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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Effect of Moss Cover on Leaf Decomposition in Low-Order Woodland Streams

EPA Grant Number: U915444
Title: Effect of Moss Cover on Leaf Decomposition in Low-Order Woodland Streams
Investigators: Bland, Stephen N.
Institution: SUNY College at Brockport
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: June 1, 1998 through June 1, 2001
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998)
Research Category: Fellowship - Microbiology , Biology/Life Sciences , Academic Fellowships



The objective of this research project is to determine the effect of moss abundance on microbial pectolytic enzyme activity in low-order woodland streams.


My hypothesis will be addressed with a combination of laboratory and field experiments. Diel fluctuations of pH and calcium concentrations are monitored in laboratory mesocosms holding 200 mL filtered stream water (5.0 mg Ca/L) and one of four factors: (1) Brachythecium spp moss on wood or free floating; (2) Brachythecium colonized cobbles; (3) cobbles colonized by biofilm only; and (4) stream water only. Calcium concentrations are expected to be higher in mesocosms containing moss, and will be measured by flame-ionizing atomic absorption spectrophotometry following standard methods. Field experiments will be conducted on 12 first-order streams at 2,000-ft elevation in Cattaraugus County, NY. Bryophyte abundance is measured as percent cover from the spring source to 200 m downstream. Litter bag experiments will compare mass loss and pectin lyaze activity in two reaches from each stream: one > 50 percent moss cover, the other < 10 percent moss cover. Gradient, diel temperature, depth, and stream power is roughly equal among the study sites within each stream.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, microbial pectolytic enzyme, activity, low-order woodland streams, moss cover, leaf decomposition, diel fluctuations, bryophyte, Brachythecium spp, mesocosms, atomic absorption spectrophotometry, pectin lyaze activity, biofilm.

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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