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Decomposition dynamic of two aquatic macrophytes Trapa bispinosa Roxb. and Nelumbo nucifera detritus

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In freshwater ecosystems, aquatic macrophytes play significant roles in nutrient cycling. One problem in this process is nutrient loss in the tissues of untimely harvested plants. In this study, we used two aquatic species, Nelumbo nucifera and Trapa bispinosa Roxb., to investigate the decomposition dynamics and nutrient release from detritus. Litter bags containing 10 g of stems (plus petioles) and leaves for each species detritus were incubated in the pond from November 2016 to May 2017. Nine times litterbags were retrieved on days 6, 14, 25, 45, 65, 90, 125, 145, and 165 after the decomposition experiment for the monitoring of biomass loss and nutrient release. The results suggested that the dry masses of N. nucifera and T. bispinosa decomposed by 49.35–69.40 and 82.65–91.65%, respectively. The order of decomposition rate constants (k) is as follows: leaves of T. bispinosa (0.0122 day−1) > stems (plus petioles) of T. bispinosa (0.0090 day−1) > leaves of N. nucifera (0.0060 day−1) > stems (plus petioles) of N. nucifera (0.0030 day−1). Additionally, the orders of time for 50% dry mass decay, time for 95% dry mass decay, and turnover rate are as follows: leaves < stems (plus petioles) and T. bispinosa < N. nucifera, respectively. This result indicated that the dry mass loss, k values, and other parameters related to k values are significantly different in species- and tissue-specific. The C, N, and P concentration and the C/N, C/P, and N/P ratios presented the irregular temporal changes trends during the whole decay period. In addition, nutrient accumulation index (AI) was significantly changed depending on the dry mass remaining and C, N, and P concentration in detritus at different decomposition times. The nutrient AIs were 36.72, 8.08, 6.35, and 2.56% for N; 31.25, 9.85, 4.00, and 1.63% for P; 25.15, 16.96, 7.36, and 6.16% for C in the stems (plus petioles) of N. nucifera, leaves of N. nucifera, stems (plus petioles) of T. bispinosa, and leaves of T. bispinosa, respectively, at the day 165. These results indicated that 63.28–97.44% of N, 68.75–98.37% of P, and 74.85–93.84% of C were released from the plant detritus to the water at the day 165 of the decomposition period. The initial detritus chemistry, particularly the P-related parameters (P concentration and C/P and N/P ratios), strongly affected dry mass loss, decomposition rates, and nutrient released from detritus into water. Two-way ANOVA results also confirm that the effects on the species were significant for decomposition dynamics (dry mass loss), nutrient release (nutrient concentration, their ratios, and nutrient AI) (P < 0.01), and expected N concentration (P > 0.05). In addition, the decomposition time had also significant effects on the detritus decomposition dynamic and nutrient release. However, the contributors of species and decomposition time on detritus decomposition were significantly different on the basis of their F values of two-way ANOVA results. This study can provide scientific bases for the aquatic plant scientific management in freshwater ecosystems of the East region of China.

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This study was supported by the Jiangsu province water conservancy science and technology project (grant no. 2016050) and Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Technology and Material of Water Treatment.

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Correspondence to Xiaohong Zhou.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Zhou, X., Feng, D., Wen, C. et al. Decomposition dynamic of two aquatic macrophytes Trapa bispinosa Roxb. and Nelumbo nucifera detritus. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 16177–16191 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1754-3

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  • Aquatic plants
  • Decomposition rates
  • Detritus
  • Nutrient accumulation index
  • Release