Low-decomposition rates of riparian litter in a North Patagonian ultraoligotrophic lake
CUASSOLO, FLORENCIA; DÍAZ VILLANUEVA, VERÓNICA; MODENUTTI, BEATRIZ
Año: 2021 vol. 90
Littoral zones of lakes are important for carbon and nutrient recycling because of the accumulation and decomposition of organic matter (OM) coming from terrestrial and aquatic plants. Here, we aimed to study OM decomposition from the most abundant riparian trees (Nothofagus dombeyi and Myrceugenia exsucca), and an emergent macrophyte (Schoenoplectus californicus), in the littoral zone of an ultraoligotrophic North-Patagonian Andean lake. We analysed the initial 2-days leaching, and litter mass loss and litter nutrient changes after one year of decomposition in a litter-bag experiment. The three studied species had very slow decay rates (k < 0.005 day−1), and initial nutrient release by leaching was not related to differences in decomposition rates. However, differences in leaf traits (lignin content) were related to interspecific variation in decomposition rates. The highest decomposition rates were observed for the macrophyte S. californicus, the species with the lower lignin content, while the opposite was observed in the Myrtaceae M. exsucca. In the three studied species, nitrogen content increased during decomposition. Our results indicated that in the shore of ultra-oligotrophic lakes, litter remains for long periods with net nutrient immobilization, thus OM of the riparian vegetation represents a carbon and nutrient sink.