Water Webs

Water is essential to life on earth and may drive physiology, behavior, species interactions, and dynamics of populations, food webs, and ecosystems. Although the effects of water on organismal physiology and plant ecology have been well studied, relatively little research has investigated how water influences animal ecology and how this, in turn, influences ecosystems. Our understanding of these relationships is of great importance in light of changes in precipitation and temperature associated with climate change, changes in land use (urbanization), and increasing demands on limited freshwater resources in aquifers, streams, and lakes. Future research activities will involve both lab and field research focusing on both basic and applied questions, and may involve the use of cutting edge techniques with stable isotopes and respirometry, as well as the “bread and butter” of empirical ecology, low-tech observations and manipulations. Field activities will likely be increasingly comparative across broad gradients of precipitation, temperature, and land-use (e.g., urban development). However, many opportunities exist, even locally in Ohio, for answering relatively unexplored basic or applied questions about how changes in water availability and demand influence physiology, behavior, species interactions, populations, communities, and ecosystems.

Check out more about our ongoing efforts to better understand where and when arthropod water stress occurs inside and outside of urban areas around the US

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

  1. McCluney, K. E., J. Burdine, and S. D. Frank. In Revision. Convergence of arthropod hydration across multiple US cities with divergent climate. Journal of Urban Ecology
  2. McCluney, K. E. and J. L. Sabo. 2016. Animal water balance drives top-down effects in a riparian forest—implications for terrestrial trophic cascades. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 20160881. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.0881
  3. Allen, D. C., K. E. McCluney, S. R. Elser*, and J. L. Sabo. 2014. Water as a trophic currency in dryland food webs. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(3): 156-160. doi: 10.1890/130160
  4. McCluney, K. E., J. Belnap, A. L. Gonzalez, J. N. Holland, B. P. Kotler, F. T. Maestre, S. D. Smith, S. L. Collins, B. O. Wolf, and E. M. Hagen. 2012. Shifting species interactions in terrestrial dryland ecosystems under altered water availability and climate change. Biological Reviews 87(3): 563-582. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00209.x
  5. McCluney, K. E. and J. L. Sabo.  2010.  Tracing water sources of terrestrial animal populations with stable isotopes: laboratory tests with crickets and spiders. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15696. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015696
  6. This is a key paper –> McCluney, K. E. and J. L. Sabo.  2009.  Water availability directly determines per capita consumption at two trophic levels.  Ecology (Report) 90(6): 1463-1469. doi: 10.1890/08-1626.1
  7. Sabo, J. L., K. E. McCluney, Y. Y. Marusenko, A. C. Keller, and C. U. Soykan. 2008. Greenfall links groundwater to aboveground food webs in desert river floodplains. Ecological Monographs 78 (4): 615-631. doi:10.1890/07-1382.1
  8. McCluney, K.E. and R.C. Date.  2008. The Effects of Hydration on Growth of the House Cricket, Acheta domesticusJournal of Insect Science 8: 1-9.

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