CWT-LTER Data Set Summary

Accession: 4077 CWT Research Theme: Organic Matter/Decomposition
Contributors: Catherine Pringle, David Stoker, Jeff Hepinstall-Cymerman
Title: Leaf decomposition in relation to resource characteristics and consumer diversity
Abstract: Resource subsidies and biodiversity are essential for maintaining community structure and ecosystem functioning, but the relative importance of consumer diversity and resource characteristics to decomposition remains unclear. Forested headwater streams are detritus-based systems, dependent on leaf litter inputs from adjacent riparian ecosystems, and decomposition of these resources is an important ecosystem function. Here, we examined the effects of consumer community diversity on leaf decomposition in a reciprocal transplant experiment. We asked: (1) if stream consumer communities are adapted to local resources, and (2) how functional trait diversity among communities affects the leaf decomposition process. We did not find evidence that communities were adapted to locally-derived resource subsidies. Instead, we found that consumer biomass and functional trait diversity as well as resource characteristics were the primary biotic drivers of decomposition. Consumer biomass was stimulated by specific resource subsidies, leading to direct and indirect effects of resource subsidies on ecosystem functioning. Contrary to current theory, we show that decomposition was higher with decreased detritivore functional diversity, suggesting dominant traits encompassing a specific niche increased decomposition. We also show that top-down, consumer diversity effects can be equal in magnitude to the bottom-up effects of resource characteristics during the decomposition process. Our research illustrates the importance of considering multiple biotic and abiotic drivers interacting via multiple pathways to affect a crucial ecosystem function.
Key Words: aquatic ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, detritus, functional diversity, structural equation modeling, terrestrial–aquatic linkage
LTER Core Area: Movement of Organic Matter
CWT Themes: Organic Matter/Decomposition, Aquatic Macroinvetebrate Ecology
Study Type: Coweeta Population and Community Ecology Study
Study Period: 10-May-2014 to 02-Jul-2014
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Data Table: 4077 (Model data for 4077, 62)

Access: Public (released 31-Jan-2018)

Metadata: Text (ESA FLED), Basic EML, Complete EML

Data Formats: Spreadsheet CSV Text Format, EML-described Text Format, Tab-delimited Text Report with Statistical Summary, GCE Data Toolbox Format, Standard MATLAB Variables Format

Column List:

Column Name Units Type Description (hide)
1 id none alphanumeric string leaf pack type (L or H)
2 stream none integer stream where the leaf pack was deployed (1 = LE1, 2 = LE2, 3 = HE1, and 4 = HE2)
3 pack none alphanumeric string leaf pack type (LEP or HEP)
4 deployment none alphanumeric string deployment site of the leaf pack (Home or Away)
5 decomp % floating-point decomposition (i.e. percentage of mass lost) of the leaf pack
6 CN % floating-point ratio of carbon:nitrogen
7 CP % floating-point ratio of carbon:phosphorous
8 density g floating-point abundance of detritivores standardized by leaf mass remaining
9 biomass g floating-point biomass of detritivores standardized by leaf mass remaining
10 amph.abund count integer abundance of Amphinemura sp.
11 chir.abund count integer abundance of Chironomidae
12 lepi.abund count integer abundance of Lepidostoma sp.
13 lept.abund count integer abundance of Leptotarsus sp.
14 leuc.abund count integer abundance of Leuctra sp.
15 paral.abund count integer abundance of Paraleptophlebia sp.
16 pycn.abund count integer abundance of Pycnopsyche sp.
17 tall.abund count integer abundance of Tallaperla sp.

Data Table: 4077_site_survey (Site survey data for 4077, 62)

Access: Public (released 31-Jan-2018)

Metadata: Text (ESA FLED), Basic EML, Complete EML

Data Formats: Spreadsheet CSV Text Format, EML-described Text Format, Tab-delimited Text Report with Statistical Summary, GCE Data Toolbox Format, Standard MATLAB Variables Format

Column List:

Column Name Units Type Description (hide)
1 stream none alphanumeric string the stream from which the measurements were taken, whereby LE1 = Low-Elevation Stream 1, LE2 = Low-Elevation Stream 2, HE1 = High-Elevation Stream 1, and HE2 = High-Elevation Stream 2.
2 transect m floating-point the transect at which the measurements were taken
3 width cm floating-point the measured wetted-width (cm) of the stream at the corresponding transect
4 depth cm floating-point the measured mean depth (cm) of the stream at the corresponding transect
5 cover % floating-point measured mean canopy cover (%) of the stream at the corresponding transect
6 flow m/s floating-point measured mean flow (m s-1) of the stream at the corresponding transect
7 temp °C floating-point measured mean daily temperature (°C) of the stream

Data Table: 4077_traits (Traits data for 4077, 8)

Access: Public (released 31-Jan-2018)

Metadata: Text (ESA FLED), Basic EML, Complete EML

Data Formats: Spreadsheet CSV Text Format, EML-described Text Format, Tab-delimited Text Report with Statistical Summary, GCE Data Toolbox Format, Standard MATLAB Variables Format

Column List:

Column Name Units Type Description (hide)
1 taxa none alphanumeric string list of taxa included in the functional trait analyses, whereby amph = Amphinemura sp., chir = Chironomidae, lepi = Lepidostoma sp., lept = Leptotarsus sp., leuc = Leuctra sp., paral = Paraleptophlebia sp., pycn = Pycnopsyche sp, and tall = Tallaperla sp.
2 biom mg floating-point mean per capita biomass (mg) of the respective taxon
3 habi.1 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of foraging habit 1 (burrow)
4 habi.2 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of foraging habit 2 (climb)
5 habi.3 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of foraging habit 3 (sprawl)
6 habi.4 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of foraging habit 4 (cling)
7 habi.5 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of foraging habit 5 (swim)
8 habi.6 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of foraging habit 6 (skate)
9 rheo.1 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of rheophilic preference 1 (depositional)
10 rheo.2 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of rheophilic preference 2 (depositional and erosional)
11 rheo.3 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of rheophilic preference 3 (erosional)
12 ther.1 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of thermal preference 1 (cold/cool)
13 ther.2 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of thermal preference 2 (cool/warm)
14 ther.3 none integer presence (1) or absence (0) of thermal preference 3 (warm)