Nutritional constraints in terrestrial and freshwater food webs

  title={Nutritional constraints in terrestrial and freshwater food webs},
  author={James J. Elser and William F. Fagan and Robert F. Denno and Dean R. Dobberfuhl and Ayoola Folarin and Andrea F. Huberty and Sebastian J. Interlandi and Susan S. Kilham and Edward Mccauley and Kimberly L Schulz and Evan Siemann and Robert W. Sterner},
Biological and environmental contrasts between aquatic and terrestrial systems have hindered analyses of community and ecosystem structure across Earth's diverse habitats. Ecological stoichiometry provides an integrative approach for such analyses, as all organisms are composed of the same major elements (C, N, P) whose balance affects production, nutrient cycling, and food-web dynamics. Here we show both similarities and differences in the C:N:P ratios of primary producers (autotrophs) and… 

Ecological stoichiometry in freshwater benthic systems: recent progress and perspectives

Ecological stoichiometry deals with the mass balance of multiple key elements in ecological systems, largely developed in the pelagic zone of lakes, and has been successfully applied to topics ranging from population dynamics to biogeochemical cycling.

Differing nutritional constraints of consumers across ecosystems

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It is argued that variable selective forces drive differences in plant allocation patterns in aquatic and terrestrial environments that propagate upward to shape food webs, indicating that structural contrasts between the two systems are preserved despite large variation in energy input.

Aquatic food webs: stoichiometric regulation of flux and fate of carbon

Abstract A key determinant of C-flux in aquatic ecosystems is the supply of elements relative to the demands of producers and consumers. Uptake of C is commonly in excess relative to C or N in both

Comparing the Ecological Stoichiometry in Green and Brown Food Webs – A Review and Meta-analysis of Freshwater Food Webs

It is suggested that green and brown food webs share fundamental stoichiometric principles, while identifying specific differences toward applying ecological stoichiometry across ecosystems.

Predicting nutrient excretion of aquatic animals with metabolic ecology and ecological stoichiometry: a global synthesis.

It is concluded that basic data on body size, water temperature, trophic guild, and vertebrate classification are sufficient to make general estimates of nutrient excretion rates for any animal taxon or aquatic ecosystem, Nonetheless, dramatic interspecific variation in size-scaling coefficients and counter-intuitive patterns with respect to diet and body composition underscore the need for field data on consumption and egestion rates.

ROSEMARY MACKAY FUND ARTICLE: Ecological stoichiometry of trophic interactions in the benthos: understanding the role of C:N:P ratios in lentic and lotic habitats

This paper considers how the theory of ecological stoichiometry may be applied to issues of importance to benthic ecologists and examines how stoichiometric imbalances affect fundamental ecosystem processes (e.g., nutrient cycling and spiraling, consumer growth dynamics, and responses to environmental disturbance) in benthics systems.



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A variety of evidence from many types of studies-physiological modelling, whole-ecosystem surveys, laboratory growth studies, etc-is assembled into an internally consistent picture of mineral limitation of aquatic herbivores.

Magnitude and patterns of herbivory in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems

HERBIVORES can consume a sufficiently large proportion of primary production to regulate plant biomass in some environments1–3. Little is known, however, about how rates of herbivory vary among

Patterns in the Fate of Production in Plant Communities

  • J. Cebrian
  • Environmental Science
    The American Naturalist
  • 1999
The results suggest plant palatability as a main limiting factor of consumer metabolical and feeding rates across communities and offer a basis to predict the effects of widespread enhancement of plant nutritional quality due to large‐scale anthropogenic eutrophication on carbon balances in ecosystems.


Conceptual advances within pelagic ecology are synthesized and a suite of potential applications of stoichiometric thinking to benthic and terrestrial habitats is suggested.

Modelling interactions of food quality and quantity in homeostatic consumers

A model including both metabolism and growth indicates that consumer growth should differ between foods of high vs. low phosphorus concentration only when food quantity is above a certain level, and two foods might give identical consumer growth rates at low food quantity but give different consumer growth at higher quantity.


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Phosphorus and nitrogen limitation of phytoplankton growth in the freshwaters of North America : a review and critique of experimental enrichments

It was found that combined N + P enrichment enhanced algal growth much more frequently and more substantially than did addition of N or P singly, and on average, the frequency and degree of algal response did not differ for P vs. N enrichment.

Resource Edibility and the Effects of Predators and Productivity on the Outcome of Trophic Interactions

A simple model is used to examine interactions among consumers and two types of resources that differ in edibility to predict the abundances of all three populations and confirms that the effects of predators and nutrients on consumers and resources predicted by the model differ when the consumer assemblage is dominated by a generalist herbivore.

Biotic Control over the Functioning of Ecosystems

Changes in the abundance of species — especially those that influence water and nutrient dynamics, trophic interactions, or disturbance regime — affect the structure and functioning of ecosystems.