The role of discharge variation in scaling of drainage area and food chain length in rivers

John Sabo, Jacques C. Finlay, Theodore Kennedy, David M. Post

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

128 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Food chain length (FCL) is a fundamental component of food web structure. Studies in a variety of ecosystems suggest that FCL is determined by energy supply, environmental stability, and/or ecosystem size, but the nature of the relationship between environmental stability and FCL, and the mechanism linking ecosystem size to FCL, remain unclear. Here we show that FCL increases with drainage area and decreases with hydrologic variability and intermittency across 36 North American rivers. Our analysis further suggests that hydrologic variability is the mechanismunderlying the correlation between ecosystem size and FCL in rivers. Ecosystem size lengthens river food chains by integrating and attenuating discharge variation through stream networks, thereby enhancing environmental stability in larger river systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-967
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume330
Issue number6006
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 12 2010

Fingerprint

Food Chain
Rivers
Drainage
Ecosystem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

The role of discharge variation in scaling of drainage area and food chain length in rivers. / Sabo, John; Finlay, Jacques C.; Kennedy, Theodore; Post, David M.

In: Science, Vol. 330, No. 6006, 12.11.2010, p. 965-967.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sabo, John ; Finlay, Jacques C. ; Kennedy, Theodore ; Post, David M. / The role of discharge variation in scaling of drainage area and food chain length in rivers. In: Science. 2010 ; Vol. 330, No. 6006. pp. 965-967.
@article{0b73721d73c047c1961f3665fff9dee6,
title = "The role of discharge variation in scaling of drainage area and food chain length in rivers",
abstract = "Food chain length (FCL) is a fundamental component of food web structure. Studies in a variety of ecosystems suggest that FCL is determined by energy supply, environmental stability, and/or ecosystem size, but the nature of the relationship between environmental stability and FCL, and the mechanism linking ecosystem size to FCL, remain unclear. Here we show that FCL increases with drainage area and decreases with hydrologic variability and intermittency across 36 North American rivers. Our analysis further suggests that hydrologic variability is the mechanismunderlying the correlation between ecosystem size and FCL in rivers. Ecosystem size lengthens river food chains by integrating and attenuating discharge variation through stream networks, thereby enhancing environmental stability in larger river systems.",
author = "John Sabo and Finlay, {Jacques C.} and Theodore Kennedy and Post, {David M.}",
year = "2010",
month = "11",
day = "12",
doi = "10.1126/science.1196005",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "330",
pages = "965--967",
journal = "Science",
issn = "0036-8075",
publisher = "American Association for the Advancement of Science",
number = "6006",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The role of discharge variation in scaling of drainage area and food chain length in rivers

AU - Sabo, John

AU - Finlay, Jacques C.

AU - Kennedy, Theodore

AU - Post, David M.

PY - 2010/11/12

Y1 - 2010/11/12

N2 - Food chain length (FCL) is a fundamental component of food web structure. Studies in a variety of ecosystems suggest that FCL is determined by energy supply, environmental stability, and/or ecosystem size, but the nature of the relationship between environmental stability and FCL, and the mechanism linking ecosystem size to FCL, remain unclear. Here we show that FCL increases with drainage area and decreases with hydrologic variability and intermittency across 36 North American rivers. Our analysis further suggests that hydrologic variability is the mechanismunderlying the correlation between ecosystem size and FCL in rivers. Ecosystem size lengthens river food chains by integrating and attenuating discharge variation through stream networks, thereby enhancing environmental stability in larger river systems.

AB - Food chain length (FCL) is a fundamental component of food web structure. Studies in a variety of ecosystems suggest that FCL is determined by energy supply, environmental stability, and/or ecosystem size, but the nature of the relationship between environmental stability and FCL, and the mechanism linking ecosystem size to FCL, remain unclear. Here we show that FCL increases with drainage area and decreases with hydrologic variability and intermittency across 36 North American rivers. Our analysis further suggests that hydrologic variability is the mechanismunderlying the correlation between ecosystem size and FCL in rivers. Ecosystem size lengthens river food chains by integrating and attenuating discharge variation through stream networks, thereby enhancing environmental stability in larger river systems.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78149409999&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78149409999&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1126/science.1196005

DO - 10.1126/science.1196005

M3 - Article

VL - 330

SP - 965

EP - 967

JO - Science

JF - Science

SN - 0036-8075

IS - 6006

ER -