Comparing Aquatic and Terrestrial Leaf and Cicada Litter Decomposition Rates and Invertebrate Abundance in Old River Park
Allyson A. Allen, Grace M. King, Miles Ellison Muratore, Emerson R. Phares, Megan Ann Poole, Adelaide Lorraine Starks
Decomposition is essential for nutrient recycling when the carbon and other nutrients go back into usable forms from complicated molecules. In this study, we determined the role of habitat (terrestrial versus aquatic), litter quality (4 different plant species and cicadas), and insect abundance on rates of decomposition. We used mesh litter bags (how many total–4*5 types of litte*2 habitats) that we picked up at different time intervals and weighed litter remaining. We also extracted invertebrates from all bags. We predict that aquatic rates will be higher than terrestrial decomposition rates for both leaf and cicada matter. Additionally, we think there will be more aquatic invertebrates in the sample than terrestrial invertebrates. Lastly, we predict that leaf litter will decompose at a faster rate than cicada litter. Litter quality and habitat type both affect decomposition rates. If our predictions are correct we will see a correlation between invertebrate abundance and decomposition rate inferring that invertebrates help the decomposition process. If leaf litter decomposes faster than insect litter then leaves must be made of matter that can degrade faster than the matter of insects. The rate of decomposition is dependent on litter quality and environmental conditions. Temperature and moisture content have a significant impact on decomposition rates as well. When moisture conditions are favorable, increasing temperature causes an exponential increase in decay rates. So with this decomposition will thrive in given conditions and so it is an important aspect of finding what factors/roles are causing a progressive reaction in the decomposition environment type wise.
Kathleen A. Kargl, Chelse M. Prather
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
"Comparing Aquatic and Terrestrial Leaf and Cicada Litter Decomposition Rates and Invertebrate Abundance in Old River Park" (2022). Stander Symposium Projects. 2433.