Trophic complexity in aqueous systems: bacterial species richness and protistan predation regulate dissolved organic carbon and dissolved total nitrogen removal
Saleem, Muhammad, University of Kentucky
Fetzer, Ingo, Stockholm University
Harms, Hauke, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Chatzinotas, Antonis, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Published Jan 25, 2016 on Dryad.
Cite this dataset
Saleem, Muhammad; Fetzer, Ingo; Harms, Hauke; Chatzinotas, Antonis (2016). Trophic complexity in aqueous systems: bacterial species richness and protistan predation regulate dissolved organic carbon and dissolved total nitrogen removal [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q60vk
Loading of water bodies with dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved total nitrogen (DTN) affects their integrity and functioning. Microbial interactions mitigate the negative effects of high nutrient loads in these ecosystems. Despite numerous studies on how biodiversity mediates ecosystem functions, whether and how diversity and complexity of microbial food webs (horizontal, vertical) and the underlying ecological mechanisms influence nutrient removal has barely been investigated. Using microbial microcosms accommodating systematic combinations of prey (bacteria) and predator (protists) species, we showed that increasing bacterial richness improved the extent and reliability of DOC and DTN removal. Bacterial diversity drove nutrient removal either due to species foraging physiology or functional redundancy, whereas protistan diversity affected nutrient removal through bacterial prey resource partitioning and changing nutrient balance in the system. Our results demonstrate that prey–predator diversity and trophic interactions interactively determine nutrient contents, thus implying the vital role of microbial trophic complexity as a biological buffer against DOC and DTN.
Nitrogen and carbon data
File includes data on DOC and DTN concentrations in the different predator treatments and the control (no-predation) after 48h of incubation.