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Data from: Variations of trophic structure and niche space in fish community along a highly regulated subtropical large river

Citation

Ru, Huijun (2022), Data from: Variations of trophic structure and niche space in fish community along a highly regulated subtropical large river, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.51c59zw7z

Abstract

The trophic interactions between consumers and resources play a vital role in the stability of communities. In river systems, fragmentation of natural habitats and environmental changes alters the energy basis and community composition, consequently leading to variations in the community's trophic structure and niche space. However, our understanding of how the trophic structure responds to environmental changes is still very limited. Here, based on stable isotope data, we explored and compared trophic positions (TPs), community-wide trophic metrics, and isotope niche space of fish communities in three reaches with different hydrogeomorphic conditions along a highly regulated subtropical river over three seasons. The community trophic structure and niche space showed notable spatiotemporal variations. Overall, the downstream reach had lower TPs and trophic diversity but higher trophic redundancy. The middle reach occupied a wider isotope niche space than other reaches, with the largest niche size during autumn. Furthermore, the niche overlap was relatively high in winter between reaches and in the downstream between seasons. The results implied a homogenization of feeding functional groups and energy flow pathways of species in the downstream community associated with the change of energy source and stability of hydrological conditions. The relationship between trophic structure and environmental factors suggested that the dam-induced alteration in hydrological-related aspects may drive the changes in the functional group composition, together with changes in energy basis, resulting in differences in the trophic structure of the community. The results of the present study deepen our understanding of how ecosystem functions respond to disturbance, thus contributing to an improved ability to conserve river ecosystems.

Usage Notes

The dataset is composed of two Excel files:(1) LJSR Fish stable isotope data.xlsx file that contain information on C and N stable isotope values, body size and trophic categories of fish collected from the Lower Jinsha River and (2) LJSR Environmental variables data.xlsx file that contain information the environmental variables collected synchronously from the Lower Jinsha River as described in manuscript of Huijun Ru et al. in Ecology and Evolution.

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 51409262

China Three Gorges Corporation, Award: 0799555