Interactions with the benthos alter pelagic food web structure in coastal waters
Date of Original Version
Research over a 10-yr period in 13-m mesocosms showed that changes in the pelagic food web were correlated with different sediment communities and with the presence or absence of a benthos. The abundance of copepods was inversely correlated with numbers of macrofauna. At both low and high nutrient levels, systems without benthos had greatly enhanced numbers of carnivorous holozooplankton including ctenophores, medusans, chaetognaths, and fish. The presence of the benthos shortens the pelagic food web and inhibits the response of pelagic fauna to nutrient enrichment in well-mixed coastal waters. The strength of benthic-pelagic coupling (controlled by the amount of turbulence in the water column) may be more important to food web structure than the rate of nutrient supply and could determine which subsystem responds to eutrophication. -from Authors
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Sullivan, B. K., P. H. Doering, C. A. Oviatt, A. A. Keller, and J. B. Frithsen. "Interactions with the benthos alter pelagic food web structure in coastal waters." Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48, 11 (1991). doi: 10.1139/f91-267.