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Decomposition of spartina anglica elytrigia pungens and halimione portulacoides in a dutch salt marsh in association with faunal and habitat influences


, : Decomposition of spartina anglica elytrigia pungens and halimione portulacoides in a dutch salt marsh in association with faunal and habitat influences. Vegetatio 62(1-3): 337-356

Decomposition of S. anglica, E. pungens and H. portulacoides was studied for 20.5 mo. in situ in 2 habitats on a salt marsh in the southwest Netherlands. Litter bags of 3 different mesh sizes were used to exclude meio- and/or macrofauna. The middle-marsh habitat was flooded more frequently than the plant-debris habitat in the highest marsh zone. Decomposition of the 3 spp. followed an exponential pattern of decay; instantaneous decay rates were varied from 0.0026-0.0054/day. Decay rates were significantly influenced by habitat factors and fauna, while there was a significant interaction between plant species and habitat. In case of a significant meio- and/or macrofauna effect, this became noticeable 12-16 wk after the start of decomposition, and resulted in a difference of 5-10% ash-free dry weight remaining after 20.5 mo. Nematodes were the dominant microfaunal group in the plant litter. Densities were influenced by habitat conditions but not by resource quality, season and meio- and/or macrofauna. Only initial C/N and C/P ratios were correlated with differences in decomposition rates between the plant species. During the later stages of decomposition N and P concentrations of the plant litter were higher in the plant-debris habitat than in the middle-marsh habitat, probably as a result of fluctuating detritivore densities. The course of the decomposition process differed per plant species and per habitat. The results underline the importance of knowledge of long-term decomposition rates.

US$19.90

DOI: 10.1007/bf00044761


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