ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2014, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 223–230. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2014.
Original Russian Text © D.I. Korobushkin, 2014, published in Ekologiya, 2014, No. 3, pp. 221–229.
The study of spatial links between ecosystems is
one of challenges in modern ecology. Mobile organ
isms crossing the borders of their parent ecosystem
transfer matter and energy into adjacent ecosystems.
This transfer can affect recipient populations and
communities of vertebrate and invertebrate animals
(Vernadsky, 1978; Henschel et al., 2001; Sabo and
Power, 2002; Lundberg and Moberg, 2003; Hagar
et al., 2012). At the boundaries of aquatic and terres
trial systems, e.g., on small islands (Polis and Hurd,
1995) or at the periphery of water bodies (Gratton
et al., 2008), such transfer (“aquatic subsidy”) can
serve as a major or even the main source of nutrient and
energy input into terrestrial food webs (Collier et al.,
2002; Gladyshev et al., 2009).
The intensity of lateral transfer can be quantita
tively assessed at the boundaries of contrasting ecosys
tems, where the isotopic composition of organic mat
ter is different (Hoefs, 1983; Polis et al., 1997). The
organic matter of marine ecosystems, compared to
terrestrial, is considerably enriched with
and Fry, 1987). This allows the isotopic composi
tion of carbon (
ratio) to be used for evaluating
the input of “marine origin carbon” into terrestrial
The organic matter of fresh water bodies, especially
eutrophic, is in turn often distinguished by lower levels
of “heavy” carbon than the organic matter of terres
trial ecosystems (France, 1999; Post, 2002). Hence,
the isotopic composition of carbon is convenient for
estimating the aquatic subsidy to terrestrial ecosystems
(Anderson and Polis, 1998; Sanzone et al., 2003;
Gratton et al., 2008; Goncharov et al., 2011; Seifert
and Scheu, 2012). The isotopic composition of nitro
gen is less suitable for this purpose, but it can be used
to determine the position of animals in trophic food
webs (Peterson and Fry, 1987; Post, 2002).
The input of marine resources can affect the distri
bution, dynamics and trophic linkages of terrestrial
invertebrate communities (Polis and Hurd, 1995;
Anderson and Polis, 1998; Colombini et al., 2011).
Sea wrack provides an environment and a source of
food for larval and adult coastal and terrestrial saproph
ages (woodlice, chironomids, shore flies, amphipods,
mollusks, etc.) (Sergeeva et al., 1987; Anderson and
Polis, 1998). These animals, in turn, serve as an energy
resource for soil and aboveground invertebrate preda
tors that live more distant from the water.
The main acceptors of the aquatic subsidy in
coastal ecosystems are terrestrial polyphagous and
specialized predators (e.g., some hunters on flying
insects like webbuilding spiders) (Henschel et al.,
2001; Kato et al., 2003; Akamatsu et al., 2004; Gon
charov et al., 2011). Adult amphibiotic insects, whose
larval stages develop in the aquatic environment,
emerge from water to become food for many terrestrial
animals. In some ecosystems the biomass of such
insects can exceed 2 t/ha per year (Jackson and Fisher,
Role of Allochthonous Carbon in the Energy of Terrestrial
Invertebrate Communities at Different Distances from the Black Sea
and a Freshwater Lake (Isotopic Evidence)
D. I. Korobushkin
Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow, 119071 Russia
Received July 30, 2013
—Isotopic analysis has become an important tool in the study of lateral links between ecosystems.
The isotopic composition of carbon in terrestrial and aquatic primary producers can differ significantly, which
provides an opportunity to identify the “marine” or “freshwater” carbon in the tissues of terrestrial animals.
We measured the isotopic composition of C and N in tissues of soil invertebrates and estimated the proportion
of “aquatic” carbon in the energy budget of terrestrial food webs at different distances from the Black Sea and
a freshwater lake. Terrestrial predators are actively subsidized with carbon from the Black Sea to distance of
up to about 50 m. The carbon subsidy from the freshwater lake is significant in the zone extending no farther
than the forest border (ca. 15 m). Thus, the effect of allochthonous organic matter on terrestrial communities
in both cases manifests itself only in a relatively narrow coastal strip.
: macrofauna, stable isotopes,
N, allochthonous input, aquatic subsidy, Utrish Nature