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    Comparisons of the effects of leaf litter chemistry on leaf breakdown rates in tropical vs temperate streams are hindered by incompatibility among studies and across sites of analytical methods used to measure leaf chemistry. We used standardized analytical techniques to measure chemistry and breakdown rate of leaves from common riparian tree species at 2 sites, 1 tropical and 1 temperate, where a relatively large amount of information is available on litter chemistry and breakdown rates in streams (La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica, and Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, North Carolina, USA). We selected 8 common riparian tree species from La Selva and 7 from Coweeta that spanned the range of chemistries of leaf litter naturally entering streams at each site. We predicted that concentrations of secondary compounds would be higher in the tropical species than in the temperate species and that high concentrations of condensed tannins would decrease breakdown rates in both sites.

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    Ardon, Marcelo; Pringle, Catherine M.; Eggert, Susan L. 2009. Does leaf chemistry differentially affect breakdown in tropical vs temperate streams? Importance of standardized analytical techniques to measure leaf chemistry. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. 28(2): 440-453.


    organic matter, decomposition, tannins, phenolics, lignin, nitrogen, carbon

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