Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Cooper Creek Food Webs

Studies of the carbon13 signatures of a number of species comprising the food web of of Cooper Creek has found that most animals have signatures similar to that of algae, indicating that they eat algae. In percentages of the biomass of the studied organisms, 95 % of the biomass of snails, 74 % for shrimps, and 58 % for yabbies, is derived from algal carbon. In small gudgeons, at least half their biomass is derived from algal carbon, most likely because they feed on small invertebrates. In the yellowbelly it is 58 % of algal carbon, also because of the food chain. Surface feeding rainbow fish, eating mostly insects, their signatures were close to that of terrestrial sources. Later studies found that zooplankton are a major component of food web of the waterhole, being a large component of the food of several fish and filter feeders such as mussels. The studies found that terrestrial derived carbon sources were far less important in these ecosystems than expected, the food webs being based almost entirely on benthic algae and plankton.

Sources & Further reading

Mary E White, Running Down, Water in a Changing Land, Kangaroo Press, 2000


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 06/10/2009  




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