Strong evidence for terrestrial support of zooplankton in small lakes based on stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
By: , and 

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Abstract

Cross-ecosystem subsidies to food webs can alter metabolic balances in the receiving (subsidized) system and free the food web, or particular consumers, from the energetic constraints of local primary production. Although cross-ecosystem subsidies between terrestrial and aquatic systems have been well recognized for benthic organisms in streams, rivers, and the littoral zones of lakes, terrestrial subsidies to pelagic consumers are more difficult to demonstrate and remain controversial. Here, we adopt a unique approach by using stable isotopes of H, C, and N to estimate terrestrial support to zooplankton in two contrasting lakes. Zooplankton (Holopedium, Daphnia, and Leptodiaptomus) are comprised of ???20-40% of organic material of terrestrial origin. These estimates are as high as, or higher than, prior measures obtained by experimentally manipulating the inorganic 13C content of these lakes to augment the small, natural contrast in 13C between terrestrial and algal photosynthesis. Our study gives credence to a growing literature, which we review here, suggesting that significant terrestrial support of pelagic crustaceans (zooplankton) is widespread.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Strong evidence for terrestrial support of zooplankton in small lakes based on stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen
Series title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1012807108
Volume 108
Issue 5
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
First page 1975
Last page 1980