Resource subsidies between stream and terrestrial ecosystems under global change

Global Change Biology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Streams and adjacent terrestrial ecosystems are characterized by permeable boundaries that are crossed by resource subsidies. Although the importance of these subsidies for riverine ecosystems is increasingly recognized, little is known about how they may be influenced by global environmental change. Drawing from available evidence, in this review we propose a conceptual framework to evaluate the effects of global change on the quality and spatiotemporal dynamics of stream–terrestrial subsidies. We illustrate how changes to hydrological and temperature regimes, atmospheric CO2 concentration, land use and the distribution of nonindigenous species can influence subsidy fluxes by affecting the biology and ecology of donor and recipient systems and the physical characteristics of stream–riparian boundaries. Climate-driven changes in the physiology and phenology of organisms with complex life cycles will influence their development time, body size and emergence patterns, with consequences for adjacent terrestrial consumers. Also, novel species interactions can modify subsidy dynamics via complex bottom-up and top-down effects. Given the seasonality and pulsed nature of subsidies, alterations of the temporal and spatial synchrony of resource availability to consumers across ecosystems are likely to result in ecological mismatches that can scale up from individual responses, to communities, to ecosystems. Similarly, altered hydrology, temperature, CO2 concentration and land use will modify the recruitment and quality of riparian vegetation, the timing of leaf abscission and the establishment of invasive riparian species. Along with morphological changes to stream–terrestrial boundaries, these will alter the use and fluxes of allochthonous subsidies associated with stream ecosystems. Future research should aim to understand how subsidy dynamics will be affected by key drivers of global change, including agricultural intensification, increasing water use and biotic homogenization. Our conceptual framework based on the match–mismatch between donor and recipient organisms may facilitate understanding of the multiple effects of global change and aid in the development of future research questions.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Resource subsidies between stream and terrestrial ecosystems under global change
Series title Global Change Biology
DOI 10.1111/gcb.13182
Volume 22
Issue 7
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 2489
Last page 2504
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N