Terrestrial–aquatic linkages in spring-fed and snowmelt-dominated streams

Journal of Freshwater Ecology



The importance of trophic linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is predicted to vary as a function of subsidy quantity and quality relative to in situ resources. To test this prediction, I used multi-year diet data from Bonneville cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki Utah in spring-fed and snowmelt-driven streams in the high desert of western North America. I documented that trout in spring-fed streams consumed more (number and weight) aquatic than terrestrial invertebrates, while trout in snowmelt-driven streams consumed a similar number of both prey types but consumed more terrestrial than aquatic invertebrates by weight. Trout in spring-fed streams consumed more aquatic invertebrates than trout in snowmelt streams and trout consumed more terrestrial invertebrates in snowmelt than in spring-fed streams. Up to 93% of trout production in spring-fed streams and 60% in snowmelt streams was fueled by aquatic invertebrates, while the remainder of trout production in each stream type was from terrestrial production. I found that the biomass and occurrence of consumed terrestrial invertebrates were not related to our measures of in situ resource quality or quantity in either stream type. These empirical data highlight the importance of autotrophic-derived production to trout in xeric regions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Terrestrial–aquatic linkages in spring-fed and snowmelt-dominated streams
Series title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2017.1284696
Volume 32
Issue 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Oikos Publishers
Publisher location La Crosse, WI
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 288
Last page 299
Country United States
State Idaho
Other Geospatial Bear River Basin
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