Resource subsidies between stream and terrestrial ecosystems under global change

Larsen, StefanoMuehlbauer, Jeffrey D.Martí, Eugènia. Global Change Biology : DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13182 (2016)  DIGITAL.CSIC

Streams and adjacent terrestrial ecosystems are characterised by permeable boundaries that are crossed by resource subsidies. Although the importance of these subsidies for riverine ecosystems is increasingly recognised, little is known about how they may be influenced by global environmental change. Drawing from available evidence, in this review we propose a conceptual framework to evaluate the effects of global change on the quality and spatio-temporal dynamics of stream-terrestrial subsidies. We illustrate how changes to hydrologic and temperature regimes, atmospheric CO2 concentration, land-use, and the distribution of non-indigenous species can influence subsidy fluxes by affecting the biology and ecology of donor and recipient systems and the physical characteristics of stream-riparian boundaries. Climate-driven changes in the physiology and phenology of organisms with complex lifecycles will influence their development time, body size and emergence patterns, with consequences for adjacent terrestrial consumers. Also, novel species interactions can modify subsidy dynamics via complex bottom-up and top-down effects. Given the seasonality and pulsed nature of subsidies, alterations of the temporal and spatial synchrony of resource availability to consumers across ecosystems is likely to result in ecological mismatches that can scale up from individual responses, to communities, to ecosystems. Similarly, altered hydrology, temperature, CO2 concentration, and land-use will modify the recruitment and quality of riparian vegetation, the timing of leaf abscission, and the establishment of invasive riparian species. Along with morphological changes to streamterrestrial boundaries, these will alter the use and fluxes of allochthonous subsidies associated with stream ecosystems. Future research should aim to understand how subsidy dynamics will be affected by key drivers of global change, including agricultural intensification, increasing water use, and biotic homogenization. Our conceptual framework based on the match-mismatch between donor and recipient organisms may facilitate understanding of the multiple effects of global change and aid in the development of future research questions.