Ecological Stoichiometry and Nutritional Ecology of Benthic Algae in Streams
We have been questioning the current paradigm that allochthonous matter –terrestrial and detrital carbon sources – is of primary importance to stream consumers. We are investigating quantitative and qualitative differences between terrestrial (e.g. forest leaves) and aquatic (algae and bryophytes) food sources. Algae offer significantly greater P (lower C:P ratios) and N (lower C:N ratios) than detritus sources, and have substantially richer supply of essential fatty acids required by invertebrate consumers. Current work is focusing on both benthic and transported matter and the relative importance of aquatic and detrital matter in these fractions.