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Title: Fungal biomass and decomposition in Spartina maritima leaves in the Mondego salt marsh (Portugal)
Authors: Castro, Paula 
Freitas, Helena 
Issue Date: 2000
Citation: Hydrobiologia. 428:1 (2000) 171-177
Abstract: Spartina maritima (Curtis) Fernald is a dominant species in the Mondego salt marsh on the western coast of Portugal, and it plays a significant role in estuarine productivity. In this work, leaf litter production dynamics and fungal importance for leaf decomposition processes in Spartina maritima were studied. Leaf fall was highly seasonal, being significantly higher during dry months. It ranged from 42 g m-2 in June to less than 6 g m-2 during the winter. Fungal biomass, measured as ergosterol content, did not differ significantly between standing-decaying leaves and naturally detached leaves. Fungal biomass increased in wet months, with a maximum of 614 µg g-1 of ergosterol in January in standing-decaying leaves, and 1077 µg g-1 in December, in naturally detached leaves, decreasing greatly in summer. Seasonal pattern of fungal colonization was similar in leaves placed in litterbags on the marsh-sediment surface. However, ergosterol concentrations associated with standing-decaying and naturally detached leaves were always much higher than in litterbagged leaves, suggesting that fungal activity was more important before leaf fall. Dry mass of litterbagged leaves declined rapidly after 1 month (about 50%), mostly due to leaching of soluble organic compounds. After 13 months, Spartina leaves had lost 88% of their original dry weight. The decomposition rate constant (k) for Spartina maritima leaves was 0.151 month-1.
DOI: 10.1023/A:1004083919450
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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