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Benfield, E., K. Fritz, AND S. Tiegs. Leaf-Litter Breakdown. Chapter 27, Methods in Stream Ecology (Third Edition). Academic Press Incorporated, Orlando, FL, 2:71–8, (2017).
This a revision of a chapter on leaf breakdown measurements for the forthcoming third edition of Methods in Stream Ecology. The purpose of the chapter is to introduce methods that can be used to measure the rates of coarse particulate organic matter breakdown in streams. The book in which this chapter belongs is a reference text providing field and laboratory methods for measuring the structure and function in stream ecosystems.
Terrestrial leaves are a major energy source for forested stream ecosystems around the world. Leaves entering streams as litterfall undergo a series of physical and chemical transformations mediated by internal chemistry and the interaction of microbes and invertebrates resulting in the conversion (breakdown) of whole leaves to smaller particles. The particles are then distributed downstream by the current and are available for consumption by a variety of organisms comprising stream food webs. This chapter describes methods for measuring leaf-litter breakdown rates, the respiration of microbial communities that colonize leaf litter, and for assessing how different intrinsic and extrinsic factors control the rate of leaf-litter processing in streams. Leaf-litter breakdown is a fundamental ecosystem level process that integrates physical, chemical, and biological properties and therefore is a useful measure of the functional integrity of streams.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (BOOK CHAPTER)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
SYSTEMS EXPOSURE DIVISION
ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY BRANCH