquatic food web structure in 10 floodplain lakes on a dryland river floodplain in eastern Australia across a connectivity gradient. Results for fishes suggest that benthic carbon sources are more important in high connectivity billabongs than in low connectivity billabongs and that pelagic sources are more important in low connectivity billabongs than in high connectivity billabongs. Fishes in less connected billabongs were also found to feed at higher trophic levels than in more connected billabongs. We hypothesize that in high connectivity billabongs, where suitable benthic primary sources are abundant, common fish species such as carp and bony bream feed as detritivores or herbivores; while in low connectivity billabongs, where benthic sources are less abundant, the same species feed as planktivores, insectivores or piscivores. This dietary difference may also be promoted by greater predation efficiency in less structurally complex low connectivity billabongs. The feeding behaviour of these fish species subsequently influences the trophic positions of fishes higher in the food chain and ultimately the total food chain lengths that high and low connectivity billabongs support. The results of this study highlight the importance of hydrological connectivity to the structure of food webs in these systems and the potential for them to be affected by water resource development",
keywords = "food webs, stable isotopes, dryland rivers, connectivity, Australia",
author = "Michael Reid and Michael Delong and Martin Thoms",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.1002/rra.1491",
language = "English",
volume = "28",
pages = "827--844",
journal = "River Research and Applications",
issn = "0886-9375",
publisher = "John Wiley & Sons",
number = "7",

}

The influence of hydrological connectivity on food web structure in floodplain lakes. / Reid, Michael; Delong, Michael; Thoms, Martin.

In: River Research and Applications, Vol. 28, No. 7, 2012, p. 827-844.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The influence of hydrological connectivity on food web structure in floodplain lakes

AU - Reid, Michael

AU - Delong, Michael

AU - Thoms, Martin

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - Hydrological connectivity is an important driver of ecosystem structure in floodplain rivers; however, little is known of how hydrological connectivity affects the structure and functioning of food webs in these systems. This study examines aquatic food web structure in 10 floodplain lakes on a dryland river floodplain in eastern Australia across a connectivity gradient. Results for fishes suggest that benthic carbon sources are more important in high connectivity billabongs than in low connectivity billabongs and that pelagic sources are more important in low connectivity billabongs than in high connectivity billabongs. Fishes in less connected billabongs were also found to feed at higher trophic levels than in more connected billabongs. We hypothesize that in high connectivity billabongs, where suitable benthic primary sources are abundant, common fish species such as carp and bony bream feed as detritivores or herbivores; while in low connectivity billabongs, where benthic sources are less abundant, the same species feed as planktivores, insectivores or piscivores. This dietary difference may also be promoted by greater predation efficiency in less structurally complex low connectivity billabongs. The feeding behaviour of these fish species subsequently influences the trophic positions of fishes higher in the food chain and ultimately the total food chain lengths that high and low connectivity billabongs support. The results of this study highlight the importance of hydrological connectivity to the structure of food webs in these systems and the potential for them to be affected by water resource development

AB - Hydrological connectivity is an important driver of ecosystem structure in floodplain rivers; however, little is known of how hydrological connectivity affects the structure and functioning of food webs in these systems. This study examines aquatic food web structure in 10 floodplain lakes on a dryland river floodplain in eastern Australia across a connectivity gradient. Results for fishes suggest that benthic carbon sources are more important in high connectivity billabongs than in low connectivity billabongs and that pelagic sources are more important in low connectivity billabongs than in high connectivity billabongs. Fishes in less connected billabongs were also found to feed at higher trophic levels than in more connected billabongs. We hypothesize that in high connectivity billabongs, where suitable benthic primary sources are abundant, common fish species such as carp and bony bream feed as detritivores or herbivores; while in low connectivity billabongs, where benthic sources are less abundant, the same species feed as planktivores, insectivores or piscivores. This dietary difference may also be promoted by greater predation efficiency in less structurally complex low connectivity billabongs. The feeding behaviour of these fish species subsequently influences the trophic positions of fishes higher in the food chain and ultimately the total food chain lengths that high and low connectivity billabongs support. The results of this study highlight the importance of hydrological connectivity to the structure of food webs in these systems and the potential for them to be affected by water resource development

KW - food webs

KW - stable isotopes

KW - dryland rivers

KW - connectivity

KW - Australia

U2 - 10.1002/rra.1491

DO - 10.1002/rra.1491

M3 - Article

VL - 28

SP - 827

EP - 844

JO - River Research and Applications

JF - River Research and Applications

SN - 0886-9375

IS - 7

ER -