Moghadam, Fatemeh Sanaei and Zimmer, Martin ORCID: (2016) Effects of warming, nutrient enrichment and detritivore presence on litter breakdown and associated microbial decomposers in a simulated temperate woodland creek. Hydrobiologia, 770 (1). pp. 243-256. DOI

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Current scenarios of global environmental change predict rapid temperature increases, which can directly affect freshwater ecosystems. Leaf litter breakdown in aquatic environments constitutes a fundamental ecosystem process that is mediated by microbial decomposers and animal detritivores. In this study, we examined interactive effects of water temperature (two levels), nutrient concentration (two levels) and grazing pressure by Gammarus pulex (two levels) on breakdown rates of birch leaf litter, biomass and structure of the colonizing microbial community. Litter breakdown rates were stimulated by detritivores, with detritivore effects being enhanced by simultaneously increasing the temperature and adding the nutrients. The interaction between the three factors was synergistic and thus unpredictable from the effects of changes in individual factors. Bacterial community composition was affected by both detritivores and temperature, but less so by nutrient levels and fungal community composition changed upon detritivore activity but was independent of temperature and nutrients. These factors depended on each other in how they affected bacterial communities, but this did not prove true for fungal communities. Relative growth rates of G. pulex were not affected by temperature or nutrient level. We conclude that both abiotic and biotic factors that potentially affect ecosystem processes should be considered simultaneously in studies on effects of environmental change at the community and ecosystem level.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0018-8158
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2019 16:10
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:29

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