Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 471–481 | Cite as

Decomposition and microbial dynamics for standing, naturally positioned leaves of the salt-marsh grass Spartina alterniflora

  • S. Y. Newell
  • R. D. Fallon
  • J. D. Miller
Article

Abstract

Decomposition of leaves of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel.) was monitored for two cohorts of leaves from September 1984 to May 1985 (autumn and winterspring) at Sapelo Island (31°23′ N; 81°17′ W). The leaves were tagged in plance at the ligule, rather than cut and placed in litterbags. Dead leaves were not abscised from shoots. Loss of organic mass from the attached leaves was at least 60 to 68% of the orginal values. Fungal mass, as measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, formed > 98% of the microbial standing crops in two of three autumn samples, and in all samples for the colder, drier, winterspring cohort. Fungal mass was probably mostly in the form of the mycelium and pseudothecia of an ascomycete, Phaeosphaeria typharum (Desm.) Holm. Fungal dominance of microbial standing crops declined when autumn leaves bent downward and acquired a large sediment content (ash=35% of dry matter); the bacterial crop then rose to 7% of the total microbial crop. Microphotoautotrophic mass was always measurable, but was never more than 2% of the microbial crop. Carbon-dioxide fixation was much lower than carbon-dioxide release, and a substantial portion of the fixation may have been anaplerotic fungal fixation. Threeto 8 wk net fungal productivity (average per day) was much greater (16 to 26 times) than measured instantaneous bacterial productivity (extrapolated to per-day values) early in each decay period. Fungal productivity was negative late in the decay period. Fungal productivity was negative late in the decay period for autumn leaves, and was approximately equal to bacterial productivity late for winter-spring leaves. Net nitrogen immobilization was observed only late in the decay period for autumn leaves, implying that nearly all dead-leaf nitrogen was scavenged into fungal mass after the first sampling interval. Flux estimates for dead-leaf carbon indicated a flow of 11–15% of the original to fungal mass, 2% to bacterial mass, 15–21% to carbon dioxide, 10–12% to dissolved leachage, and 34–36% to small particles; 32–39% remained attached as shreds at the end of the study periods. Salt-marsh periwinkles (Littorina irrorata Say) appeared to be the major shredders of dead leaves and conveyors of leaf-particulate material to the marsh sediment, at least in those parts of the marsh where the snails are densely concentrated (usually areas of short- and intermediateheight cordgrass shoots).

Keywords

Bacterial Productivity Dead Leaf Marsh Sediment Sediment Content Spartina Alterniflora 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Alexander, S. K. (1979). Diet of the periwinkle Littorina irrorata in a Louisiana salt marsh. Gulf Res. Rep. 6: 293–295Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, C. E. (1974). A review of structure in several North Carolina salt marsh plants. In: Reimold, R. J., Queen, W. H. (eds.) Ecology of halophytes. Academic Press, New York, p. 307–344Google Scholar
  3. Bååth, E., Söderström, B. (1980). comparisons of the agar-film and membrane-filter methods for the estimation of hyphal lengths in soil, with particular reference to the effect of magnification. Soil Biol. Biochem. 12: 385–387Google Scholar
  4. Benner, R., Newell, S. Y., Maccubbin, A. E., Hodson, R. E. (1984). Relative contributions of bacteria and fungi to rates of degradation of lignocellulosic detritus in salt-marsh sediments. Appl. envirl Microbiol. 48: 36–40Google Scholar
  5. Cammen, L. M., Seneca, E. D., Stroud, L. M. (1980). Energy flow through the fiddler crabs Uca pugnax and Uca minax and the marsh periwinkle Littorina irrorata in a North Carolina salt marsh. Am. Midl. Nat. 103: 238–250Google Scholar
  6. Carpenter, E. J., Van Raalte, C. D., Valiela, I. (1978). Nitrogen fixation by algae in a Massachusetts salt marsh. Limnol. Oceanogr. 23: 318–327Google Scholar
  7. Chalmers, A. G., Wiegert, R. G., Wolf, P. L. (1985). Carbon balance in a salt marsh: interactions of diffusive export, tidal deposition and rainfall-caused erosion. Estuar., cstl Shelf Sci. 21: 757–771Google Scholar
  8. Chang, S.-T., Hon, D. N.-S., Feist, W. C. (1982). Photodegradation and photoprotection of wood surfaces. Wood Fiber 14: 104–117Google Scholar
  9. Christian, R. R. (1984). A life-table approach to decomposition studies. Ecology 65: 1693–1697Google Scholar
  10. Dame, R. F. (1982). The flux of floating macrodetritus in the North Inlet estuarine ecosystem. Estuar., cstl Shelf Sci. 15: 337–344Google Scholar
  11. Darley, W. M., Dunn, E. L., Holmes, K. S., Larew, H. G. (1976). A 14C method for measuring epibenthic microalgal productivity in air. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 25: 207–217Google Scholar
  12. Dowding, P. (1986). Water availability, the distribution of fungi and their adaptation to the environment. In: Ayres, P. G., Boddy, L. (eds.) Water, fungi and plants. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 305–320Google Scholar
  13. Elmholt, S., Kjøller, A. (1987). Measurement of the length of fungal hyphae by the membrane filter technique as a method for comparing fungal occurrence in cultivated field soids. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19: 679–682Google Scholar
  14. Fallon, R. D., Newell, S. Y. (1986). Thymidine incorporation by the microbial community of standing-dead Spartina alterniflora. Appl. envirl Microbiol. 52: 1206–1208Google Scholar
  15. Fallon, R. D., Newell, S. Y. (1989). Use of ELISA for fungal biomass measurement in standing-dead Spartina alterniflora. J. microbiol. Meth. (in press)Google Scholar
  16. Fallon, R. D., Newell, S. Y., Groene, L. C. (1985). Phylloplane algae of standing dead Spartina alterniflora. Mar. Biol 90: 121–127Google Scholar
  17. Gallagher, J. L., Pfeiffer, W. J. (1977). Aquatic metabolism of the communities associated with attached dead shoots of salt marsh plants. Limnol. Oceanogr. 22: 562–564Google Scholar
  18. Goldman, J. C., Dennett, M. R. (1986). Dark CO2 uptake by the diatom Chaetoceros simplex in response to nitrogen pulsing. Mar. Biol. 90:493–500Google Scholar
  19. Griffin, D. M. (1985). A comparison of the roles of bacteria and fungi. In: Leadbetter, E. R., Poindexter, J. S. (eds.) Bacteria in nature, Volume I. Bacterial activities in perspective. Plenum Press, New York, p. 221–255Google Scholar
  20. Hardisky, M. A. (1980). A comparison of Spartina alterniflora primary production estimated by destructive and nondestructive techniques. In: Kennedy, V. S. (ed.) Estuarine perspectives. Academic Press, New York, p. 223–234Google Scholar
  21. Hicks, R. E. (1983). Microbial growth during the initial decomposition of Spartina alterniflora leaves. PhD Dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USAGoogle Scholar
  22. Hopkinson, C. S., Schubauer, J. P. (1984). Static and dynamic aspects of nitrogen cycling in the salt marsh graminoid Spartina alterniflora. Ecology 65:961–969Google Scholar
  23. Johnson, M. C., Pirone, T. P., Siegel, M. R., Varney, D. R. (1982). Detection of Epichloë typhina in tall fescue by means of enzymelinked immunosorbent assay. Phytopathology 72: 647–650Google Scholar
  24. Jones, R. C. (1980). Productivity of algal epiphytes in a Georgia salt marsh: effect of inundation frequency and implications for total marsh productivity. Estuaries 3: 315–317Google Scholar
  25. Kirchman, D., Ducklow, H. W., Mitchell, R. (1982). Estimates of microbial growth from changes in uptake rates and biomass. Appl. envirl Microbiol. 44: 1296–1307Google Scholar
  26. Kohlmeyer, J., Kohlmeyer, E. (1979). Marine mycology. The higher fungi. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Kozlowski, T. T. (1973). Extent and significance of shedding of plant parts. In: Kozlowski, T. T. (ed.) Shedding of plant parts. Academic Press, New York, p. 1–44Google Scholar
  28. Lee, C., Howarth, R. W., Howes, B. L. (1980). Sterols in decomposing Spartina alterniflora and the use of ergosterol in estimating the contribution of fungi to detrital nitrogen. Limnol. Oceanogr. 25:290–303Google Scholar
  29. Legendre, L., Demers, S., Yentsch, C. M., Yentsch, C. S. (1983). The 14C method: patterns of dark CO2 fixation and DCMU correction to replace the dark bottle. Limnol. Oceanogr. 28: 996–1003Google Scholar
  30. Margalith, P. Z. (1986). Steroid microbiology. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, USAGoogle Scholar
  31. Martin, F., Canet, D. (1986). Biosynthesis of amino acids during [13 C] glucose utilization by the ectomycorrhizal ascomycete Cenococcum geophilum monitored by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance. Physiologie vég. 24: 209–218Google Scholar
  32. Miller, J. D., Young, J. C., Trenholm, J. L. (1983). Fusarium toxins in field corn. I. Time course of fungal growth and production of deoxynivalenol and other mycotoxins. Can. J. Bot. 61: 3080–3087Google Scholar
  33. Newell, S. Y. (1984). Bacterial and fungal productivity in the marine environment: a contrastive overview. Colloques int. Cent. natn. Rech. scient. 331: 133–139Google Scholar
  34. Newell, S. Y., Arsuffi, T. L., Fallon, R. D. (1988a). Fundamental procedures for determining ergosterol content of decaying plant material by liquid chromatography. App. envirl Microbiol. 54: 1876–1879Google Scholar
  35. Newell, S. Y., Fallon, R. D. (1983). Study of fungal biomass dynamics within dead leaves of cordgrass: progress and potential. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Aquatic Macrophytes. Catholic University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, p. 150–160Google Scholar
  36. Newell, S. Y., Fallon, R. D. (1989). Litterbags, leaf tags, and decay of non-abscised intertidal leaves. Can. J. Bot. (in press)Google Scholar
  37. Newell, S. Y., Fallon, R. D., Arsuffi, T. L. (1988b). A technique for determining fungal instantaneous growth rates in field samples. Newsl. mycol. Soc. Am. 39: p. 42Google Scholar
  38. Newell, S. Y., Fallon, R. D., Cal Rodriguez, R. M., Groene, L. C. (1985). Influence of rain, tidal wetting and relative humidity on release of carbon dioxide by standing-dead salt-marsh plants. Oecologia (Berl.) 68: 73–79Google Scholar
  39. Newell, S. Y., Fallon, R. D., Miller, J. D. (1986). Measuring fungalbiomass dynamics in standing-dead leaves of a salt-marsh vascular plant. In: Moss, S. T. (ed.) The biology of marine fungi. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 19–25Google Scholar
  40. Newell, S. Y., Fell, J. W., Statzell-Tallman, A., Miller, C., Cefalu, R. (1984). Carbon and nitrogen dynamics in decomposing leaves of three coastal marine vascular plants of the subtropics. Aquat. Bot. 19: 183–192Google Scholar
  41. Newell, S. Y., Hicks, R. E. (1982). Direct-count estimates of fungal and bacterial biovolume in dead leaves of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel.). Estuaries 5: 246–260Google Scholar
  42. Newell, S. Y., Miller, J. D., Fallon, R. D. (1987). Ergosterol content of salt-marsh fungi: effect of growth conditions and mycelial age. Mycologia 79: 688–695Google Scholar
  43. Newell, S. Y., Statzell-Tallman, A. (1982). Factors for conversion of fungal biovolume values to biomass, carbon, and nitrogen: variation with mycelial ages, growth conditions, and strains of fungi from a salt marsh. Oikos 39: 261–268Google Scholar
  44. Odum, E. P., Smalley, A. E. (1959). Comparison of population energy flow of a herbivorous and a deposit-feeding invertebrate in a salt marsh ecosystem. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 45: 617–622Google Scholar
  45. Padgett, D. E., Hackney, C. T., Sizemore, R. K. (1985). A technique for distinguishing between bacterial and non-bacterial respiration in decomposing Spartina alterniflora. Hydrobiologia 122: 113–119Google Scholar
  46. Paustian, K., Schnürer, J. (1987a). Fungal growth response to carbon and nitrogen limitation: a theoretical model. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19: 613–620Google Scholar
  47. Paustian, K., Schnürer, J. (1987b). Fungal growth response to carbon and nitrogen limitation: application of a model to laboratory and field data. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19: 621–629Google Scholar
  48. Pomeroy, L. R., Wiegert, R. G. (eds.) (1981). The ecology of a salt marsh. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. Rayner, A. D. M., boddy, L., Dowson, C. G. (1987). Genetic interactions and developmental versatility during establishment of decomposer basidiomycetes in wood and tree litter. In: Fletcher, M., Gray, T. R. G., Jones, J. G. (eds.) Ecology of microbial communities. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 83–123Google Scholar
  50. Rublee, P., Cammen, L., Hobbie, J. (1978). Bacteria in a North Carolina salt marsh: standing crop and importance in the decomposition of Spartina alterniflora. Publs Univ. N. Carolina Sea Grant UNC-SG-78-11Google Scholar
  51. Stiven, A. E., Kuenzler, E. J. (1979). The response of two salt marsh molluscs, Littorina irrorata and Geukensia demissa, to field manipulations of density and Spartina litter. Ecol. Monogr. 49: 151–171Google Scholar
  52. Sutherland, G. K., Eastwood, A. (1916). The physiological anatomy of Spartina townsendii. Ann. Bot. 30: 333–351Google Scholar
  53. Swift, M. J., Heal, O. W., Anderson, J. M. (1979): Decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems. University of California Press, Berkley, California, USAGoogle Scholar
  54. Twilley, R. R., Ejdung, G., Romare, P., Kemp, W. M. (1986). A comparative study of decomposition, oxygen consumption and nutrient release for selected aquatic plants occurring in an estuarine environment. Oikos 47: 190–198Google Scholar
  55. Valiela, I., Teal J. M., Allen, S. D., Van Etten, R., Goehringer, D., Volkmann, S. (1985). Decomposition in salt marsh ecosystems: the phases and major factors affecting disappearance of aboveground organic matter. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 89: 29–54Google Scholar
  56. Warren, J. H. (1985). Climbing as an avoidance behavior in the salt marsh periwinkle, Littorina irrorata (Say). J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 89: 11–28Google Scholar
  57. Wessén, B., Berg, B. (1986). Long-term decomposition of barley straw: chemical changes and ingrowth of fungal mycelium. Soil Biol. Biochem. 18: 53–59Google Scholar
  58. West, A. W., Grant, W. D. (1987). use of ergosterol, diaminopimelic acid and glucosamine contents of soils to monitor changes in microbial populations. Soil Biol. Biochem. 19: 607–612Google Scholar
  59. Whiting, G. J., Morris, J. T. (1986). Nitrogen fixation (C2H2 reduction) in a salt marsh: its relationship to temperature and an evaluation of an in situ chamber technique. Soil Biol. Biochem. 18: 515–521Google Scholar
  60. Wilson, J. O., Valiela, I., Swain, T. (1986). Carbohydrate dynamics during decay of litter of Spartina alterniflora. Mar. Biol. 92: 277–284Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Y. Newell
    • 1
  • R. D. Fallon
    • 2
  • J. D. Miller
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Georgia Marine InstituteSapelo IslandUSA
  2. 2.Haskell LaboratoryDuPont CompanyNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Plant Research Centre, Research BranchAgiculture CanadaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations