DO FOOD WEB DYNAMICS SHIFT ACROSS A GRADIENT OF SPRING TO WETLAND HABITATS IN A DESERT ECOSYSTEM?
Like many aquatic habitats around the world, Cuatro Ciénegas, México is facing threats of increasing water usage and land use change. These influences have a strong effect on the basin's sensitive spring habitats, causing a shift towards wetland habitats, which are more thermally variable and dependent on runoff than are springs. While these springs are undergoing large biogeochemical changes, their inhabitants are often forced to adapt or become extirpated. Drastic habitat alterations affect inhabitant physiology, behavior, and, therefore, diet. However, little is known about the food web dynamics of these threatened ecosystems. Gambusia marshi, a fish species present throughout the basin, provides a way to study these dynamics. Stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen will be used to determine how dependent the diet of G. marshi is on terrestrial input, and whether this dependence varies across a gradient from spring to wetland habitats. Determining how G. marshi diet shifts between habitats will provide insight on arid spring food web function and response to environmental change. Moreover, this study contributes to the conservation and management of spring ecosystems in general, which are facing similar threats of change and destruction worldwide.
Christina Lupoli (Primary Presenter/Author), Arizona State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Hector Espinosa-Perez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, email@example.com;
Eric Moody (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Iowa State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Margarita Ojeda (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, email@example.com;
John Sabo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Arizona State University, John.L.Sabo@asu.edu;