Leaching and Early Mass Loss of Boreal Leaves and Wood in Oligotrophic Water
Following immersion in water, allochthonous litter undergoes a process of substantial leaching that is difficult to quantify yet important to exclude from analyses of the role of macroinvertebrates in subsequent breakdown. Laboratory experiments which measured the aqueous release of total phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon from undried leaves (deciduous and coniferous) and woody debris (twigs and bark) revealed that the period of leaching is a prolonged process developing over weeks. Immersion of litter from 6 species of riparian trees in 4 oligotrophic Canadian Shield lakes demonstrated that undried leaves lost 6 to 18% of their mass after 2 wk, and woody debris experienced 0.2 to 27% mass loss after 7 wk. Studies concerned with quantifying the role of macroinvertebrates in the breakdown of allochthonous litter in lentic water should therefore disregard such mass losses.
France, Robert; Culbert, Heather; Freeboreough, Christine; and Peters, Robert, "Leaching and Early Mass Loss of Boreal Leaves and Wood in Oligotrophic Water" (1997). Aspen Bibliography. Paper 1519.