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Title: Storage and export of organic matter in a headwater stream: responses to long-term detrital manipulations

Author: Eggert, Sue L.; Wallace, J. Bruce.; Meyer, Judy L.; Webster, Jackson R.;

Date: 2012

Source: Ecosphere. 3(9): 75.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Riparian habitats provide organic matter inputs that influence stream biota and ecosystem processes in forested watersheds. Over a 13-yr period, we examined the effects of litter exclusion, small- and large-wood removal, and the addition of leaf species of varying detrital quality on organic matter standing crop and export of organic and inorganic particles in a high-gradient headwater stream. Using eight pretreatment years of export data and two pretreatment years of particulate organic matter (POM) standing crop data, we report on 21 and 15 years of continuous export and POM standing crop results, respectively. Litter exclusion resulted in the elimination of leaf standing crop by the end of year three. Wood and fine benthic organic matter (FBOM) standing crops declined significantly during the exclusion and wood removal periods, but never completely disappeared. Following the introduction of artificial wood structures for retention, the addition of fast, slow, and mixed breakdown leaves in the treatment stream resulted in significantly increased mean annual leaf standing crops. After five years of leaf addition, FBOM standing crop and fine particulate organic matter (FPOM) export remained below pre-treatment levels.

Keywords: allochthonous, Appalachian (USA) streams, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, North Carolina, USA, detrital complexity, detritus, leaf litter exclusion, organic matter standing crop, organic matter transport, sediment transport, seston, storms, wood

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Eggert, Sue L.; Wallace, J. Bruce.; Meyer, Judy L.; Webster, Jackson R. 2012. Storage and export of organic matter in a headwater stream: responses to long-term detrital manipulations. Ecosphere. 3(9): 75.


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