Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Terrestrial–aquatic linkages in spring-fed and snowmelt-dominated streams

April 3, 2017

The importance of trophic linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is predicted to vary as a function of subsidy quantity and quality relative to in situ resources. To test this prediction, I used multi-year diet data from Bonneville cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki Utah in spring-fed and snowmelt-driven streams in the high desert of western North America. I documented that trout in spring-fed streams consumed more (number and weight) aquatic than terrestrial invertebrates, while trout in snowmelt-driven streams consumed a similar number of both prey types but consumed more terrestrial than aquatic invertebrates by weight. Trout in spring-fed streams consumed more aquatic invertebrates than trout in snowmelt streams and trout consumed more terrestrial invertebrates in snowmelt than in spring-fed streams. Up to 93% of trout production in spring-fed streams and 60% in snowmelt streams was fueled by aquatic invertebrates, while the remainder of trout production in each stream type was from terrestrial production. I found that the biomass and occurrence of consumed terrestrial invertebrates were not related to our measures of in situ resource quality or quantity in either stream type. These empirical data highlight the importance of autotrophic-derived production to trout in xeric regions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2017
Title Terrestrial–aquatic linkages in spring-fed and snowmelt-dominated streams
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2017.1284696
Authors Adam J. Sepulveda
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70186236
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center