Terrestrial invertebrates link terrestrial systems to aquatic ones, making vegetal material produced in the watershed available to aquatic food webs. In this study, using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, we evaluated the importance of introduced C4 grasses as a source of carbon in aquatic food webs of headwater streams of the coastal Atlantic Forest located on the north coast of the State of São Paulo, in the southeastern region of Brazil. Terrestrial invertebrates were collected in two streams: one where the main land cover was pristine montane Atlantic Forest (forest stream) and another where the main land cover was introduced C4 forage grasses for livestock (pasture stream). The average δ13C of terrestrial invertebrates collected in the forest stream (−26.3±2.1‰) was significantly (p<0.01) smaller than the average δ13C of terrestrial invertebrates collected in the pasture stream (−15.7±4.7‰), denoting a larger contribution of C4grasses to terrestrial invertebrates of the pasture stream. The average δ15N of terrestrial invertebrates of the forest stream (4.1±2.4‰) was significantly (p<0.01) lower than the average δ15N of terrestrial invertebrates of the pasture stream (9.5±2.7‰). The relative contribution of C3 and C4 plants to terrestrial invertebrates was estimated using SIAR. In the forest stream, the C3 contribution was on average 0.75 (0.72 minimum to 0.79 maximum), and the C4 contribution was on average 0.25 (0.21 minimum to 0.28 maximum). In the pasture stream, the C3contribution decreased to 0.20 (0.14 minimum to 0.26 maximum), and the C4 contribution increased to 0.80 (0.74 minimum to 0.86 maximum). These results have several implications for the ecosystem functioning as well as for recent changes in environmental policies of Brazil. The lower nutritional value of C4 grasses may not only decrease invertebrate performance, but also alter the stoichiometry of several components of the aquatic food webs with potential consequence for the whole ecosystem functioning. On the public policy side, recent changes in the Brazilian Forest Act, a series of laws that regulate land cover at the property level, reduced the width of the forested riparian area with potentially dangerous consequences for aquatic ecosystems.
SIA‐BRA is a data set that compiles stable carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) isotope ratios of terrestrial and aquatic animals sampled in Brazilian biomes and coastal marine areas. Stable isotope ratios are helpful in animal ecology for several reasons; for instance, they can be used to investigate trophic niches, energy sources (diet tracing) and to track migration patterns. The Neotropics are considered one of the most undersampled regions of the world. Given that Brazil is a continental country where most of the dietary ecology of animal species is under‐assessed, we believe that the SIA‐BRA can provide important complementary information to address this gap in the literature. Additionally, the SIA‐BRA data set allows future investigations to address many questions concerning diet tracing, habitat use, food webs, foraging ecology, physiological aspects and effects of phylogeny on dietary ecology.
Main type of variable investigated
Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios for terrestrial and aquatic animals.
Spatial location and grain
The SIA‐BRA included animal tissues sampled in 964 sites in the main Brazilian biomes and coastal marine areas.
The data represent information published and/or sampled from 1984 to 2021.
Major taxa studied and measurement level
The SIA‐BRA contains isotopic data of c. 21,804 non‐captive wildlife specimens, excluding livestock production or laboratory experiments. They were 13,881 vertebrates and 7,923 invertebrates. They were divided into the following habitats: terrestrial (30% of the total), freshwater (27%), oceanic (40%) and estuarine (4%). There were 11 phyla, with a clear dominance of Chordata (64%) and Arthropoda (29%), 36 classes, 154 orders, 473 families, 894 genera and 1,157 species.
Data are supplied as a comma‐delimited text file (.csv).
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