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Over-winter decomposition and associated macroinvertebrate communities of three deciduous leaf species in forest streams on the Canadian Boreal Shield

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Title: Over-winter decomposition and associated macroinvertebrate communities of three deciduous leaf species in forest streams on the Canadian Boreal Shield
Author: Muto, Elisa A.; Kreutzweiser, David P.; Sibley, Paul K.
Abstract: The decomposition of deciduous leaf material provides a critical source of energy to aquatic food webs. Changes to riparian forests through harvesting practices may alter the species composition of deciduous leaf material entering streams. We compared over-winter decomposition of three different riparian leaf species (speckled alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa (Du Roi) J. Clausen), white birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.)) to determine their importance as a food resource for macroinvertebrate communities within Boreal Shield streams in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Leaf pack decomposition of the three leaf species formed a processing continuum throughout winter, where alder and birch leaf packs decomposed at a medium rate (k = 0.0065/day and 0.0053/day, respectively) and aspen leaf packs decomposed more slowly (k = 0.0035/day). Macroinvertebrate community colonization on leaf packs changed through time regardless of leaf species. Alder leaf packs supported higher abundances of macroinvertebrates in the fall while aspen leaf packs supported greater shredder abundances in the following spring. The study shows that leaf diversity may be important for providing a sustained food resource for aquatic macroinvertebrates throughout the relatively long over-winter period in Canadian Boreal Shield streams. Riparian forest management strategies should ensure that deciduous plant species richness is sustained in riparian areas.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2995
Date: 2011
Citation: Muto, E.A., Kreutzweiser, D.P., and Sibley, P.K. "Over-winter decomposition and associated macroinvertebrate communities of three deciduous leaf species in forest streams on the Canadian Boreal Shield." Hydrobiologia 658.1 (2011): 111-126


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