Differential utilization of allochthonous and autochthonous carbon by aquatic insects of two shrub-steppe desert spring-streams: A stable carbon isotope analysis and critique of the method
Description: The purpose of this study is to assess whether the carbon supporting stream food webs comes principally from terrestrial sources or is produced within the stream. Lacking data to resolve the allochthonous/autochthonous issue with any finality, stream ecologists have alternately postulated that stream carbon was principally autochthonous or principally allochthonous. Others argued that autochthonous and allochthonous carbon resources cannot be separated and that the allochthonous/autochthonous dependence issue is unresolvable. Many investigators have seized upon stable carbon isotopes technology as the tool to resolve the controversy. Unfortunately most investigators have conceded that the results are rarely quantitative and that the qualitative relationships are ambiguous. This study points out the fallacies of trying to conjure single isotopic values for either allochthonous or autochthonous carbon. It suggests that stable carbon isotope technology is not reliable in establishing specific consumer/food source relations and that it is not suitable for assessing allochthonous/autochthonous carbon dependence in freshwater streams.
Date: June 1, 1993
Creator: Mize, A. L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department