Impact of herbivory and competition on lake ecosystem structure: underwater experimental manipulation
Two basic ecological relationships, herbivory and competition, distinctively influence terrestrial ecosystem characteristics, such as plant cover, species richness and species composition. It is well-known how it works in the terrestrial ecosystems, but what about under water?
That is why we conducted a unique cage experiment under natural conditions in an aquatic ecosystem. We prevented herbivore access to some caged plots and we removed dominant competitors among primary producers in other plots. The effect of the dominant competitors removal was immediate but the positive effect vanished with time. In contrast, preventing herbivore access had a gradual but long-lasting effect. The macrophyte species showed contrasting responses according to their character. Our findings bring answers in the issue of macrophyte-herbivore relationships and may be applicable during the revitalisation of aquatic ecosystems.
Macrophyte cover in the study lake.
More information may be found in the scientific paper Vejříková et al. (2018) Impact of herbivory and competition on lake ecosystem structure: underwater experimental manipulation. Scientific Reports 8: 12130. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-30598-0.