Aquatic-terrestrial Linkages

Ecology has a long history of focusing research efforts on the dynamics of just one type of ecosystem, often ignoring the influence of connected systems. The divide has been particularly wide for aquatic and terrestrial ecologists. But research in the past two decades has demonstrated just how strongly these ecosystems can be linked. Locations of interface between aquatic and terrestrial systems can also provide unique habitats, promoting local or regional diversity. However, the strong linkages between these systems also means that changes to one ecosystem can greatly alter the adjacent system.  Thus, the effects of climate change, increasing resource consumption, and land-use change could cascade across ecosystems.

Our research activities focus on how changes in streamflow permanence and water quality influence linked aquatic and terrestrial food webs and ecosystems. Research activities may focus on field measurement and experimentation in both dryland and local Ohio environments, with complimentary laboratory studies.

In association with this work, we recently received funding to examine sources and ages of phosphorus contributing to algal bloom development in Lake Erie, using stable oxygen isotopes in phosphate. We have also linked this research back to food webs, examining how chemical contaminants and stream/ditch restoration efforts are influencing phosphorus uptake/retention (e.g. via biofilms) and removal (via emergent insects).

Selected relevant publications (see Google Scholar profile for complete list)

  1. McCluney, K. E., and J. L. Sabo. 2014. Sensitivity and Tolerance of Riparian Arthropod Communities to Altered Water Resources along a Drying River. PLoS ONE 9:e109276.
  2. Stromberg, J.C., K.E. McCluney, M.D. Dixon, T. Meixner. 2013. Dryland riparian ecosystems in the American Southwest: sensitivity and resilience to climatic extremes. Ecosystems 16(3): 411-415. doi: 10.1007/s10021-012-9606-3
  3. McCluney, K. E. and J. L. Sabo.  2012.  River drying lowers the diversity and alters the composition of an assemblage of desert riparian arthropods. Freshwater Biology 57(1): 91-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02698.x

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