Data from: Dietary changes in predators and scavengers in a nocturnally illuminated riparian ecosystem
Manfrin, Alessandro et al. (2017), Data from: Dietary changes in predators and scavengers in a nocturnally illuminated riparian ecosystem, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3hf58
Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are linked by fluxes of carbon and nutrients in riparian areas. Processes that alter these fluxes may therefore change the diet and composition of consumer communities. We used stable carbon isotope (δ13C) analyses to test whether the increased abundance of aquatic prey observed in another study led to a dietary shift in riparian consumers in areas illuminated by artificial light at night (ALAN). We measured the contribution of aquatic-derived carbon to diets in riparian arthropods in experimentally lit and unlit sites along an agricultural drainage ditch in northern Germany. The δ13C signature of the spider Pachygnatha clercki (Tetragnathidae) was 0.7‰ lower in the ALAN-illuminated site in summer, indicating a greater assimilation of aquatic prey. Bayesian mixing models also supported higher intake of aquatic prey under ALAN in summer (34% versus 21%). In contrast, isotopic signatures for P. clercki (0.3‰) and Pardosa prativaga (0.7‰) indicated a preference for terrestrial prey in the illuminated site in summer. Terrestrial prey intake increased in spring for P. clerckii under ALAN (from 70% to 74%) and in spring and autumn for P. prativaga (from 68% to 77% and from 67% to 72%) and Opiliones (from 68% to 72%; 68% to 75%). This was despite most of the available prey (up to 80%) being aquatic in origin. We conclude that ALAN changed the diet of riparian secondary consumers by increasing the density of both aquatic and terrestrial prey. Dietary changes were species- and season-specific, indicating that the effects of ALAN may interact with phenology and feeding strategy. Because streetlights can occur in high density near freshwaters, ALAN may have widespread effects on aquatic-terrestrial ecosystem linkages.