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Regulation of Leaf Breakdown by Fungi in Streams: Influences of Water Chemistry

Suberkropp, Keller and Chauvet, Eric Regulation of Leaf Breakdown by Fungi in Streams: Influences of Water Chemistry. (1995) Ecology, 76 (5). 1433-1445. ISSN 0012-9658

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1938146


We examined the influence of stream water chemistry on relationships between fungal activity and breakdown rates of yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) leaves in eight streams that varied with respect to pH and nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) con- centrations. We also performed a reciprocal exchange experiment of leaves that had been colonized by microorganisms in two streams with contrasting water chemistries. Decom- poser activity varied greatly depending on the stream in which the leaves were placed. Variation in breakdown rates of yellow poplar leaves was over 9-fold maximum ATP concentrations associated with leaves varied as much as 8-fold, and maximum sporulation rates of fungi associated with leaves varied over 80-fold among streams. Among all streams, nitrate, phosphate, and temperature were positively correlated with one another and with decomposer biomass and activity. When hardwater streams were analyzed separately, nitrate concentration was the only variable that was significantly correlated with all measures of microbial activity and leaf breakdown. Consequently, nitrate concentration appeared to explain much of the variation we detected among streams. Responses to the reciprocal exchange experiment were rapid, with significant changes occurring within the first 5 d after the transfer. Leaves transferred from the hardwater stream containing relatively high concentrations of nitrate and phosphate to the softwater stream containing low concentra- tions of nutrients exhibited by large decreases in both ATP concentrations and sporulation rates, whereas ATP concentrations and sporulation rates increased when leaves received the reciprocal transfer. The fungi associated with decomposing leaves in streams appear to obtain a significant portion of their nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus) from the water passing over the leaf surface. These results indicate that the chemistry of the water can be an important regulator of leaf breakdown in streams by affecting the activity of decomposer fungi.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Ecological Society of America editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.jstor.org/stable/1938146?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
HAL Id:hal-01308033
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > University of Alabama (USA)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:27 Apr 2016 08:41

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