Consumer Versus Resource Control in Freshwater Pelagic Food Webs

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Science  17 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5298, pp. 384-386
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5298.384

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Models predict that food-web structure is regulated by both consumers and resources, and the strength of this control is dependent on trophic position and food-web length. To test these hypotheses, a meta-analysis was conducted of 11 fish (consumer)-by-nutrient (resource) factorial plankton community experiments. As predicted, zooplankton biomass was under strong consumer control but was weakly stimulated by nutrient additions; phytoplankton biomass was under strong resource control with moderate control by fish. However, the phytoplankton and zooplankton responses to nutrient additions did not follow theoretical predictions based on the number of trophic levels in the food web.

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