Subsidy quality

Terrestrial food webs are affected by the selective impacts of aquatic micropollutants on insect emergence

Main research questions:

How do aquatic micropollutants affect the emergence – particularly the emergence quality – of merolimnic insects?

Do these effects propagate to riparian consumers and what are potential consequences for the riparian food web?

Emerging merolimnic insects can be of pivotal importance for the diet of riparian predators, such as spiders, bats and birds. The significance of such aquatic subsidy is most likely explained by its high nutritious value (e.g., the presence of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids). However, anthropogenic stressors can disturb the integrity of freshwater systems, in turn, altering the connectivity across ecosystem boundaries and hence between their food webs. Therefore, this project aims to investigate if and how aquatic micropollutants affect insect emergence – particularly the emergence quality – and how those effects may propagate to riparian food webs. For this, we conduct a series of experiments in the laboratory and a newly build mesocosm facility (‘Riparian Stream Mesocosm’, RSM) to tackle the aforementioned research questions at different levels of complexity. Furthermore, we employ a variety of (analytical) methods to substantiate observed effects and/or shed light on underlying mechanisms and describe physiological responses. In particular, the analysis of fatty and amino acids (measured by GC-FID) as well as bulk parameters (measured by spectrophotometer) such as lipids and proteins are the focal point of this project.


Published articles:

Marco Konschak, Jochen P. Zubrod, Patrick Baudy, Patrick Fink, Sebastian Pietz, Tomás Duque, Nikita Bakanov, Ralf Schulz, & Mirco Bundschuh (2021). Mixture effects of a fungicide and an antibiotic: Assessment and prediction using a decomposer-detritivore system. Aquatic Toxicology, 232, 105762.

Dominic Englert, Jochen P. Zubrod, Sebastian Pietz, Sonja Stefani, Martin Krauss, Ralf Schulz, & Mirco Bundschuh (2017). Relative importance of dietary uptake and waterborne exposure for a leaf-shredding amphipod exposed to thiacloprid-contaminated leaves. Scientific reports, 7(1), 16182.