Loading of water bodies with dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved total nitrogen (DTN) affects their integrity and functioning. Microbial interactions mitigate the negative effects of high nutrient loads in these ecosystems. Despite numerous studies on how biodiversity mediates ecosystem functions, whether and how diversity and complexity of microbial food webs (horizontal, vertical) and the underlying ecological mechanisms influence nutrient removal has barely been investigated. Using microbial microcosms accommodating systematic combinations of prey (bacteria) and predator (protists) species, we showed that increasing bacterial richness improved the extent and reliability of DOC and DTN removal. Bacterial diversity drove nutrient removal either due to species foraging physiology or functional redundancy, whereas protistan diversity affected nutrient removal through bacterial prey resource partitioning and changing nutrient balance in the system. Our results demonstrate that prey–predator diversity and trophic interactions interactively determine nutrient contents, thus implying the vital role of microbial trophic complexity as a biological buffer against DOC and DTN.
Research news | 2018-07-10
The World in 2050 initiative launches new report outlining synergies and benefits that render the goals achievable
Educational news | 2018-07-02
LEAP our leadership programme designed for changemakers that want to lead social-ecological transformations to sustainability. Application deadline is 5 August 2018.
Research news | 2018-06-27
Overfishing, fractured international relationships and political conflicts loom as fish migrate more unpredictably because of climate change. Here is how to deal with it
Research news | 2018-06-26
Profit-maximizing approaches are most likely to produce outcomes that harm people or the environment. But it depends on the circumstances whether a sustainable or a safe approach is most suitable, new study argues
General news | 2018-06-20
Will lead a redesign of the organisational structure at the centre
Research news | 2018-06-20
New book chapter looks into the economic, cultural and ecological reasons why some people leave the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and what could be done to reverse the trend