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Title: Effects of cadmium and resource quality on freshwater detritus processing chains: a microcosm approach with two insect species
Author: Campos, Diana
Alves, Artur
Lemos, Marco F. L.
Correia, António
Soares, Amadeu M. V. M.
Pestana, João L. T.
Keywords: Chironomus
Indirect effects
Leaf decomposition
Shredder-collector interactions
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Abstract: Detritus processing is vital for freshwater ecosystems that depend on the leaf litter from riparian vegetation and is mediated by microorganisms and aquatic invertebrates. Shredder invertebrates transform coarse particulate organic matter into fine particulate organic matter used as food by collector species. Direct and indirect effects of contaminants can impair detritus processing and thus affect the functioning of these ecosystems. Here, we assessed the combined effects of a toxic metal (cadmium) and resource quality (leaf species) on detritus processing and shredder-collector interactions. We considered two types of leaves, alder and eucalyptus that were microbially conditioned under different Cd concentrations in the laboratory. The microbial communities present on leaves were analyzed by Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE), and we also measured microbial respiration rates. Sericostoma vittatum (a caddisfly shredder) and Chironomus riparius (a midge collector) were also exposed to Cd and allowed to consume the corresponding alder or eucalyptus leaves. We evaluated C. riparius growth and leaf mass loss in multispecies microcosms. Cadmium exposure affected leaf conditioning and fungal diversity on both leaf species, as assessed by DGGE. Cadmium exposure also affected the mass loss of alder leaves by reductions in detritivore feeding, and impaired C. riparius growth. Chironomus riparius consumed alder leaf discs in the absence of shredders, but S. vittatum appear to promote C. riparius growth in treatments containing eucalyptus. These results show that indirect effects of contaminants along detritus-processing chains can occur through effects on shredder-collector interactions such as facilitation but they also depend on the nutritional quality of detritus and on sensitivity and feeding plasticity of detritivore species.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1007/s10646-014-1223-9
ISSN: 0963-9292
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