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In-Stream Variability of Litter Breakdown and Consequences on Environmental Monitoring

Abstract : Energy derived from leaf litter decomposition fuels food webs in forested streams. However, the natural spatial variability of the decomposition rate of leaf litter and the relative contributions of its drivers are poorly known at the local scale. This study aims to determine the natural in-stream variability of leaf litter decomposition rates in successive riffles and to quantify the factors involved in this key ecosystem process at the local scale. Experiments were conducted on six successive riffles in nine streams in north-western France to monitor the decomposition rate in fine (microbial decomposition, kf) and coarse (total decomposition, kc) mesh bags. We recorded 30 ± 2% (mean ± S.E.) variation in kc among riffles and 43 ± 4% among streams. kf variability was 15 ± 1% among riffles and 20 ± 3% among streams. However, in-stream variability was higher than between-stream variability in four of the nine streams. Streambed roughness was negatively related to decomposition and was the most important factor for both total and microbial decomposition. Our study shows that the natural variability of the decomposition rate resulting from the local morphological conditions of habitats could be very important and should be taken into consideration in studies using leaf litter assays as a bio-indicator of anthropogenic impacts in streams.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 9, 2021 - 8:55:28 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 2:48:17 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 10, 2021 - 6:17:07 PM


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Gbenga Emmanuel Omoniyi, B. Bergerot, Laura Pellan, Maëva Delmotte, Alain Crave, et al.. In-Stream Variability of Litter Breakdown and Consequences on Environmental Monitoring. Water, MDPI, 2021, 13 (16), pp.2246. ⟨10.3390/w13162246⟩. ⟨insu-03338747⟩



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