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  • 1 Faculty of Avaré, FIRA Department of Biology, CP124 18700-902 Avaré SP Brazil
  • 2 State University of São Paulo, UNESP Department of Zoology, CP 510 18618-000 Botucatu SP Brazil
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Two fish species, one top predator (Imparfinis mirini) and one intermediate detritivorous species (Hisonotus depres-sicauda) , were experimentally manipulated to evaluate their relative importance in structuring the periphytic community, as well as their effects on the other trophic levels. An enclosure experiment was conducted in the Potreirinho creek, a second order tributary of Paranapanema River, SE Brazil. Five treatments were used: enclosure of the predator species, enclosure of the detritivorous species, enclosure of both together, exclusion of all fish species (closed control cage), and cage open to all fish community (open control). Through direct and indirect effects, I. mirini , when alone, gave rise to a trophic cascade that resulted in a positive effect on algal resources. Through direct effects, H. depressicauda , when alone, reduced the amount of organic matter, resulting in a positive indirect effect on algae. In addition, when the two species were enclosed together, only the effects determined by the detritivorous species were present. The results indicate the important role of the intermediate detritivorous species in the maintenance of the composition and trophic structure of the analyzed community by reducing the effects caused by the top predator.

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