A whole-ecosystem experiment reveals flow-induced shifts in a stream community

Daniela Rosero-López, M. Todd Walter, Alexander S. Flecker, Bert De Bièvre, Rafael Osorio, Dunia González-Zeas, Sophie Cauvy-Fraunié, Olivier Dangles

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

1 Cita (Scopus)


The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible changes to the functioning of freshwater ecosystems compels robust measures of tipping point thresholds. To determine benthic cyanobacteria regime shifts in a potable water supply system in the tropical Andes, we conducted a whole ecosystem-scale experiment in which we systematically diverted 20 to 90% of streamflow and measured ecological responses. Benthic cyanobacteria greatly increased with a 60% flow reduction and this tipping point was related to water temperature and nitrate concentration increases, both known to boost algal productivity. We supplemented our experiment with a regional survey collecting > 1450 flow-benthic algal measurements at streams varying in water abstraction levels. We confirmed the tipping point flow value, albeit at a slightly lower threshold (40-50%). A global literature review broadly confirmed our results with a mean tipping point at 58% of flow reduction. Our study provides robust in situ demonstrations of regime shift thresholds in running waters with potentially strong implications for environmental flows management.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo420
PublicaciónCommunications Biology
EstadoPublicada - dic. 2022


Profundice en los temas de investigación de 'A whole-ecosystem experiment reveals flow-induced shifts in a stream community'. En conjunto forman una huella única.

Citar esto