Nordhaus, Inga, Salewski, Tabea and Jennerjahn, Tim (2017) Interspecific variations in mangrove leaf litter decomposition are related to labile nitrogenous compounds. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 192 . pp. 137-148. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.029.

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Abstract

Mangrove leaves form a large pool of carbon, nitrogen and energy that is a major driver of element cycles and detrital food webs inside mangrove forests as well as in adjacent coastal waters. However, there are large gaps in knowledge on the transformation pathways and ultimate fate of leaf nitrogen. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to determine the amount and composition of nitrogenous organic matter and possible species-specific differences during the decomposition of mangrove leaf litter. For that purpose a three month decomposition experiment with litterbags was conducted using leaves of Aegiceras corniculatum, Avicennia alba, Ceriops decandra, Rhizophora apiculata, and Sonneratia caseolaris in the mangrove forest of the Segara Anakan Lagoon, Java, Indonesia. Detrital leaves were analyzed for bulk carbon and total nitrogen (N), stable carbon and nitrogen isotope composition (δ13C, δ15N), total hydrolyzable amino acids (THAA) and total hydrolyzable hexosamines (THHA). Decomposition rates (k d−1) were highest and tM50 values (when 50% of the original mass had been degraded) lowest in S. caseolaris (k = 0.0382 d−1; tM50 = 18 days), followed by A. alba, C. decandra, A. corniculatum, and R. apiculata (k = 0.0098 d−1; tM50 = 71 days). The biochemical composition of detrital leaves differed significantly among species and over time. S. caseolaris and A. alba had higher concentrations of N, THAA and THHA and a lower C/N ratio than the other three species. For most of the species concentrations of N, THAA and THHA increased during decomposition. The hexosamine galactosamine, indicative of bacterial cell walls, was first found in leaves after 5–7 days of decomposition and increased afterwards. Our findings suggest an increasing, but species-specific varying, portion of labile nitrogenous OM and total N in decomposing leaves over time that is partly related to the activity of leaf-colonizing bacteria. Despite a higher relative nitrogen content in the remaining litter of the fast decomposing S. caseolaris and A. alba as compared to the other three species, the total loss of nitrogen was even higher because of the much higher mass loss after three months of decomposition. It is inferred that the amount of labile nitrogenous organic matter plays a major role in determining the rate of decomposition of leaf litter in mangroves.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Biogeochemistry and Geology > Ecological Biogeochemistry
Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.029
ISSN: 02727714
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 12:32
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:58
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/1903

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