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Ecological stoichiometry and multi element transfer in a coastal ecosystem
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2012 (English)In: Ecosystems (New York. Print), ISSN 1432-9840, E-ISSN 1435-0629, Vol. 15, no 4, 591-603 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Energy (carbon) flows and element cycling are fundamental, interlinked principles explaining ecosystem processes. The element balance in components, interactions and processes in ecosystems (ecological stoichiometry; ES) has been used to study trophic dynamics and element cycling. This study extends ES beyond its usual limits of C, N, and P and examines the distribution and transfer of 48 elements in 16 components of a coastal ecosystem, using empirical and modeling approaches. Major differences in elemental composition were demonstrated between abiotic and biotic compartments and trophic levels due to differences in taxonomy and ecological function. Mass balance modeling for each element, based on carbon fluxes and element:C ratios, was satisfactory for 92.5% of all element similar to compartment combinations despite the complexity of the ecosystem model. Model imbalances could mostly be explained by ecological processes, such as increased element uptake during the spring algal bloom. Energy flows in ecosystems can thus realistically estimate element transfer in the environment, as modeled uptake is constrained by metabolic rates and elements available. The dataset also allowed us to examine one of the key concepts of ES, homeostasis, for more elements than is normally possible. The relative concentrations of elements in organisms compared to their resources did not provide support for the theory that autotrophs show weak homeostasis and showed that the strength of homeostasis by consumers depends on the type of element (for example, macroelement, trace element). Large-scale, multi-element ecosystem studies are essential to evaluate and advance the framework of ES and the importance of ecological processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 15, no 4, 591-603 p.
Keyword [en]
Ecological stoichiometry, Ecosystem model, Element cycling, Carbon flow, Trophic transfer, Homeostasis, Baltic Sea
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79786DOI: 10.1007/s10021-012-9531-5ISI: 000303869600006OAI: diva2:551778


Available from: 2012-09-12 Created: 2012-09-11 Last updated: 2012-09-12Bibliographically approved

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