A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named ‘green’ and ‘blue’ - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the ‘adaptive’ responses of plankton communities to perturbations.

Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web

Libralato S;
2016

Abstract

A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named ‘green’ and ‘blue’ - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the ‘adaptive’ responses of plankton communities to perturbations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/4204
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