Multiple Trophic Levels of a Forest Stream Linked to Terrestrial Litter Inputs

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Science  04 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5322, pp. 102-104
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5322.102

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The importance of terrestrial-aquatic linkages was evaluated by a large-scale, 3-year exclusion of terrestrial leaf litter inputs to a forest stream. Exclusion of leaf litter had a strong bottom-up effect that was propagated through detritivores to predators. Most invertebrate taxa in the predominant habitat declined in either abundance, biomass, or both, compared with taxa in a nearby reference stream. However, fauna in moss habitats changed little, indicating that different food webs exist in habitats of different geomorphology. Thus, the ecosystem-level consequences of excluding detrital inputs to an ecosystem were demonstrated. Inputs of riparian detritus are essential for conservation or restoration of diverse stream food webs.

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