Habitat, not resource availability, limits consumer production in lake ecosystems

Limnology and Oceanography
By: , and 



Food web productivity in lakes can be limited by dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which reduces fish production by limiting the abundance of their zoobenthic prey. We demonstrate that in a set of 10 small, north temperate lakes spanning a wide DOC gradient, these negative effects of high DOC concentrations on zoobenthos production are driven primarily by availability of warm, well-oxygenated habitat, rather than by light limitation of benthic primary production as previously proposed. There was no significant effect of benthic primary production on zoobenthos production after controlling for oxygen, even though stable isotope analysis indicated that zoobenthos do use this resource. Mean whole-lake zoobenthos production was lower in high-DOC lakes with reduced availability of oxygenated habitat, as was fish biomass. These insights improve understanding of lake food webs and inform management in the face of spatial variability and ongoing temporal change in lake DOC concentrations.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Habitat, not resource availability, limits consumer production in lake ecosystems
Series title Limnology and Oceanography
DOI 10.1002/lno.10153
Volume 60
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher ASLO
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 2079
Last page 2089
Country United States
State Wisconsin and Michigan
Other Geospatial University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Centre
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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