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Individual and spatial variation are as important as species level variation to the trophic complexity of a lentic food web Thumbnail

Year: 2019

Ecological complexity may improve ecosystem function, stability and adaptability to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Intraspecific trophic variation can represent a significant component of total community variation and can influence food web structure and function. Thus, understanding how trophic niches are partitioned between intraspecific and interspecific processes could improve our understanding of food web dynamics.

We examined gut contents, fatty acids and stable isotope ratios in round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) across six sites in Lake Michigan, USA, to determine patterns in intra‐ and interspecific trophic composition (i.e., mean gut or fatty acid composition) and diversity (i.e., the diversity of gut items or fatty acids). We also examined relationships between fatty acid diversity and gut content characteristics to understand potential mechanisms shaping individual trophic phenotypes. There was significant variation in both trophic composition and diversity among sites, and individual and spatial variation was as important to total trophic variation as species identity. Round goby that consumed dreissenid mussels had more diverse fatty acid profiles than those that consumed other benthic invertebrates, whereas yellow perch fatty acid diversity was not related to gut content composition. Our results confirm that intraspecific variation in resource use can be as important to trophic dynamics as interspecific variation, and that spatial variation in lower level food web processes or habitat may strongly structure local food web dynamics. Individual‐level examination of trophic diversity, in concert with trophic composition, could provide additional information about the resilience, function and adaptability of local food webs.

Document available through publisher’s website: 10.1111/eff.12472


Aquatic Ecosystems in a Shifting Indiana Climate Thumbnail

Year: 2018

Indiana’s ecosystems will experience changes in water quantity, water temperature, ice cover, water clarity, and oxygen content as the state’s temperature and rainfall patterns shift. The plants and animals living in these aquatic ecosystems will undergo changes that will vary based on the species and the specific places they inhabit.

Part of the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment (IN CCIA).

Download the report from Purdue e-Pubs. DOI: 10.5703/1288284316782


Creating Impacts in Coastal Communities Fact Sheet Thumbnail
File Type: pdf
File Size: 238.74 KB
Year: 2018

We use research, outreach, and education to bring the latest science to Great Lakes communities and their residents. Here is a quick summary of IISG impacts in the region for educating interested parties about what Sea Grant does.

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Lake Michigan by the Numbers Thumbnail
File Type: pdf
File Size: 14.00 MB
Year: 2015

A curriculum for integrating real-time buoy data as a teaching tool about Lake Michigan conditions and current issues.

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