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. 2012 Dec;170(4):1077-87.
doi: 10.1007/s00442-012-2361-5. Epub 2012 May 24.

Reciprocal Subsidies in Ponds: Does Leaf Input Increase Frog Biomass Export?


Reciprocal Subsidies in Ponds: Does Leaf Input Increase Frog Biomass Export?

Julia E Earl et al. Oecologia. .


Reciprocal subsidies occur when ecosystems are paired, both importing and exporting resources to each other. The input of subsidies increases reciprocal subsidy export, but it is unclear how this changes with other important factors, such as ambient resources. We provide a conceptual framework for reciprocal subsidies and empirical data testing this framework using a pond-forest system in Missouri, USA. Our experiment used in situ pond mesocosms and three species of anurans: wood frogs, American toads, and southern leopard frogs. We predicted that increases in ambient resources (primary productivity) and detrital subsidy input (deciduous tree leaves) into pond mesocosms would increase reciprocal export (frog biomass) to the surrounding terrestrial ecosystem. In contrast, we found that increases in primary productivity consistently decreased frog biomass, except with leaf litter inputs. With leaf inputs, primary productivity did not affect the export of frogs, indicating that leaf detritus and associated microbial communities may be more important than algae for frog production. We found that subsidy inputs tended to increase reciprocal exports, and thus partial concordance with our conceptual framework.

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