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Productivity, Consumers, and the Structure of a River Food Chain

J. Timothy Wootton and Mary E. Power
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 90, No. 4 (Feb. 15, 1993), pp. 1384-1387
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2361194
Page Count: 4
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Productivity, Consumers, and the Structure of a River Food Chain
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Abstract

We tested models of food chain dynamics in experimentally manipulated channels within a natural river. As light levels increased, primary productivity and the biomass of algae and primary predators increased, but the biomass of grazers remained relatively constant. In the presence of a fourth trophic level, algae and primary predators decreased, but grazers increased. These results match predictions of food chain models based on classical predator-prey theory and suggest that simple models of multitrophic level interactions are sometimes sufficient to predict the responses of natural communities to changes in environmental productivity and predators.

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