Effects of gamma irradiation on instream leaf litter decomposition

Boyero, Luz, López-Rojo, Naiara, Pérez, Javier, Tonin, Alan M., Correa-Araneda, Francisco, Davis, Aaron, and Pearson, Richard G. (2021) Effects of gamma irradiation on instream leaf litter decomposition. Hydrobiologia, 848 (21). pp. 5223-5232.

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Leaf litter decomposition is a key process in stream ecosystems, the rates of which can vary with changes in litter quality or its colonization by microorganisms. Decomposition in streams is increasingly used to compare ecosystem functioning globally, often requiring the distribution of litter across countries. It is important to understand whether litter sterilization, which is required by some countries, can alter the rates of decomposition and associated processes. We examined whether litter sterilization with gamma irradiation (25 kGy) influenced decomposition rates, litter stoichiometry, and colonization by invertebrates after weeks of instream incubation within coarse-mesh and fine-mesh litterbags. We used nine plant species from three families that varied widely in litter chemistry but found mostly consistent responses, with no differences in decomposition rates or numbers of invertebrates found at the end of the incubation period. However, litter stoichiometry differed between irradiated and control litter, with greater nutrient losses (mostly phosphorus) in the former. Therefore, the effects of irradiation on litter chemistry should be taken into account in studies focused on stoichiometry but not necessarily in those focused on decomposition rates, at least within the experimental timescale considered here.

Item ID: 69926
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5117
Keywords: Betulaceae, Breakdown, Coordinated networks, Fagaceae, Litterbags, Moraceae, Sterilization, Stream ecosystems
Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2022 22:12
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