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Title: Biotic and abiotic variables influencing plant litter breakdown in streams: a global study
Contributor(s): Boyero, Luz (author); Pearson, Richard G (author); Barmuta, Leon A (author); Boulton, Andrew  (author); Bruder, Andreas (author); Callisto, Marcos (author); Chauvet, Eric (author); Death, Russell G (author); Dudgeon, David (author); Encalada, Andrea C (author); Ferreira, Veronica (author); Figueroa, Ricardo (author); Hui, Cang (author); Flecker, Alexander S (author); Goncalves Jr, Jose F (author); Helson, Julie (author); Iwata, Tomoya (author); Jinggut, Tajang (author); Mathooko, Jude (author); Mathuriau, Catherine (author); M'Erimba, Charles (author); Moretti, Marcelo S (author); Pringle, Catherine M (author); Gessner, Mark O (author); Ramirez, Alonso (author); Ratnarajah, Lavenia (author); Rincon, Jose (author); Yule, Catherine M (author); Perez, Javier (author); Alexandrou, Markos A (author); Graca, Manuel A S (author); Cardinale, Bradley J (author); Albarino, Ricardo J (author); Arunachalam, Muthukumarasamy (author)
Publication Date: 2016
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2664Open Access Link
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Abstract: Plant litter breakdown is a key ecological process in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. Streams and rivers, in particular, contribute substantially to global carbon fluxes. However, there is little information available on the relative roles of different drivers of plant litter breakdown in fresh waters, particularly at large scales. We present a global-scale study of litter breakdown in streams to compare the roles of biotic, climatic and other environmental factors on breakdown rates. We conducted an experiment in 24 streams encompassing latitudes from 47.8° N to 42.8° S, using litter mixtures of local species differing in quality and phylogenetic diversity (PD), and alder (Alnus glutinosa) to control for variation in litter traits. Our models revealed that breakdown of alder was driven by climate, with some influence of pH, whereas variation in breakdown of litter mixtures was explained mainly by litter quality and PD. Effects of litter quality and PD and stream pH were more positive at higher temperatures, indicating that different mechanisms may operate at different latitudes. These results reflect global variability caused by multiple factors, but unexplained variance points to the need for expanded global-scale comparisons.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1829), p. 1-10
Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0962-8452
Field of Research (FOR): 050102 Ecosystem Function
060204 Freshwater Ecology
050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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