CS33 Sediment-Water Interactions
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 4:00:00 PM
Location: Saanich
 
ZimmerM, Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany, mzimmer@zoologie.uni-kiel.de
 
Linking decomposition processes in terrestrial and aquatic systems - the significance of functional diversity
image
In some aquatic ecosystems, terrestrial plants may supply a major energy source. In woodland creeks and ponds, autochthonous detritus is supplemented by allochthonous leaf litter. In contrast to terrestrial systems, where stochastic wetting-drying events impede microbial conditioning of leaf litter, microbial degradation and leaching of soluble compounds can be expected to promote decomposition processes and to increase the nutritive value of leaf litter to detritivores in aquatic systems. It is, therefore, of interest to compare nutritional requirements as well as digestive capabilities of aquatic and terrestrial detritivores that feed upon a common food source. Similarly, detritus of intertidal salt marshes is mainly derived from autochthonous terrestrial plants, but is subject to regular (tidal) wetting-drying cycles. Detritivores of mainly marine origin mediate decomposition processes, but terrestrial detritivores may play an additional role in plant litter degradation and energy fluxes. Thus, a direct comparison of these two groups of detritivores, sharing a common food source and a common habitat, may provide insight into their functional significance through functional diversity with respect to species-specific contributions to decomposition processes.