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Decomposition of standing and fallen litter of halophytes in a Dutch salt marsh
Buth, G.J.C.; Voesenek, L.A.C.J. (1987). Decomposition of standing and fallen litter of halophytes in a Dutch salt marsh, in: Huiskes, A.H.L. et al. (Ed.) Vegetation between land and sea. Geobotany, 11: pp. 146-161
In: Huiskes, A.H.L. et al. (Ed.) (1987). Vegetation between land and sea. Geobotany, 11. Dr. W. Junk Publ./Junk: Dordrecht. ISBN 90-6193-649-7. 340 pp., more
In: Geobotany. ISSN 0169-3174, more

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Keywords
    Decay; Degradation; Halophytes; Leaf litter; Organism morphology; Salt marshes; Sediments; Halimione portulacoides (L.) Aell. [WoRMS]; Limonium vulgare Mill. [WoRMS]; Triglochin maritimum Linnaeus [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Buth, G.J.C., more
  • Voesenek, L.A.C.J.

Abstract
    Decomposition of morphological parts of Triglochin maritima, Limonium vulgare, Halimione portulacoides and Spartina anglica was studied in an estuarine salt marsh in the SW Netherlands for 6-8 months form September onwards. In stands of each species decomposition was studied both of litter in mesh bags located on the marsh surface and of litter in bags hanging in the (dead) canopy. Decomposition of litter types followed an exponential pattern of decay: instantaneous decay rates varied form 0.0016 per day for Limonium flowering-spike litter in the canopy habitat to 0.0103 per day for Triglochin leaf-litter on the sediment surface. Leaf litter decomposed significantly faster than stem or flowering spike litter. Decay rates of corresponding plant parts differed significantly between some but not all species. Four of the eight litter types showed a significant habitat effect: a lower decay rate in the canopy habitat. However, this effect was relatively small: maximal 20% ash-free dry weight remaining at the end of the study period for Limonium leaf litter. The chemistry of the litter substrate seemed to be the main factor affecting decomposition rate. In all litter types lignin and nitrogen concentration increased with time. The instanteous decay rate was for both habitats inversely correlated with initial lignin content and for the surface habitat also with the initial lignin-to-nitrogen ratio. It seems that differences in decay rates between the two habitats depend on lignin content of the litter: the higher the initial lignin concentration, the greater the difference in decay rate.

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