Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Review on environmental alterations propagating from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems.

Abstract

Terrestrial inputs into freshwater ecosystems are a classical field of environmental science. Resource fluxes (subsidy) from aquatic to terrestrial systems have been less studied, although they are of high ecological relevance particularly for the receiving ecosystem. These fluxes may, however, be impacted by anthropogenically driven alterations modifying structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems. In this context, we reviewed the peer-reviewed literature for studies addressing the subsidy of terrestrial by aquatic ecosystems with special emphasis on the role that anthropogenic alterations play in this water-land coupling. Our analysis revealed a continuously increasing interest in the coupling of aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems between 1990 and 2014 (total: 661 studies), while the research domains focusing on abiotic (502 studies) and biotic (159 studies) processes are strongly separated. Approximately 35% (abiotic) and 25% (biotic) of the studies focused on the propagation of anthropogenic alterations from the aquatic to the terrestrial system. Among these studies, hydromorphological and hydrological alterations were predominantly assessed, whereas water pollution and invasive species were less frequently investigated. Less than 5% of these studies considered indirect effects in the terrestrial system e.g. via food web responses, as a result of anthropogenic alterations in aquatic ecosystems. Nonetheless, these very few publications indicate far-reaching consequences in the receiving terrestrial ecosystem. For example, bottom-up mediated responses via soil quality can cascade over plant communities up to the level of herbivorous arthropods, while top-down mediated responses via predatory spiders can cascade down to herbivorous arthropods and even plants. Overall, the current state of knowledge calls for an integrated assessment on how these interactions within terrestrial ecosystems are affected by propagation of aquatic ecosystem alterations. To fill these gaps, we propose a scientific framework, which considers abiotic and biotic aspects based on an interdisciplinary approach.