Does predation by the omnivorous Gammarus fossarum affect small-scale distribution of macroinvertebrates? A case study from a calcareous spring fen
|Článek v odborném periodiku
|Časopis / Zdroj
|International Review of Hydrobiology
|Fakulta / Pracoviště MU
|amphipods; macroinvertebrates; omnivory; predation; spring fens
|Our understanding of functional roles of aquatic invertebrate taxa is still limited even for common species, although being crucial for explanations of patterns observed in natural communities. As only recently shown, the common native European amphipodGammarus fossarum, traditionally treated as a shredder of leaf litter, shows predatory behaviour which may influence the composition of invertebrate assemblages. However, the evidence for the predation effect ofG. fossarumon natural assemblages at the within-site scale is still lacking. Therefore, we collected 50 quantitative samples of macroinvertebrates along with the important environmental variables within a heterogeneous calcareous spring fen. Using linear regression, we explored the relationships between the abundance ofG. fossarum(separately adult and juvenile) and the abundance and number of taxa for two groups of invertebrates differing in their susceptibility to predation, (a) hard-bodied taxa with protective body structures, such as shells and calcified cuticles, and (b) soft-bodied taxa without those protections. We separated the effect ofG. fossarumfrom that of environmental conditions using variation partitioning. Our results showed that only the abundance of soft-bodied invertebrates was negatively correlated with the abundance of adultG. fossarum. However, the proportion of variation explained purely by predation (5.5%) was much lower than the one explained by the environment (33.8%). BothG. fossarumand soft-bodied invertebrates were positively associated with organic matter. Although hard-bodied invertebrates consisted of only a few taxa, they were more numerous than soft-bodied invertebrates, and only environmental control was confirmed for them. Despite the limitations of the used correlative approach, we conclude thatG. fossarumcan significantly control the abundance of vulnerable taxa in natural assemblages. Its predatory effects, however, may be relatively low and easily confounded by the effect of environmental control.