Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Wyatt F. Cross; Jonathan P. Benstead; Amy D. Rosemond; J. Bruce Wallace
    Date: 2003
    Source: Ecology Letters. 6: 721-732
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (207 KB)


    Stoichiometric relationships between consumers and resources in detritus-based ecosystems have received little attention, despite the importance of detritus in most food webs. We analysed carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) content of invertebrate consumers, and basal food resources in two forested headwater streams (one reference and the other nutrient-enriched). We found large elemental imbalances between consumers and food resources compared with living plant-based systems, particularly in regard to P content, which were reduced with enrichment. Enrichment significantly increased nutrient content of food resources (consistent with uptake of N and P by detritus-associated microbes). P content of some invertebrates also increased in the enriched vs. reference stream, suggesting deviation from strict homeostasis. Nutrient content varied significantly among invertebrate functional feeding groups, orders and, to some extent, size classes. Future application of stoichiometric theory to detritus-based systems should consider the potential for relatively large consumer-resource elemental imbalances and P storage by insect consumers.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Cross, Wyatt F.; Benstead, Jonathan P.; Rosemond, Amy D.; Wallace, J. Bruce. 2003. Consumer-resource stoichiometry in detritus-based streams. Ecology Letters. 6: 721-732


    Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, detritus, ecological stoichiometry, experimental enrichment, food web, insect, invertebrate, stream

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page