Differential support of lake food webs by three types of terrestrial organic carbon

  • Cole J
  • Carpenter S
  • Pace M
 et al. 
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Organic carbon inputs from outside of ecosystem boundaries potentially subsidize recipient food webs. Four whole-lake additions of dissolved inorganic 13C were made to reveal the pathways of subsidies to lakes from terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (t-DOC), terrestrial particulate organic carbon (t-POC) and terrestrial prey items. Terrestrial DOC, the largest input, was a major subsidy of pelagic bacterial respiration, but little of this bacterial C was passed up the food web. Zooplankton received 20% of their carbon. The results show that impacts of cross-ecosystem subsidies depend on characteristics of the imported material, the route of entry into the food web, the types of consumers present, and the productivity of the recipient system.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 13C
  • Allochthony
  • Food web
  • Model
  • Subsidy
  • Whole-lake experiments

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  • Jonathan J. Cole

  • Stephen R. Carpenter

  • Michael L. Pace

  • Matthew C. Van De Bogert

  • James L. Kitchell

  • James R. Hodgson

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