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Leaf-litter leachate and light interactively enhance accrual of stream biofilms

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We examined the individual and interactive effects of light and leaf-litter-derived leachate from red alder (Alnus rubra) on growth and elemental composition of stream biofilm. We manipulated the quantity of alder leaf litter used to produce leachate (control: no addition; low: 26.7 g d–1; high: 106.7 g d–1) and light (shaded/unshaded) in experimental channels to assess responses of biofilms colonizing tiles. The greatest changes in stream-water chemistry were observed in channels receiving the high leachate treatment, where streamwater ammonium increased by ∼1.4×, phosphate increased by ∼2×, and dissolved organic carbon was ∼1.5× higher than the control. Effects of light, leachate and their interaction significantly increased biofilm ash-free dry mass and chlorophyll-a. We observed weaker, non-significant effects of leachate in shaded conditions, suggesting that effects of leachate on biofilms were mostly autotrophic. Results indicate that the individual effect of leaf-litter leachates on heterotrophic components of biofilm is minor, but light interactively stimulates the effects of leaf-litter leachates on autotrophic components of biofilms in low-order streams.
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Keywords: AUTOTROPHY; DISSOLVED ORGANIC CARBON; HETEROTROPHY; NUTRIENTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2014

More about this publication?
  • Fundamental and Applied Limnology is an international journal for freshwater research in the widest sense, including problems of marine biology and brackish water research. Papers dealing with ecological topics are especially welcome in association with experimental or physiological studies. All papers published in this journal are subject to peer review.

    Archiv für Hydrobiologie, now Fundamental and Applied Limnology has been published continuously since 1906.

    Volumes prior to vol. 168 were published under the previous title Archiv für Hydrobiologie.
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