Trophic structure of stream macroinvertebrate communities revealed by stable isotope analysis

Kozo Watanabe, Tatsuo Omura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The trophic structure of a macroinvertebrate community was investigated using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes analysis (δ13c and δ15N) at three longitudinal sites along the main channel of the Hirose River, Japan, and at an outlet site of the tributary reservoir. Along the main channel, primal food supply gradually changed from allochthonous to autochthonous source. The percentage of autochthonous origin of the macroinvertebrate community calculated by a carbon-mixing model (= 38-83%) increased with that of suspended fine paniculate organic matter (FPOM = 21-67%), a main resource for filtering-collectors that dominated the communities. The lowest percentage of autochthonous in the lake outlet community (= 21%) was a result of the notably low percentage autochthonous of FPOM due to the decomposition of allochthonous coarse particulate organic matter (e.g., leaf) strained in the reservoir. Predators had higher mean δ15N than non-predators in three sites. The average enrichments of δ15N signature per trophic level for all sites were 3.82%o from producers to first consumers and 1.24%o from first to second consumers. Our data suggest the strong potential for stable isotope analysis to enhance our understanding of the trophic structure of stream macroinvertebrate community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Allochthonous and autochthonous organic matter
  • Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes
  • Macroinvertebrate
  • River continuum concept

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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