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Decomposition processes of eelgrass,Zostera marina L.

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In Lake Grevelingen decomposition of eelgrass was studied in the field with the litter bag method from July 1977 till February 1978. After 6 months only 6% refractory matter remained in the bags. Under aerobic conditions the decomposition of eelgrass is completed within one year. The organic fraction decreased from 80 to 55%. Chlorophyll a was always present in the detritus, but with this parameter no decomposition stages could be distinguished. Fragmentation was mainly physical, and a particle size spectrum showed a maximum towards the small pieces.

The POC content was fairly constant, and the N and P content changed during the decomposition. The C/N and C/P ratios increased the first 10 weeks (leaching) and decreased after 10 weeks (microbial colonization). This did not correspond with the three decomposition stages, based on the dry weight loss per day. The C/N ratio does not seem to be a simple index for the decomposition stage in eelgrass.

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Communication no. 235 of the Delta Institute for Hydrobiological Research, Yerseke, The Netherlands.

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Pellikaan, G.C. Decomposition processes of eelgrass,Zostera marina L.. Hydrobiological Bulletin 16, 83–92 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02255416

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  • Chlorophyll
  • Particle Size
  • Aerobic Condition
  • Decomposition Process
  • Organic Fraction