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Title: Physical heterogeneity and aquatic community function in river networks: A case study from the Kanawah river Basin, USA
Contributor(s): Thoms, Martin (author)orcid ; Delong, M D (author); Flotemersch, J E (author); Collins, S E (author)
Publication Date: 2017
DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.02.027
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Abstract: The geomorphological character of a river network provides the template upon which evolution acts to create unique biological communities. Deciphering commonly observed patterns and processes within riverine landscapes resulting from the interplay between physical and biological components is a central tenet for the interdisciplinary field of river science. Relationships between the physical heterogeneity and food web character of functional process zones (FPZs)-large tracts of river with a similar geomorphic character-in the Kanawha River (West Virginia, USA) are examined in this study. Food web character was measured as food chain length (FCL), which reflects ecological community structure and ecosystem function. Our results show that the same basal resources were present throughout the Kanawha River but that their assimilation into the aquatic food web by primary consumers differed between FPZs. Differences in the trophic position of higher consumers (fish) were also recorded between FPZs. Overall, the morphological heterogeneity and heterogeneity of the river bed sediment of FPZs were significantly correlated with FCL. Specifically, FCL increases with greater FPZ physical heterogeneity. The result of this study does not support the current paradigm that ecosystem size is the primary determinant of food web character in river ecosystems.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Geomorphology, v.290, p. 277-287
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 0169-555X
Field of Research (FOR): 060204 Freshwater Ecology
040699 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified
040601 Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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