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Title: Global synthesis of the temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams and rivers

Abstract

Streams and rivers are important conduits of terrestrially derived carbon (C) to atmospheric and marine reservoirs. Leaf litter breakdown rates are expected to increase as water temperatures rise in response to climate change. The magnitude of increase in breakdown rates is uncertain, given differences in litter quality and microbial and detritivore community responses to temperature, factors that can influence the apparent temperature sensitivity of breakdown and the relative proportion of C lost to the atmosphere vs. stored or transported downstream. We synthesized 1025 records of litter breakdown in streams and rivers to quantify its temperature sensitivity, as measured by the activation energy (Ea, in eV). Temperature sensitivity of litter breakdown varied among twelve plant genera for which Ea could be calculated. Higher values of Ea were correlated with lower-quality litter, but these correlations were influenced by a single, N-fixing genus (Alnus). Ea values converged when genera were classified into three breakdown rate categories, potentially due to continual water availability in streams and rivers modulating the influence of leaf chemistry on breakdown. Across all data representing 85 plant genera, the Ea was 0.34 ± 0.04 eV, or approximately half the value (0.65 eV) predicted by metabolic theory. Our results indicate thatmore » average breakdown rates may increase by 5–21% with a 1–4 °C rise in water temperature, rather than a 10–45% increase expected, according to metabolic theory. Differential warming of tropical and temperate biomes could result in a similar proportional increase in breakdown rates, despite variation in Ea values for these regions (0.75 ± 0.13 eV and 0.27 ± 0.05 eV, respectively). The relative proportions of gaseous C loss and organic matter transport downstream should not change with rising temperature given that Ea values for breakdown mediated by microbes alone and microbes plus detritivores were similar at the global scale.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [12];  [13];  [14];  [15];  [4]
  1. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Dept. of Geography; Utah State Univ., Logan, UT (United States). Dept. of Watershed Sciences
  2. Florida Intl Univ., Miami, FL (United States). Dept. of Biological Sciences
  3. North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC (United States). Dept. of Forestry and Environmental Resources
  4. Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS (United States). Division of Biology
  5. Leibniz Inst. of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Stechlin (Germany). Dept. of Experimental Limnology; Technical Univ., Berlin (Germany). Dept. of Ecology, Berlin Inst. of Technology
  6. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst. and Environmental Sciences Division
  7. Utah State Univ., Logan, UT (United States). Dept. of Watershed Sciences
  8. Pacific Northwest Research Station, Corvallis, OR (United States)
  9. Univ. of Toulouse (France). Ecolab
  10. Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA (United States). Environmental Studies Program
  11. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States). School of Environment and Natural Resources
  12. Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States). Odum School of Ecology
  13. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Dept. of Biology
  14. Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, MD (United States). Dept. of Geography and Environmental Systems
  15. Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ. (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA (United States). Dept. of Biological Sciences
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1394769
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1401738
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; ER#1064998
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Global Change Biology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1354-1013
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; activation energy; breakdown; carbon cycling; climate chagne; detritivore; leaf chemistry; metabolic theory; microbe; organic matter; temperature sensitivity

Citation Formats

Follstad Shah, Jennifer J., Kominoski, John S., Ardón, Marcelo, Dodds, Walter K., Gessner, Mark O., Griffiths, Natalie A., Hawkins, Charles P., Johnson, Sherri L., Lecerf, Antoine, LeRoy, Carri J., Manning, David W. P., Rosemond, Amy D., Sinsabaugh, Robert L., Swan, Christopher M., Webster, Jackson R., and Zeglin, Lydia H. Global synthesis of the temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams and rivers. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1111/gcb.13609.
Follstad Shah, Jennifer J., Kominoski, John S., Ardón, Marcelo, Dodds, Walter K., Gessner, Mark O., Griffiths, Natalie A., Hawkins, Charles P., Johnson, Sherri L., Lecerf, Antoine, LeRoy, Carri J., Manning, David W. P., Rosemond, Amy D., Sinsabaugh, Robert L., Swan, Christopher M., Webster, Jackson R., & Zeglin, Lydia H. Global synthesis of the temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams and rivers. United States. doi:10.1111/gcb.13609.
Follstad Shah, Jennifer J., Kominoski, John S., Ardón, Marcelo, Dodds, Walter K., Gessner, Mark O., Griffiths, Natalie A., Hawkins, Charles P., Johnson, Sherri L., Lecerf, Antoine, LeRoy, Carri J., Manning, David W. P., Rosemond, Amy D., Sinsabaugh, Robert L., Swan, Christopher M., Webster, Jackson R., and Zeglin, Lydia H. Tue . "Global synthesis of the temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams and rivers". United States. doi:10.1111/gcb.13609. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1394769.
@article{osti_1394769,
title = {Global synthesis of the temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams and rivers},
author = {Follstad Shah, Jennifer J. and Kominoski, John S. and Ardón, Marcelo and Dodds, Walter K. and Gessner, Mark O. and Griffiths, Natalie A. and Hawkins, Charles P. and Johnson, Sherri L. and Lecerf, Antoine and LeRoy, Carri J. and Manning, David W. P. and Rosemond, Amy D. and Sinsabaugh, Robert L. and Swan, Christopher M. and Webster, Jackson R. and Zeglin, Lydia H.},
abstractNote = {Streams and rivers are important conduits of terrestrially derived carbon (C) to atmospheric and marine reservoirs. Leaf litter breakdown rates are expected to increase as water temperatures rise in response to climate change. The magnitude of increase in breakdown rates is uncertain, given differences in litter quality and microbial and detritivore community responses to temperature, factors that can influence the apparent temperature sensitivity of breakdown and the relative proportion of C lost to the atmosphere vs. stored or transported downstream. We synthesized 1025 records of litter breakdown in streams and rivers to quantify its temperature sensitivity, as measured by the activation energy (Ea, in eV). Temperature sensitivity of litter breakdown varied among twelve plant genera for which Ea could be calculated. Higher values of Ea were correlated with lower-quality litter, but these correlations were influenced by a single, N-fixing genus (Alnus). Ea values converged when genera were classified into three breakdown rate categories, potentially due to continual water availability in streams and rivers modulating the influence of leaf chemistry on breakdown. Across all data representing 85 plant genera, the Ea was 0.34 ± 0.04 eV, or approximately half the value (0.65 eV) predicted by metabolic theory. Our results indicate that average breakdown rates may increase by 5–21% with a 1–4 °C rise in water temperature, rather than a 10–45% increase expected, according to metabolic theory. Differential warming of tropical and temperate biomes could result in a similar proportional increase in breakdown rates, despite variation in Ea values for these regions (0.75 ± 0.13 eV and 0.27 ± 0.05 eV, respectively). The relative proportions of gaseous C loss and organic matter transport downstream should not change with rising temperature given that Ea values for breakdown mediated by microbes alone and microbes plus detritivores were similar at the global scale.},
doi = {10.1111/gcb.13609},
journal = {Global Change Biology},
number = 8,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Feb 28 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Tue Feb 28 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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  • The effect of excluding shredders on leaf processing rates was studied in a Rocky Mountain stream in Utah and a cold desert stream in Washington. Experimentally excluding shredders significantly decreased the processing rate in both streams. Processing rates (k) were higher in the desert stream, and it is postulated that this is related to increased microbial activity due to the higher water temperatures. 21 references, 2 tables.
  • BS>A botanical method is described for use in sampling leaf litter in studies of succession of microarthropod species. This method uses fresh leaf litter in net bags that are placed on the forest floor. Sampling at intervals permits estimates of the rates of breakdown of the litter. During such studies it was found that microarthropods invade the bags freely and can be extracted with Tullgren funnels. An anaiysis of data indicated that the bags tended to produce high populations. The use of dm/sup 2/ litter bags was found to produce best results for quantitative sampling for Tydeus sp. and possiblymore » other species. (C.H.)« less
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy was investigated as a method for quantitating trace metal complexes with the organic ligands in a water extract of chestnut (Castanea sativa L.) leaf litter. Copper(II) and aluminum(III) were selected as environmentally significant metals with which to characterize the method as applied to the leaf litter extract. Solutions of Cu or Al mixed with the extract exhibited fluorescence that decreased in relative intensity as the total metal concentration and/or the pH increased. Data were obtained in the pH range 5 to 8 for total Cu concentrations up to 160 mmol m/sup -3/ and in the pH range 4more » to 8 for total Al concentrations up to 100 mmol m/sup -3/. The fluorescence intensity data for Cu were comparable to those obtained in previous studies for solutions of Cu and soluble humic materials. A conventional equation was used to calculate an overall stability coefficient for metal complexation by the leaf litter extract. The pH-dependence of this stability coefficient was modeled mathematically in terms of pH-independent conditional stability constants through a new application of the Scatchard quasiparticle model. The quasiparticle species Cu(OH)/sub n/H/sub 0.9/L (n = 0 or 1; L = organic ligands) were sufficient to model the Cu data with the two pH-independent conditional stability constants, /sup c/..beta../sub 0/0.9/ = 10/sup 12.6/ and /sup c/..beta../sub 1/0.9/ = 10/sup 5.3/. For the Al data, the conditional stability constants /sup c/..beta../sub 0/0/ = 10/sup 8.55/ and /sup c/..beta../sub 2/0/ = 10/sup -1.8/ were obtained for the quasiparticle species Al(OH)/sub n/L (n = 0 or 2). These stability constants can be used in computer speciation programs to estimate organic complexation of Cu(II) or Al(III) by the leaf litter extract, but otherwise have no molecular chemical significance.« less