The interaction between wetland nutrient content and plant quality controls aquatic plant decomposition
- 579 Downloads
We conducted an in situ decomposition experiment to better understand how habitat nutrient content controls aquatic plant decomposition and, more precisely, to determine the relative importance of the wetland conditions in decomposition, and the intrinsic degradability of plant tissues. We collected the green leaves of three aquatic plant species with contrasting plant strategies from three wetlands of differing nutrient contents, and allowed them to decompose in seven wetlands along a nutrient gradient. The plant mass loss was higher for competitive and ruderal species collected in nutrient richer wetlands as well as when they were led to decompose in nutrient richer wetlands. Plant water content correlated with mass loss for the competitive and ruderal species, which may explain the increase in mass loss with increasing nutrient content in the collection wetlands. Litter decomposition rate may be enhanced by wetland eutrophication, because of both the modification of wetland decomposition conditions and by changes in plant tissue quality.
KeywordsAdaptive strategies Decomposition Eutrophication Lignins Macrophytes
This study was funded by the French Ministry of Research and the French Water Agency (Agence de l’Eau Rhône Mediterranée Corse), and was performed under the aegis of the French LTER “Zone Atelier Bassin du Rhône”.
- EPA (1983) Phosphorus, all forms. Method 365.1 (colorimetric, automated, ascorbic acid). In: Methods for chemical analysis of water and wastes EPA-600/4-79-020. US Environmental Protection Agency, pp 365-1.1–365-1.7Google Scholar
- Grime JP (2001) Plant strategies, vegetation processes, and ecosystem properties. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- R Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Xie YH, Yu D, Ren B (2004) Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus availability on the decomposition of aquatic plants. Hydrobiologia 80(1):29–37Google Scholar