Data from: Decreasing stoichiometric resource quality drives compensatory feeding across trophic levels in tropical litter invertebrate communities
Jochum, Malte et al. (2017), Data from: Decreasing stoichiometric resource quality drives compensatory feeding across trophic levels in tropical litter invertebrate communities, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n5h64
Living organisms are constrained by both resource quantity and quality. Ecological stoichiometry offers important insights into how the elemental composition of resources affects their consumers. If resource quality decreases, consumers can respond by shifting their body stoichiometry, avoiding low-quality resources, or up-regulating feeding rates to maintain the supply of required elements while excreting excess carbon (i.e., compensatory feeding). We analyzed multitrophic consumer body stoichiometry, biomass, and feeding rates along a resource-quality gradient in the litter of tropical forest and rubber and oil-palm plantations. Specifically, we calculated macroinvertebrate feeding rates based on consumer metabolic demand and assimilation efficiency. Using linear mixed effects models, we assessed resource-quality effects on macroinvertebrate detritivore and predator communities. We did not detect shifts in consumer body stoichiometry or decreases in consumer biomass in response to declining resource quality, as indicated by increasing carbon-to-nitrogen ratios. However, across trophic levels, we found a strong indication of decreasing resource quality leading to increased consumer feeding rates through altered assimilation efficiency and community body size structure. Our study reveals the influence of resource quality on multitrophic consumer feeding rates and suggests compensatory feeding to be more common across consumer trophic levels than was formerly known.