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): S. Conor Keitzer; Reuben R. Goforth
    Date: 2013
    Source: Freshwater Science
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (320.0 KB)

    Description

    Salamanders are abundant consumers in many temperate streams and may be important recyclers of biologically essential nutrients, but their ecological role is poorly understood. The ecological significance of nutrient recycling by salamanders may vary spatially and seasonally because of their potentially patchy distribution in streams and the dynamic nature of stream hydrology and other nutrient fluxes. We examined the spatial and seasonal variation of salamander-driven nutrient recycling in 3 headwater streams in the southern Appalachian Mountains. We quantified the aggregate areal excretion rates of N (NH4+-N) for the larvae of the 2 most abundant salamander species in these steams before and after leaf fall to examine spatial and seasonal variation in the supply of nutrients from salamanders. We used short-term nutrient additions in each stream to examine temporal heterogeneity in the ecosystem demand for NH4+-N. Before leaf fall, salamanders were capable of meeting ∼10% of the ecosystem demand for NH4+-N and could turn over the ambient nutrient pool in ∼3 km. The significance of this contribution declined to ∼3% after leaf fall and the turnover length increased 7×. The ecological significance of salamander nutrient excretion varied by as much as 17× within streams and was as high as 30% of the nutrient demand in some stream sections, a result suggesting that salamanders may create biogeochemical hotspots in these nutrient-limited ecosystems. Thus, salamanders appear to be capable of contributing substantially to stream nutrient cycles through the excretion of limiting nutrients and may be underappreciated members of headwater stream ecosystems, particularly at small spatial scales. However, this contribution varied substantially seasonally and spatially.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to pubrequest@fs.fed.us 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.

    Citation

    Keitzer, S. Conor; Goforth, Reuben R. 2013. Spatial and seasonal variation in the ecological significance of nutrient recycling by larval salamanders in Appalachian headwater streams. Freshwater Science. 32(4): 1136-1147. https://doi.org/10.1899/13-002.1.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Consumer-drive nutrient recycling, amphibian ecological roles, headwater stream, salamander, Desmognathus quadramaculatus, Eurycea wilderae

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/56016