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Salmon-derived nitrogen in terrestrial invertebrates from coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Hocking MD, Reimchen TE - BMC Ecol. (2002)

Bottom Line: We observed increasing delta15N levels in our invertebrate groups with increasing consumption of dietary protein.Invertebrates varied in delta13C but did not always vary predictably with trophic level or habitat.From 19.4 to 71.5% of invertebrate total nitrogen was originally derived from salmon depending on taxa, watershed, and degree of fractionation from the source.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Victoria, B,C, V8W 3NS, Canada. morganhocking@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT

Background: Bi-directional flow of nutrients between marine and terrestrial ecosystems can provide essential resources that structure communities in transitional habitats. On the Pacific coast of North America, anadromous salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) constitute a dominant nutrient subsidy to aquatic habitats and riparian vegetation, although the contribution to terrestrial habitats is not well established. We use a dual isotope approach of delta15N and delta13C to test for the contribution of salmon nutrients to multiple trophic levels of litter-based terrestrial invertebrates below and above waterfalls that act as a barrier to salmon migration on two watersheds in coastal British Columbia.

Results: Invertebrates varied predictably in delta15N with enrichment of 3-8 per thousand below the falls compared with above the falls in all trophic groups on both watersheds. We observed increasing delta15N levels in our invertebrate groups with increasing consumption of dietary protein. Invertebrates varied in delta13C but did not always vary predictably with trophic level or habitat. From 19.4 to 71.5% of invertebrate total nitrogen was originally derived from salmon depending on taxa, watershed, and degree of fractionation from the source.

Conclusions: Enrichment of delta15N in the invertebrate community below the falls in conjunction with the absence of delta13C enrichment suggests that enrichment in delta15N occurs primarily through salmon-derived nitrogen subsidies to litter, soil and vegetation N pools rather than from direct consumption of salmon tissue or salmon tissue consumers. Salmon nutrient subsidies to terrestrial habitats may result in shifts in invertebrate community structure, with subsequent implications for higher vertebrate consumers, particularly the passerines.

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δ15N and δ13C values in ground beetles (Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) below and above waterfalls on the Clatse and Neekas Rivers, British Columbia.
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Figure 4: δ15N and δ13C values in ground beetles (Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) below and above waterfalls on the Clatse and Neekas Rivers, British Columbia.

Mentions: In order to assess niche differences within and among groups, we examined the relationships between δ15N and δ13C. Below the falls, there were significant positive correlations between δ15N and δ13C in spiders on the Clatse (R = 0.562; p = 0.012) and on the Neekas (R = 0.741; p = 0.001), and in carabid beetles on the Clatse (R = 0.682; p = 0.005) and on the Neekas (R = 0.538; p = 0.010) (Figure 4). None of the remaining correlations were significant in groups collected below the falls, and there were no significant correlations between δ15N and δ13C for any group collected above the falls.


Salmon-derived nitrogen in terrestrial invertebrates from coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest.

Hocking MD, Reimchen TE - BMC Ecol. (2002)

δ15N and δ13C values in ground beetles (Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) below and above waterfalls on the Clatse and Neekas Rivers, British Columbia.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC101382&req=5

Figure 4: δ15N and δ13C values in ground beetles (Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) below and above waterfalls on the Clatse and Neekas Rivers, British Columbia.
Mentions: In order to assess niche differences within and among groups, we examined the relationships between δ15N and δ13C. Below the falls, there were significant positive correlations between δ15N and δ13C in spiders on the Clatse (R = 0.562; p = 0.012) and on the Neekas (R = 0.741; p = 0.001), and in carabid beetles on the Clatse (R = 0.682; p = 0.005) and on the Neekas (R = 0.538; p = 0.010) (Figure 4). None of the remaining correlations were significant in groups collected below the falls, and there were no significant correlations between δ15N and δ13C for any group collected above the falls.

Bottom Line: We observed increasing delta15N levels in our invertebrate groups with increasing consumption of dietary protein.Invertebrates varied in delta13C but did not always vary predictably with trophic level or habitat.From 19.4 to 71.5% of invertebrate total nitrogen was originally derived from salmon depending on taxa, watershed, and degree of fractionation from the source.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Victoria, B,C, V8W 3NS, Canada. morganhocking@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT

Background: Bi-directional flow of nutrients between marine and terrestrial ecosystems can provide essential resources that structure communities in transitional habitats. On the Pacific coast of North America, anadromous salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) constitute a dominant nutrient subsidy to aquatic habitats and riparian vegetation, although the contribution to terrestrial habitats is not well established. We use a dual isotope approach of delta15N and delta13C to test for the contribution of salmon nutrients to multiple trophic levels of litter-based terrestrial invertebrates below and above waterfalls that act as a barrier to salmon migration on two watersheds in coastal British Columbia.

Results: Invertebrates varied predictably in delta15N with enrichment of 3-8 per thousand below the falls compared with above the falls in all trophic groups on both watersheds. We observed increasing delta15N levels in our invertebrate groups with increasing consumption of dietary protein. Invertebrates varied in delta13C but did not always vary predictably with trophic level or habitat. From 19.4 to 71.5% of invertebrate total nitrogen was originally derived from salmon depending on taxa, watershed, and degree of fractionation from the source.

Conclusions: Enrichment of delta15N in the invertebrate community below the falls in conjunction with the absence of delta13C enrichment suggests that enrichment in delta15N occurs primarily through salmon-derived nitrogen subsidies to litter, soil and vegetation N pools rather than from direct consumption of salmon tissue or salmon tissue consumers. Salmon nutrient subsidies to terrestrial habitats may result in shifts in invertebrate community structure, with subsequent implications for higher vertebrate consumers, particularly the passerines.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus