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Inhibition of the Decomposition of Zostera capricornii Litter by Macrobenthos and Meiobenthos in a Brackish Coastal Lake System

A. H. Dye
Estuaries and Coasts
Vol. 29, No. 5 (Oct., 2006), pp. 802-809
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4124869
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Inhibition of the Decomposition of Zostera capricornii Litter by Macrobenthos and Meiobenthos in a Brackish Coastal Lake System
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Abstract

As part of the development of rapid assays to measure ecological processes, rates of decomposition of eelgrass, Zostera capricornii, were measured using litter bags placed at different distances from the sea in a coastal lake system. Average loss of dry mass over 28 d in bags with coarse mesh, which excluded animals > 1.5 mm, varied from 364 to 448 mg in late winter to between 644 and 868 mg in autumn, depending on locality. Rates of loss were significantly greater in bags with small mesh (0.063 mm), from which all macrofauna were excluded, varying from 420 to 532 mg and from 868 to 924 mg in winter and autumn, respectively. There were consistent negative correlations between loss of litter and numbers of macrofauna and meiofauna in the bags. Rates of decrease in the organic fraction of the litter were positively correlated with numbers of animals. The results imply that the fauna inhibited decomposition, possibly by reducing microbial populations through grazing.

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