Stability of pitcher-plant microfaunal populations depends on food web structure
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): M. K. Trzcinski; S. J. Walde; P. D. Taylor
Publication Year: 2005

Cataloging Information

  • bacteria
  • bogs
  • Canada
  • carnivorous plants
  • fire dependent species
  • insects
  • leaves
  • population density
  • predation
  • predators
  • Rosa
  • Sarracenia purpurea
  • watershed management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 45555
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21092
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-O
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Enrichment (increasing K) destabilizes simple consumer-resource interactions, but increasing food web complexity in various ways can remove this paradox of enrichment. We varied resources and number of omnivorous predators (mosquitoes) and tested for effects on the stability (persistence and temporal variability) of microfaunal populations living in pitcher plants. Top-down (omnivorous) effects were destablizing, decreasing the persistence time of a rotifer, Habrotrocha rosa, and perhaps a microflagellate, Bodo sp. Enrichment effects were more complex, in part due to effects of shredding midges on resource availability, and in part due to interactions with predation. The persistence of Bodo increased with resource availability (more bacteria due to shredding by midges; no paradox of enrichment). Increasing resources by adding ants decreased persistence of H. rosa when mosquitoes were rare (paradox of enrichment), but the effect was reversed in leaves with significant colonization by mosquitoes. Thus, in the microfaunal community of pitcher plants, omnivorous predation tends to be destablizing, and also tends to remove the paradox of enrichment. © OIKOS 2005. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Trzcinski, M. K., S. J. Walde, and P. D. Taylor. 2005. Stability of pitcher-plant microfaunal populations depends on food web structure. Oikos, v. 110, no. 1, p. 146-154.