Fogel, R. and K. Cromack. 1977. Effect of habitat and substrate quality on Douglas fir litter decomposition in western Oregon. Canadian Journal of Botany 55:632-1640.
Effect of habitat and substrate quality on Douglas fir
Authors:T. Kucserka, Kata Karádi-Kovács, M. Vass, G. Selmeczy, Katalin Hubai, Viktória Üveges, I. Kacsala, N. Törő, and Judit Padisák
Bärlocher, F. (2005) Leaf mass loss estimated by litter bag technique In: Graça, M. A. S., Bärlocher, F., Gessner, M. O. (eds) Methods to Study Litter Decomposition: A Practical Guide . Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 37
Authors:G. Bonanomi, M. Capodilupo, G. Incerti, S. Mazzoleni, and F. Scala
The consequences of decline in biodiversity for ecosystem functioning is a major concern in soil ecology. Recent research efforts have been mostly focused on terrestrial plants, while, despite their importance in ecosystems, little is known about soil microbial communities. This work aims at investigating the effects of fungal and bacterial species richness on the dynamics of leaf litter decomposition. Synthetic microbial communities with species richness ranging from 1 to 64 were assembled in laboratory microcosms and used in three factorial experiments of decomposition. Thereafter, the functionality of the different microcosms was determined by measuring their capability to decompose materials with different chemical properties, including two species of litter (Quercus ilex L. and Hedera helix L.), cellulose strips and woody sticks. Incubation was done in microcosms at two temperatures (12°C and 24°C) for 120 days. The number of microbial species inoculated in the microcosms positively affected decomposition rates of Q. ilex and H. helix litters, while relationships found for cellulose and wood were not statistically significant. Diversity effect was greater at higher incubation temperature. We found lower variability of decay rates in microcosms with higher inoculated species richness of microbial communities. Our study pointed out that the relationships between inoculum microbial diversity and litter decomposition is dependent on temperature and litter quality. Therefore, the loss of microbial species may adversely affects ecosystem functionality under specific environmental conditions.
Past inability to come to a consensus about the degree of functional redundancy in ecosystems may be due, in part, to different definitions of ecosystem function and different investigative methodologies. Here I define ecosystem function, using the largely plant-based functions of aboveground productivity and decomposition of 10 common early successional trees found in Puerto Rico, and then use two different multivariate techniques to define functional groups. I found that: (1) multivariate statistical methods worked well to sort out the test species on axes defined primarily by productivity, which may have more redundancy than decomposition, and initial leaf nutrient content, (2) there were three plant functional groups defined by species (i) Psychotria berteriana, (ii) Cecropia schreberiana and Inga vera, and (iii) a group containing the other seven species, and (3) the plant traits of nitrogen-fixing capacity and mycorrhizal strategy mapped better onto these groups then those of seed size, wood density, shade tolerance or successional status. Finally, implications for key plant structures and for conservation of Neotropical areas are discussed.