The coordination of green-brown food webs and their disruption by anthropogenic nutrient inputsZelnik, Yuval R.; Manzoni, Stefano; Bommarco, Riccardo;
Aim Our goal was to quantify nitrogen flows and stocks in green-brown food webs in different ecosystems, how they differ across ecosystems and how they respond to nutrient enrichment. Location Global. Time period Contemporary. Major taxa studied Plants, phytoplankton, macroalgae, invertebrates, vertebrates and zooplankton. Methods Data from >500 studies were combined to estimate nitrogen stocks and fluxes in green-brown food webs in forests, grasslands, brackish environments, seagrass meadows, lakes and oceans. We compared the stocks, fluxes and metabolic rates of different functional groups within each food web. We also used these estimates to build a dynamical model to test the response of the ecosystems to nutrient enrichment. Results We found surprising symmetries between the green and brown channels across ecosystems, in their stocks, fluxes and consumption coefficients and mortality rates. We also found that nitrogen enrichment, either organic or inorganic, can disrupt this balance between the green and brown channels. Main conclusions Linking green and brown food webs reveals a previously hidden symmetry between herbivory and detritivory, which appears to be a widespread property of natural ecosystems but can be disrupted by anthropogenic nitrogen additions.
anthropogenic perturbations; food webs; nutrient cycling; nutrient subsidies; primary productivity
Published inGlobal Ecology and Biogeography 2022, volume: 31, number: 11, pages: 2270-2280
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