Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arkansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arkansas Project


Biological responses of Ozark stream communities to compounded stressors: The convergence of drought, nutrient pollution, and novel predation

May 2016 - May 2020


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • University of Arkansas
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Drought, nutrient pollution and apex predation have diverse effects on stream community structure and function. While research has examined how these stressors shape stream communities individually, we know relatively little about if, and how, these stressors interact to influence stream systems. We performed a set of mesocosm experiments and constructed a mathematical model that explore the compounded effects of drought, nutrient pollution and increased apex predation on a subset of Ozark stream community fauna. We found that each of the individual stressors impacts several aspects of stream community structure and functioning, and that stressors can interact in both additive and antagonistic ways. However, these interactions are context dependent, and can vary depending on geographic and temporal scale as well as trophic position. Results of this study can further our knowledge of multi-stressor systems, and be used to inform best management strategies that mitigate effects of multiple stressors on stream communities.