Plankton communities are the foundation of marine food webs and have a large effect on the dynamics of entire ecosystems. Changes in physicochemical factors strongly influence planktonic organisms and their turnover rates, making their communities useful for monitoring ecosystem health. We studied and compared the planktonic food webs of Palude della Rosa (Venice Lagoon, Italy) in 2005 and 2007. The food webs were developed using a novel approach based on the Monte Carlo random sampling of parameters within specific and realistic ranges to derive 1000 food webs for July of each year. The consumption flows involving Strombididae, Evadne spp. and Podon spp. were identified as the most important in splitting food webs of the July of the two years. Although functional nodes (FNs) differed both in presence and abundance in July of the two years, the whole system indicators showed very similar results. Sediment resuspension acted as a source of stress for the Venice Lagoon, being the most used resource by consumers while inhibiting primary producers by increasing water turbidity. Primary production in the water column was mainly generated by benthic FNs. Although the system was near an equilibrium point, it tended to increase its resilience at the expense of efficiency due to stress. This study highlights the role of plankton communities, which can serve to assess ecosystem health.

Planktonic ecological networks support quantification of changes in ecosystem health and functioning

Matteo Loschi;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Plankton communities are the foundation of marine food webs and have a large effect on the dynamics of entire ecosystems. Changes in physicochemical factors strongly influence planktonic organisms and their turnover rates, making their communities useful for monitoring ecosystem health. We studied and compared the planktonic food webs of Palude della Rosa (Venice Lagoon, Italy) in 2005 and 2007. The food webs were developed using a novel approach based on the Monte Carlo random sampling of parameters within specific and realistic ranges to derive 1000 food webs for July of each year. The consumption flows involving Strombididae, Evadne spp. and Podon spp. were identified as the most important in splitting food webs of the July of the two years. Although functional nodes (FNs) differed both in presence and abundance in July of the two years, the whole system indicators showed very similar results. Sediment resuspension acted as a source of stress for the Venice Lagoon, being the most used resource by consumers while inhibiting primary producers by increasing water turbidity. Primary production in the water column was mainly generated by benthic FNs. Although the system was near an equilibrium point, it tended to increase its resilience at the expense of efficiency due to stress. This study highlights the role of plankton communities, which can serve to assess ecosystem health.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3060178
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