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Habitat patchiness, ecological connectivity and the uneven recovery of boreal stream ecosystems from an experimental drought

Truchy, Amélie and Sarremejane, Romain and Muotka, Timo and Mykr, Heikki and Angeler, David and Lehosmaa, Kaisa and Huusko, Ari and Johnson, Richard and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Mckie, Brendan (2020). Habitat patchiness, ecological connectivity and the uneven recovery of boreal stream ecosystems from an experimental drought. Global Change Biology. 26 , 3455-3472
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Abstract

Ongoing climate change is increasing the occurrence and intensity of drought episodes worldwide, including in boreal regions not previously regarded as drought prone, and where the impacts of drought remain poorly understood. Ecological connectivity is one factor that might influence community structure and ecosystem functioning post-drought, by facilitating the recovery of sensitive species via dispersal at both local (e.g. a nearby habitat patch) and regional (from other systems within the same region) scales. In an outdoor mesocosm experiment, we investigated how impacts of drought on boreal stream ecosystems are altered by the spatial arrangement of local habitat patches within stream channels, and variation in ecological connectivity with a regional species pool. We measured basal ecosystem processes underlying carbon and nutrient cycling: (a) algal biomass accrual; (b) microbial respiration; and (c) decomposition of organic matter, and sampled communities of aquatic fungi and benthic invertebrates. An 8-day drought event had strong impacts on both community structure and ecosystem functioning, including algal accrual, leaf decomposition and microbial respiration, with many of these impacts persisting even after water levels had been restored for 3.5 weeks. Enhanced connectivity with the regional species pool and increased aggregation of habitat patches also affected multiple response variables, especially those associated with microbes, and in some cases reduced the effects of drought to a small extent. This indicates that spatial processes might play a role in the resilience of communities and ecosystem functioning, given enough time. These effects were however insufficient to facilitate significant recovery in algal growth before seasonal dieback began in autumn. The limited resilience of ecosystem functioning in our experiment suggests that even short-term droughts can have extended consequences for stream ecosystems in the world's vast boreal region, and especially on the ecosystem processes and services mediated by algal biofilms.

Authors/Creators:Truchy, Amélie and Sarremejane, Romain and Muotka, Timo and Mykr, Heikki and Angeler, David and Lehosmaa, Kaisa and Huusko, Ari and Johnson, Richard and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Mckie, Brendan
Title:Habitat patchiness, ecological connectivity and the uneven recovery of boreal stream ecosystems from an experimental drought
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:26
Page range:3455-3472
Number of Pages:18
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN:1354-1013
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:algal production, detritivores, drought, ecosystem processes, habitat patch, hyphomycete fungi, meta-ecosystem, spatial connectivity
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-105145
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-105145
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1111/gcb.15063
Web of Science (WoS)000521851400001
ID Code:17250
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:10 Jul 2020 10:46
Metadata Last Modified:10 Jul 2020 10:46

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