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Resistance of Lotic Ecosystems to a Light Elimination Disturbance: A Laboratory Stream Study

Alan D. Steinman, Patrick J. Mulholland, Anthony V. Palumbo, Terry F. Flum, Jerry W. Elwood and Donald L. DeAngelis
Oikos
Vol. 58, No. 1 (May, 1990), pp. 80-90
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3565363
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3565363
Page Count: 11
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Resistance of Lotic Ecosystems to a Light Elimination Disturbance: A Laboratory Stream Study
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Abstract

Black plastic was placed over eight laboratory stream channels for 92 d to examine the resistance of lotic ecosystems to light elimination. Prior to the disturbance, four treatments (high grazing-recirculated flow, high grazing-once-through flow, low grazing-recirculated flow, low grazing-once-through flow) were imposed on the streams, resulting in systems with different biomass levels and recycling indices. Light elimination resulted in significant declines of all functional and most structural properties associated with the streams, irrespective of treatment. Declines in species diversity and number were greater in high grazed than low grazed streams. However, high grazed streams appeared more resistant than low grazed streams with respect to autotrophic biomass and carbon fixation. Nutrient levels had little influence on resistance. The relatively small effect of the treatments on system resistance compared with the large influence of light elimination suggests that resistance may be more dependent on the qualities of the disturbance (e.g. magnitude and duration) than those of the system.

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