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See detailImpact of the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula spp., on a large river ecosytem
Pigneur, Lise-Marie; Falisse, Elodie; Roland, Kathleen et al

in Freshwater Biology (2014), 59(3), 573-583

During the past recent decades, Asiatic clams (Corbicula spp.) have spread spectacularly in several large European rivers. In the River Meuse, a transnational lowland river, an important chlorophyll a ... [more ▼]

During the past recent decades, Asiatic clams (Corbicula spp.) have spread spectacularly in several large European rivers. In the River Meuse, a transnational lowland river, an important chlorophyll a decline has been recorded since the mid-2000s, which seems to be related to the invasion by these exotic bivalves. This study aimed at verifying that hypothesis, using clam density data from field surveys, water quality monitoring data, and a simulation model. Estimated Corbicula densities were between 50 and 900 individuals m-2, depending on the site. Using a maximum filtration rate per clam body mass of 0.086 m3 g C-1 day-1 at 20°C derived from the literature, we ran simulations with a non-stationary model to estimate the impact of the exotic bivalve on the river plankton and water quality. In the stretches where the invasive clams developed best, comparison with a clam-free scenario allowed estimating a 70 % phytoplankton biomass loss due to their filtration, leading to a 61 % loss of annual primary productivity. Model simulations also showed that zooplankton may have suffered as much as 75 % loss in terms of biomass. The simulations also point to substantial effects of the invasive Corbicula on the river oxygen budget and on nutrient cycling. We expect that, in the heavily regulated sectors of the river, the loss of planktonic production due to the invasive filter-feeders will negatively affect other suspension feeders and alter ecosystem function and productivity. [less ▲]

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See detailTrophic relationships in a tropical stream food web assessed by stable isotope analysis
Coat, Sophie; Monti, Dominique; Bouchon, Claude et al

in Freshwater Biology (2009), 54(5), 1028-1041

1. Stable isotope analysis, coupled with dietary data from the literature, was used to investigate trophic patterns of freshwater fauna in a tropical stream food web (Guadeloupe, French West Indies). 2 ... [more ▼]

1. Stable isotope analysis, coupled with dietary data from the literature, was used to investigate trophic patterns of freshwater fauna in a tropical stream food web (Guadeloupe, French West Indies). 2. Primary producers (biofilm, algae and plant detritus of terrestrial origin) showed distinct delta C-13 signatures, which allowed for a powerful discrimination of carbon sources. Both autochthonous (C-13-enriched signatures) and allochthonous (C-13-depleted signatures) resources enter the food web. The migrating behaviour of fishes and shrimps between marine and freshwater during their life cycles can be followed by carbon isotopes. Here, shrimp delta C-13 signatures were shown to shift from -16 parts per thousand (for juveniles under marine influence) to -24.7 parts per thousand (for adults in freshwater habitats). For resident species, delta C-13 values partly reflected the species' habitat preferences along the river continuum: species living in river mouths were C-13-enriched in comparison with those collected upstream. 3. Nitrogen isotopic ratios were also discriminating and defined three main trophic guilds among consumers. The delta N-15 values of herbivores/detritivores were 5.0-8.4 parts per thousand, omnivores 8.8-10.2 parts per thousand and carnivores 11-12.7 parts per thousand. 4. Mixing model equations were employed to calculate the possible range of contribution made by respective food sources to the diet of each species. The results revealed the importance of omnivorous species and the dependence of riverine biota on terrestrial subsidies, such as leaf detritus and fruits. Finally, the abundance of shrimps and their feeding habits placed in relief their key role in tropical freshwater food webs. Isotopic analysis provides a useful tool for assessing animal feeding patterns. [less ▲]

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See detailAre diatoms good integrators of temporal variability in stream water quality?
Lavoie, Isabelle; Campeau, Stephane; Darchambeau, François ULg et al

in Freshwater Biology (2008), 53(4), 827-841

1. Although diatoms have been used for many decades for river monitoring around the world, studies showing evidence that diatoms integrate temporal variability in water chemistry are scarce. 2. The ... [more ▼]

1. Although diatoms have been used for many decades for river monitoring around the world, studies showing evidence that diatoms integrate temporal variability in water chemistry are scarce. 2. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the response of the Eastern Canadian Diatom Index (IDEC: Indice Diatomees de l'Est du Canada) with respect to temporal water chemistry variability using three different spatio-temporal data sets. 3. Along a large phosphorus gradient, the IDEC was highly correlated with averaged water chemistry data. Along within-stream phosphorus gradients, the IDEC integrated phosphorus over various periods of time, depending on the trophic status of the site studied (Boyer, Nicolet or Ste. Anne river) and variability in nutrient concentration. 4. In the Ste. Anne River, where nutrient concentrations were low and generally stable, an input of phosphorus induced a rapid change in diatom community structure and IDEC value within the following week. In the mesotrophic Nicolet River, the observed integration period was approximately 2 weeks. Diatom communities in the eutrophic Boyer River appeared to be adapted to frequent and significant fluctuations in nutrient concentrations. In this system, the IDEC therefore showed a slower response to short term fluctuations and integrated nutrient concentrations over a period of 5 weeks. 5. Our results suggest that the integration period varies as a function of trophic status and nutrient concentration variability in the streams. Oligotrophic streams are more sensitive to nutrient variations and their diatom communities are directly altered by nutrient increase, while diatom communities of eutrophic rivers are less sensitive to nutrient fluctuations and major variations take a longer time to be integrated into index values. 6. The longer integration period in the eutrophic environment may be attributed to the complexity of the diatom community. The results from this study showed that the diversity and evenness of the communities increased with trophic status. [less ▲]

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See detailForaging tactics in alternative heterochronic salamander morphs: trophic quality of ponds matters more than water permanency
Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Whiteman, Howard H.; Wissinger, Scott A.

in Freshwater Biology (2007), 52(9), 1667-1676

1. In lentic freshwater habitats, the composition of animal assemblages shifts along a gradient from temporary to permanent basins. When habitats with different degrees of permanence are at the scale of ... [more ▼]

1. In lentic freshwater habitats, the composition of animal assemblages shifts along a gradient from temporary to permanent basins. When habitats with different degrees of permanence are at the scale of the home range of species, they constitute alternatives in terms of energy acquisition through feeding. 2. In this context, previous studies showed an advantage of metamorphic over paedomorphic tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) in temporary ponds which are only available to metamorphs. The aim of this study was to establish whether salamanders obtain similar benefits in ponds that do not differ in water permanence and whether salamanders shifted from detrimental to advantageous ponds. To this end, we determined the feeding habits, body condition and movement patterns of the two morphs in a complex of four permanent and four temporary ponds. 3. Consistent with previous studies, metamorphs consumed higher-quality diets than paedomorphs in term of energy intake. However, these differences occurred because metamorphs consumed fairy shrimp in a single temporary pond. Individual movement patterns confirmed that most of the metamorphs used different aquatic habitats both within and between years and that most of them moved from permanent ponds for breeding towards the most profitable temporary pond in terms of foraging. 4. These results indicate that habitat selection by salamanders is optimal in term of energy intake in metamorphs that use high quality ponds independently of hydroperiod. It seems that both spatial and temporal variation can influence the relative foraging success of each morph. [less ▲]

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See detailSalinity, depth and the structure and composition of microbial mats in continental Antarctic lakes
Sabbe, Koen; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Verleyen, Elie et al

in Freshwater Biology (2004), 49(3), 296-319

1. Lakes and ponds in the Larsemann Hills and Bolingen Islands (East-Antarctica) were characterised by cyanobacteria-dominated, benthic microbial mats. A 56-lake dataset representing the limnological ... [more ▼]

1. Lakes and ponds in the Larsemann Hills and Bolingen Islands (East-Antarctica) were characterised by cyanobacteria-dominated, benthic microbial mats. A 56-lake dataset representing the limnological diversity among the more than 150 lakes and ponds in the region was developed to identify and quantify the abiotic conditions associated with cyanobacterial and diatom communities. 2. Limnological diversity in the lakes of the Larsemann Hills and Bolingen Islands was associated primarily with conductivity and conductivity-related variables (concentrations of major ions and alkalinity), and variation in lake morphometry (depth, catchment and lake area). Low concentrations of pigments, phosphate, nitrogen, DOC and TOC in the water column of most lakes suggest extremely low water column productivity and hence high water clarity, and may thus contribute to the ecological success of benthic microbial mats in this region. 3. Benthic communities consisted of prostrate and sometimes finely laminated mats, flake mats, epilithic and interstitial microbial mats. Mat physiognomy and carotenoid/chlorophyll ratios were strongly related to lake depth, but not to conductivity. 4. Morphological-taxonomic analyses revealed the presence of 26 diatom morphospecies and 33 cyanobacterial morphotypes. Mats of shallow lakes (interstitial and flake mats) and those of deeper lakes (prostrate mats) were characterised by different dominant cyanobacterial morphotypes. No relationship was found between the distribution of these morphotypes and conductivity. In contrast, variation in diatom species composition was strongly related to both lake depth and conductivity. Shallow ponds were mainly characterised by aerial diatoms (e.g. Diadesmis cf. perpusilla and Hantzschia spp.). In deep lakes, communities were dominated by Psammothidium abundans and Stauroforma inermis. Lakes with conductivities higher than +/-1.5 mS cm(-1) became susceptible to freezing out of salts and hence pronounced conductivity fluctuations. In these lakes P. abundans and S. inermis were replaced by Amphora veneta. Stomatocysts were important only in shallow freshwater lakes. 5. Ice cover influenced microbial mat structure and composition both directly by physical disturbance in shallow lakes and by influencing light availability in deeper lakes, as well as indirectly by generating conductivity increases and promoting the development of seasonal anoxia. 6. The relationships between diatom species composition and conductivity, and diatom species composition and depth, were statistically significant. Transfer functions based on these data can therefore be used in paleolimnological reconstruction to infer changes in the precipitation-evaporation balance in continental Antarctic lakes. [less ▲]

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See detailModelling the impact of benthic filter-feeders on the composition and biomass of river plankton
Descy, Jean-Pierre; Everbecq, Etienne ULg; Gosselain, Véronique ULg et al

in Freshwater Biology (2003), 48(3), 404-417

1. The POTAMON model [Everbecq E. et al. (2001) Water Research, 35, 901] has been used to simulate the effect of benthic bivalves (mainly Dreissena polymorpha ) on the phytoplankton and zooplankton in a ... [more ▼]

1. The POTAMON model [Everbecq E. et al. (2001) Water Research, 35, 901] has been used to simulate the effect of benthic bivalves (mainly Dreissena polymorpha ) on the phytoplankton and zooplankton in a lowland Western European river (the Moselle). Here we use a modified version of the POTAMON model with five categories of phytoplankton (Stephanodiscus, Cyclotella -like, large diatoms, Skeletonema and non-siliceous algae) to model filter-feeding effects of benthic bivalves in the Moselle. Zooplankton has been represented in the model by two categories, Brachionus -like and Keratella -like rotifers. 2. According to density estimates from field surveys (Bachmann V. et al. (1995) Hydroecologie Appliquee, 7, 185, Bachmann V. & Usseglio-Polatera P. (1999) Hydrobiologia, 410, 39), zebra mussel density varied among river stretches, and increased through the year to a maximum in summer. Dreissena filtration rates from the literature were used, and mussels have been assumed to feed on different phytoplankton categories (but less on large and filamentous diatoms) as well as on rotifers. 3. The simulations suggest a significant impact of benthic filter-feeders on potamoplankton and water quality in those stretches where the mussels are abundant, their impact being maximal in summer. Consequently, different plankton groups were not affected to the same extent, depending on their period of development and on indirect effects, such as predation by mussels on herbivorous zooplankton. 4. A daily carbon balance for a typical summer shows the effect of benthic filter-feeders on planktonic and benthic processes: the flux of organic matter to the bottom is greatly enhanced at high mussel density; conversely, production and breakdown of organic carbon in the water column are reduced. Mussel removal would drive the carbon balance of the river toward autotrophy only in the downstream stretches. [less ▲]

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See detailAdaptive significance of facultative paedomorphosis in Triturus alpestris (Amphibia, Caudata): resource partitioning in an alpine lake
Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Joly, Pierre

in Freshwater Biology (2001), 46(10), 1387-1396

1. Facultative paedomorphosis is a polymorphism that has important evolutionary implications in promoting morphological differentiation and variation in habitat use. It occurs in several urodele species ... [more ▼]

1. Facultative paedomorphosis is a polymorphism that has important evolutionary implications in promoting morphological differentiation and variation in habitat use. It occurs in several urodele species throughout the world. Several hypotheses based on life-history theory have been proposed to explain the wide range of habitats in which facultative paedomorphosis occurs, suggesting multifactorial causes. 2. In harsh habitats, such as mountain lakes, paedomorphosis might promote niche partitioning between morphs. This hypothesis was tested by comparing micro-habitat use and diet of two coexisting morphs in an alpine lake. 3. Paedomorphs occupied all microhabitats in the lake while metamorphs occurred only along the shoreline or at the water surface. Paedomorphic newts were frequent in deep water, where they foraged mainly on plankton. Plankton was poorly exploited by metamorphic newts, which fed mainly on terrestrial insects. Difference between morphs in microhabitat use, and consequently in the diet, were consistent in both sexes and in juveniles. 4. In adults, the mass and energy value of stomach contents did not differ between morphs, suggesting a similar food availability in the habitats occupied. 5. This study indicates habitat partitioning between morphs involving dietary differences. Specific benefits and costs of each ontogenetic pathway may allow their coexistence in this deep and fishless lake. Paedomorphosis benefits individual newts by making new food resources available and presumably reducing competition at the shore of the lake. However, the proximate causes of such an ontogenetic switch remain unclear. [less ▲]

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