The determinants of food chain lengths.
Reviews natural variation in the food chains of phytotelmata - water-filled plant-bodies. Here the role of disturbances may be the major factor in determining their food chains. Tadpoles of a small frog actually avoid the most productive systems. Larvae of a chironomid show a slight increase in numbers with level of energy input, but most importantly, it was slow to colonize - waiting for its prey (species of saprophagous chironomids) to attain approximately constant numbers and size. Data indicate that frequent disturbances would remove these predators from the system resulting in the 2 trophic level systems found in tree holes elsewhere.-from Authors
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