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Article: Effects of leaf toughness and nitrogen content on litter breakdown and macroinvertebrates in a tropical stream

TitleEffects of leaf toughness and nitrogen content on litter breakdown and macroinvertebrates in a tropical stream
Authors
KeywordsDecomposition
Leaf quality
Microbes
Shredders
Substrate
Issue Date2009
PublisherBirkhaeuser Verlag AG. The Journal's web site is located at http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00027/index.htm
Citation
Aquatic Sciences, 2009, v. 71 n. 1, p. 80-93 How to Cite?
AbstractHigh plant diversity in the tropics results in leaf litter of widely differing quality that may affect litter breakdown rates in streams. The effects of leaf toughness and nitrogen content on litter breakdown rates and macroinvertebrate colonization were investigated in Tai Po Kau Forest Stream, Hong Kong during dry seasons in 3 different years, using 7 species of leaves (Arundinaria shiuyingiana, Ficus fistulosa, Indocalamus sinicus, Liquidambar formosana, Livistona chinensis, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Pandanus furcatus) with contrasting characteristics. Liquidambar formosana (Hamamelidaceae) was included as a benchmark species (for comparison) in all 3 dry seasons, but the identity of the other leaf species varied among years. There was no significant inter-year difference in breakdown rates of L. formosana. Leaf toughness was the primary determinant of breakdown rates, which were negatively correlated with leaf strength. Soft leaves had faster breakdown rates than tough leaves, irrespective of their nitrogen content. Collector-gatherers dominated (>60% of individuals) macroinvertebrate assemblages on litter, and obligate shredders were scarce (1-6%). Toughness and nitrogen content of leaves were not good predictors of the composition of litter-associated macroinvertebrate assemblages, which were similar among leaf species studied within the same season. There were, however, small but significant inter-year variations in macroinvertebrate assemblages on L. formosana litter, mainly due to changes in predator abundance. The absence of a deterministic link between leaf quality and macroinvertebrate assemblage composition suggests that litter served as a substrate rather than a food source for macroinvertebrates, and may account for the scarcity of shredders in tropical streams. © 2008 Birkhäuser Verlag.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/60676
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 2.398
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.172
ISI Accession Number ID
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China[HKU] 7509/06M
University of Hong Kong
Funding Information:

We are grateful to Dr Niall Connolly and Dr Luz Boyero (James Cook University) for providing the penetrometer used in this study, as well as the constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers. The work was partially supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. [HKU] 7509/06M), and by a postgraduate studentship awarded to A. O. Y. Li during her M. Phil. studies at the University of Hong Kong.

References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLi, AOYen_HK
dc.contributor.authorNg, LCYen_HK
dc.contributor.authorDudgeon, Den_HK
dc.date.accessioned2010-05-31T04:16:19Z-
dc.date.available2010-05-31T04:16:19Z-
dc.date.issued2009en_HK
dc.identifier.citationAquatic Sciences, 2009, v. 71 n. 1, p. 80-93en_HK
dc.identifier.issn1015-1621en_HK
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/60676-
dc.description.abstractHigh plant diversity in the tropics results in leaf litter of widely differing quality that may affect litter breakdown rates in streams. The effects of leaf toughness and nitrogen content on litter breakdown rates and macroinvertebrate colonization were investigated in Tai Po Kau Forest Stream, Hong Kong during dry seasons in 3 different years, using 7 species of leaves (Arundinaria shiuyingiana, Ficus fistulosa, Indocalamus sinicus, Liquidambar formosana, Livistona chinensis, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Pandanus furcatus) with contrasting characteristics. Liquidambar formosana (Hamamelidaceae) was included as a benchmark species (for comparison) in all 3 dry seasons, but the identity of the other leaf species varied among years. There was no significant inter-year difference in breakdown rates of L. formosana. Leaf toughness was the primary determinant of breakdown rates, which were negatively correlated with leaf strength. Soft leaves had faster breakdown rates than tough leaves, irrespective of their nitrogen content. Collector-gatherers dominated (>60% of individuals) macroinvertebrate assemblages on litter, and obligate shredders were scarce (1-6%). Toughness and nitrogen content of leaves were not good predictors of the composition of litter-associated macroinvertebrate assemblages, which were similar among leaf species studied within the same season. There were, however, small but significant inter-year variations in macroinvertebrate assemblages on L. formosana litter, mainly due to changes in predator abundance. The absence of a deterministic link between leaf quality and macroinvertebrate assemblage composition suggests that litter served as a substrate rather than a food source for macroinvertebrates, and may account for the scarcity of shredders in tropical streams. © 2008 Birkhäuser Verlag.en_HK
dc.languageengen_HK
dc.publisherBirkhaeuser Verlag AG. The Journal's web site is located at http://link.springer.de/link/service/journals/00027/index.htmen_HK
dc.relation.ispartofAquatic Sciencesen_HK
dc.subjectDecompositionen_HK
dc.subjectLeaf qualityen_HK
dc.subjectMicrobesen_HK
dc.subjectShreddersen_HK
dc.subjectSubstrateen_HK
dc.titleEffects of leaf toughness and nitrogen content on litter breakdown and macroinvertebrates in a tropical streamen_HK
dc.typeArticleen_HK
dc.identifier.openurlhttp://library.hku.hk:4550/resserv?sid=HKU:IR&issn=1015-1621&volume=71&issue=1&spage=80&epage=93&date=2009&atitle=Effects+of+leaf+toughness+and+nitrogen+content+on+litter+breakdown+and+macroinvertebrates+in+a+tropical+stream-
dc.identifier.emailDudgeon, D: ddudgeon@hku.hken_HK
dc.identifier.authorityDudgeon, D=rp00691en_HK
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.1007/s00027-008-8117-yen_HK
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-65049089679en_HK
dc.identifier.hkuros163369en_HK
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-65049089679&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_HK
dc.identifier.volume71en_HK
dc.identifier.issue1en_HK
dc.identifier.spage80en_HK
dc.identifier.epage93en_HK
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000265087700009-
dc.publisher.placeSwitzerlanden_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridLi, AOY=24773824300en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridNg, LCY=24832126500en_HK
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridDudgeon, D=7006559840en_HK
dc.identifier.citeulike3654865-

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