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Ecology of High Altitude Waters$
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Dean Jacobsen and Olivier Dangles

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736868

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198736868.001.0001

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Energy flow and species interactions at the edge

Energy flow and species interactions at the edge

(p.133) Chapter 7 Energy flow and species interactions at the edge
Ecology of High Altitude Waters

Dean Jacobsen

Olivier Dangles

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 elucidates the relationships between the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems at high altitude through the description of material cycles and food webs. Following the landscape continuum model, material cycling is profoundly influenced by the physical structure of the waterscape (e.g. vegetation cover); as a result a great diversity of energetic pathways characterize high altitude waterscapes, along an autotrophy–heterotrophy gradient. Similarly, high altitude aquatic food webs embrace a great diversity of trophic compartments, feeding strategies, and processes (trophic cascades and terrestrial subsidiarity) that are profoundly shaped by environmental harshness. Harsh conditions also generate stress gradients along which the strength and direction of species interactions (from competition to facilitation) and their functional role (e.g. as ecosystem engineers) are modified. The resulting structural and functional changes affect in turn species coexistence and trigger potential ecosystem shifts.

Keywords:   high altitude, mountain, aquatic ecosystem, freshwater, autotrophy, heterotrophy, food web, stress gradient hypothesis, omnivory, terrestrial subsidy

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