Biotic and abiotic variables influencing plant litter breakdown in streams: a global study

Luz Boyero 1, 2 Richard G. Pearson 2 Cang Hui 3, 4 Mark O. Gessner 5, 6 Javier Pérez Markos A. Alexandrou 7 Manuel A. S. Graça 8 Bradley J. Cardinale 9 Ricardo J. Albariño 10 Muthukumarasamy Arunachalam 11 Leon A. Barmuta 12 Andrew J. Boulton 13 Andreas Bruder 14, 15 Marcos Callisto 16 Eric Chauvet 17 Russell G. Death David Dudgeon 18 Andrea C. Encalada 8, 19 Verónica Ferreira 8 Ricardo Figueroa 20 Alexander S. Flecker 21 José F. Jr Gonçalves 22 Julie E. Helson 23 Tomoya Iwata 24 Tajang Jinggut 25 Jude M. Mathooko 26 Catherine Mathuriau 27 Charles M'Erimba 26 Marcelo S. Moretti 28 Catherine M. Pringle 29 Alonso Ramírez 30 Lavenia Ratnarajah 12 José Rincon 31, 32 Catherine M. Yule 25
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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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2016, vol. 283 (n° 1829), pp. 1-10. 〈10.1098/rspb.2015.2664〉
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Luz Boyero, Richard G. Pearson, Cang Hui, Mark O. Gessner, Javier Pérez, et al.. Biotic and abiotic variables influencing plant litter breakdown in streams: a global study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2016, vol. 283 (n° 1829), pp. 1-10. 〈10.1098/rspb.2015.2664〉. 〈hal-01360648〉

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