Influence of streamside vegetation on inputs of terrestrial invertebrates to salmonid food webs

  • Allan J
  • Wipfli M
  • Caouette J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Salmonid food webs receive important energy subsidies via terrestrial in-fall, downstream transport, and spawning migrations. We examined the contribution of terrestrially derived invertebrates (TI) to juvenile coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in streams of southeastern Alaska by diet analysis and sampling of TI inputs in 12 streams of contrasting riparian vegetation. Juvenile coho ingested 12.1 mg·fish–1 of invertebrate mass averaged across all sites; no significant differences associated with location (plant or forest type) were detected, possibly because prey are well mixed by wind and water dispersal. Terrestrial and aquatic prey composed approximately equal fractions of prey ingested. Surface inputs were estimated at E80 mg·m–2·day–1, primarily TI. Direct sampling of invertebrates from the stems of six plant species demonstrated differences in invertebrate taxa occupying different plant species and much lower TI biomass per stem for conifers compared with overstory and understory deciduous plants. Traps placed under red alder (Alnus rubra) and conifer (mix of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)) canopies consistently captured higher biomass of TI under the former. Management of riparian vegetation is likely to influence the food supply of juvenile coho and the productivity of stream food webs. Résumé

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Authors

  • J David Allan

  • Mark S Wipfli

  • John P Caouette

  • Aaron Prussian

  • Joanna Rodgers

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