Product Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Raikow, D.F., D.M. Walters, K.M. Fritz, and M.A. Mills
Raikow, D.F., D.M. Walters, K.M. Fritz, and M.A. Mills. 2011. The distance that contaminated aquatic subsidies extend into lake riparian zones. Ecological Applications 21(3): 983-990.
This article is served with permission from Ecological Society of America .
Consumption of emergent aquatic insects by terrestrial invertebrates is a poorly resolved, but potentially important, mechanism of contaminant flux across ecosystem borders leading to contaminant exposure in terrestrial invertivores. We characterized the spatial extent and magnitude of contaminant transfer from aquatic sediments to terrestrial invertebrate predators by examining riparian araneid spiders, terrestrial insects, and emergent aquatic insects for stable isotopes and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, sum of 141 congeners) at Lake Hartwell, (Clemson, South Carolina, USA). PCB concentrations in aquatic insects were orders of magnitude higher than in terrestrial insects. Aquatic insect consumption by spiders (as indicated by d13C and d15N), PCB concentrations in spiders, and aquatic prey availability were greatest at the shoreline and declined inland, while terrestrial prey availability was invariant with distance. These patterns indicate PCB transfer to spiders through consumption of emergent aquatic insects extending to a distance of ~5 m inland. Measurable, but much lower, PCBs were present in insect predators dominated by social wasps up to 30 m inland. These results illustrate the importance of emergent insects as vectors of contaminant transfer from lake sediments to riparian food webs, and that spiders are key predators in this process.