Invertebrate colonisation during leaf processing of native, exotic and artificial detritus in a tropical stream.
Gonçalves Júnior, J. F.; Rezende, R. de S.; França, J.; Callisto, M.
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Biologia Geral, Laboratório de Ecologia de Bentos, C.P. 486, Belo Horizonte, MG, 30161-970, Brazil.
Marine and Freshwater Research 2012 Vol. 63 No. 5 pp. 428-439
CSIRO, Collingwood, Australia
Language of Text
The relationship between leaf breakdown and colonisation by invertebrates in tropical aquatic ecosystems is poorly understood, especially in regard to the added problem of the potential effects of exotic species. To assess the colonisation by invertebrates during leaf breakdown in a third-order headwater stream in south-eastern Brazil, we conducted an experiment using the native species Miconia chartacea, the exotic species Eucalyptus grandis and artificial leaves. We hypothesised that the quality of the detritus and the leaf shape influence invertebrate colonisation because of the quality of the food and refuge offered by leaf detritus. Invertebrate density and richness were higher on leaves of E. grandis than on those of M. chartacea. Taxon richness did not differ among M. chartacea and the two sizes of artificial leaves offered, probably as a function of the chemical composition of E. grandis. Total invertebrate density was significantly higher in the organic detritus, suggesting that detritus provides food for the organisms. Our results indicate that the colonisation of invertebrates is probably affected by the chemical composition of detritus. Contrary to expectations, the community of invertebrates had no difficulty in colonising E. grandis, although it is an exotic species. In addition, the shredder activity did not influence leaf breakdown. These results may indicate that the invertebrates in this stream tend to behave as generalist feeders.