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Grazers structure the bacterial and algal diversity of aquatic metacommunities

Publikationsart Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)
Autor/in Birtel Julia,
Projekt The eco-evolutionary dynamics of community assembly in aquatic ecosystems
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Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)

Zeitschrift ecology
Volume (Issue) 97(12)
Seite(n) 3472 - 3484
Titel der Proceedings ecology
DOI 10.1002/ecy.1612


Consumers can have strong effects on the biotic and abiotic dynamics of spatially-structured ecosystems. In metacommunities, dispersing consumers can alter local assembly dynamics either directly through trophic interactions or indirectly by modifying local environmental conditions. In aquatic systems, very little is known about how key grazers, such as Daphnia, structure the microbial diversity of metacommunities and influence bacterial-mediated ecosystem functions. In an outdoor mesocosm experiment with replicate metacommunities (two 300 L mesocosms), we tested how the presence and absence of Daphnia and the initial density of the microbial community (manipulated via dilution) influenced the diversity and community structure of algae and bacteria, and several ecosystem properties (e.g., pH, dissolved substances) and functions (e.g., enzyme activity, respiration). We found that Daphnia strongly affected the local and regional diversity of both phytoplankton and bacteria, the taxonomic composition of bacterial communities, the biomass of algae, and ecosystem metabolism (i.e., respiration). Diluting the microbial inoculum (0.2–5 μm size fraction) to the metacommunities increased local phytoplankton diversity, decreased bacteria beta-diversity, and changed the relative abundance of bacterial classes. Changes in the rank abundance of different bacterial groups exhibited phylogenetic signal, implying that closely related bacteria species might share similar responses to the presence of Daphnia.