Biotic and abiotic variables influencing plant litter breakdown in streams : a global study Article - Avril 2016

Luz Boyero, Richard G. Pearson, Cang Hui, Mark O. Gessner, Javier Pérez, Markos A. Alexandrou, Manuel A. S. Graça, Bradley J. Cardinale, Ricardo J. Albariño, Muthukumarasamy Arunachalam, Leon A. Barmuta, Andrew J. Boulton, Andreas Bruder, Marcos Callisto, Eric Chauvet, Russell G. Death, David Dudgeon, Andrea C. Encalada, Verónica Ferreira, Ricardo Figueroa, Alexander S. Flecker, José F. Jr Gonçalves, Julie E. Helson, Tomoya Iwata, Tajang Jinggut, Jude M. Mathooko, Catherine Mathuriau, Charles M'Erimba, Marcelo S. Moretti, Catherine M. Pringle, Alonso Ramírez, Lavenia Ratnarajah, José Rincon, Catherine M. Yule

Luz Boyero, Richard G. Pearson, Cang Hui, Mark O. Gessner, Javier Pérez, Markos A. Alexandrou, Manuel A. S. Graça, Bradley J. Cardinale, Ricardo J. Albariño, Muthukumarasamy Arunachalam, Leon A. Barmuta, Andrew J. Boulton, Andreas Bruder, Marcos Callisto, Eric Chauvet, Russell G. Death, David Dudgeon, Andrea C. Encalada, Verónica Ferreira, Ricardo Figueroa, Alexander S. Flecker, José F. Jr Gonçalves, Julie E. Helson, Tomoya Iwata, Tajang Jinggut, Jude M. Mathooko, Catherine Mathuriau, Charles M'Erimba, Marcelo S. Moretti, Catherine M. Pringle, Alonso Ramírez, Lavenia Ratnarajah, José Rincon, Catherine M. Yule, « Biotic and abiotic variables influencing plant litter breakdown in streams : a global study  », Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences, avril 2016, pp. 1-10. ISSN 0962-8452

Abstract

Plant litter breakdown is a key ecological process in terres- trial and freshwater ecosystems. Streams and rivers, in particular, contribute substantially to global carbon fluxes. However, there is little information available on the relative roles of different drivers of plant litter break- down in fresh waters, particularly at large scales. We present a global-scale study of litter breakdown in streams to compare the roles of biotic, climatic and other environ- mental factors on breakdown rates. We conducted an experiment in 24 streams encompassing latitudes from 47.88 N to 42.88 S, using litter mixtures of local species dif- fering in quality and phylogenetic diversity (PD), and alder (Alnus glutinosa) to control for variation in litter traits. Our models revealed that breakdown of alder was driven by climate, with some influence of pH, whereas variation in breakdown of litter mixtures was explained mainly by litter quality and PD. Effects of litter quality and PD and stream pH were more positive at higher temp- eratures, indicating that different mechanisms may operate at different latitudes. These results reflect global variability caused by multiple factors, but unexplained variance points to the need for expanded global-scale comparisons.

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