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Annual patterns of litter decomposition in the stream channel and riparian area of an intermittent stream

Simoes, Sara, Martinez, Aingeru, Goncalves, Ana Lucia, Capela, Nuno, Alves, Joana, Alves da Silva, Antonio, Jones, Thomas Hefin ORCID:, Sousa, Jose Paulo and Canhoto, Cristina 2021. Annual patterns of litter decomposition in the stream channel and riparian area of an intermittent stream. Aquatic Ecology 55 , pp. 519-526. 10.1007/s10452-021-09841-w

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Intermittent streams, dominant in arid and semi-arid regions, are considered to be more representative of global river networks than perennial rivers. The impacts of constant changes in hydrological regime on the functioning of these streams and associated riparian areas does, however, remain to be elucidated. In this study, litter derived from two deciduous tree species (chestnut and oak) was used to compare microbial–decomposition patterns between an intermittent stream channel and its riparian area over a 1-year period. The stream channel exhibited higher decomposition rates than the riparian area for litter from both species, and higher fungal biomass only for chestnut. Despite a prolonged absence of streambed surface water (254 days), differences in hydrological conditions in the wetter seasons (autumn and winter) shape the decomposition dynamics in both zones throughout the whole hydrological cycle. The results point out the importance of the “hydrological imprint” for the leaves’ degradation; long-term studies are advisable over short-term ones to better understand the functioning of intermittent streams.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 1386-2588
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 11 February 2021
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 05:46

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