Bottom-up biodiversity effects increase resource subsidy flux between ecosystems

Daniel C. Allen, Caryn C. Vaughn, Jeffrey F. Kelly, Joshua T. Cooper, Michael H. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although biodiversity can increase ecosystem productivity and adjacent ecosystems are often linked by resource flows between them, the relationship between biodiversity and resource subsidies is not well understood. Here we test the influence of biodiversity on resource subsidy flux by manipulating freshwater mussel species richness and documenting the effects on a trophic cascade from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems. In a mesocosm experiment, mussel effects on algae were linked through stable isotope analyses to mussel-derived nitrogen subsidies, but mussel biodiversity effects on algal accumulation were not significant. In contrast, mussel biodiversity significantly increased aquatic insect emergence rates, because aquatic insects were responding to mussel-induced changes in algal community structure instead of algal accumulation. In turn, mussel biodiversity also significantly increased terrestrial spider abundance as spiders tracked increases in aquatic insect prey after a reproduction event. In a comparative field study, we found that sites with greater mussel species richness had higher aquatic insect emergence rates. These results show that, because food webs in adjacent ecosystems are often linked, biodiversity effects in one ecosystem can influence adjacent ecosystems as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2165-2174
Number of pages10
JournalEcology
Volume93
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • Aquatic-terrestrial linkages
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem function (BEF)
  • Bivalvia: unionidae
  • Resource subsidies
  • Stable isotope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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  • Cite this

    Allen, D. C., Vaughn, C. C., Kelly, J. F., Cooper, J. T., & Engel, M. H. (2012). Bottom-up biodiversity effects increase resource subsidy flux between ecosystems. Ecology, 93(10), 2165-2174. https://doi.org/10.1890/11-1541.1