Stoichiometric constraints modulate temperature and nutrient effects on biomass distribution and community stability

Oikos. 2022 Jul;2022(7):oik.08601. doi: 10.1111/oik.08601. Epub 2021 Oct 26.

ABSTRACT

Temperature and nutrients are two of the most important drivers of global change. Both can modify the elemental composition (i.e. stoichiometry) of primary producers and consumers. Yet their combined effect on the stoichiometry, dynamics and stability of ecological communities remains largely unexplored. To fill this gap, we extended the Rosenzweig-MacArthur consumer-resource model by including thermal dependencies, nutrient dynamics and stoichiometric constraints on both the primary producer and the consumer. We found that stoichiometric and nutrient conservation constraints dampen the paradox of enrichment and increased persistence at high nutrient levels. Nevertheless, stoichiometric constraints also reduced consumer persistence at extreme temperatures. Finally, we also found that stoichiometric constraints and nutrient dynamics can strongly influence biomass distribution across trophic levels by modulating consumer assimilation efficiency and resource growth rates along the environmental gradients. In the Rosenzweig-MacArthur model, consumer biomass exceeded resource biomass for most parameter values whereas, in the stoichiometric model, consumer biomass was strongly reduced and sometimes lower than resource biomass. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for stoichiometric constraints as they can mediate the temperature and nutrient impact on the dynamics and functioning of ecological communities.

PMID:36644620 | PMC:PMC7614052 | DOI:10.1111/oik.08601

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