Skip to Main Content
Leaf litter processing in West Virginia mountain streams: effects of temperature and stream chemistryAuthor(s): Jacquelyn M. Rowe; William B. Perry; Sue A. Perry
Source: In: Hom, John; Birdsey, Richard; O'Brian, Kelly, eds. Proceedings 1995 meeting of the northern global change program; Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-214. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 157-160.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Northeastern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (256.71 KB)
DescriptionClimate change has the potential to alter detrital processing in headwater streams, which receive the majority of their nutrient input as terrestrial leaf litter. Early placement of experimental leaf packs in streams, one month prior to most abscission, was used as an experimental manipulation to increase stream temperature during leaf pack breakdown. We studied leaf litter processing in three second-order, mid-Appalachian streams along a pH gradient (mean pH = 4.2, 6.5, 7.5). Leaf pack processing rate coefficients (k) were calculated for single species leaf packs of red maple, white oak, and yellow poplar retrieved from each stream at regular intervals over two 12-week study periods: October to January, average total degree days = 442.0; and November to February, average total degree days = 271.3. Processing rates for all leaf species in both study periods were highest in the most alkaline stream. Within each stream, processing rates were not significantly higher during either study period. Invertebrate density was higher during the earlier, warmer study period, but shredder biomass showed no significant trends. ATP concentrations on leaf material were generally higher during the earlier study period, indicating higher microbial biomass. Overall, leaf litter processing in this study was influenced by a combination of factors including temperature, water chemistry, invertebrate community, and microbial processing.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationRowe, Jacquelyn M.; Perry, William B.; Perry, Sue A. 1996. Leaf litter processing in West Virginia mountain streams: effects of temperature and stream chemistry. In: Hom, John; Birdsey, Richard; O''Brian, Kelly, eds. Proceedings 1995 meeting of the northern global change program; Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-214. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 157-160.
- Effects of acidic precipitation on leaf decomposition rates, microbial biomass, and leaf pack macroinvertebrates in six streams on the Allegheny plateau of West Virginia
- Nonadditive effects of leaf litter species diversity on breakdown dynamics in a deteritus-bases stream
- Leaf litter decomposition and elemental change in three Appalachian mountain streams of different pH
XML: View XML