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Seasonal variation in the coupling of microbial activity and leaf litter decomposition in a boreal stream network

Bastias, Elliot and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Bundschuh, Mirco and Jonsson, Micael (2022). Seasonal variation in the coupling of microbial activity and leaf litter decomposition in a boreal stream network. Freshwater Biology. 67 :5 , 812-827
[Research article]

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Abstract

Most stream networks are characterised by spatial and temporal variability in the physico-chemical conditions that regulate microbial processing of particulate organic matter. How these patterns control the turnover of particulate organic matter via altered activity of leaf-associated microbes has rarely been studied in high-latitude landscapes, particularly throughout long (i.e., up to 6 months) ice- and snow-covered periods. We investigated development of fungal biomass, enzyme activity, microbial respiration, and birch leaf litter decomposition from autumn to early summer in 11 nested streams in a boreal catchment that encompass a gradient in wetland (mire) cover. We observed relatively low variability in decomposition rates across the network, despite differences in key physical and chemical variables (e.g. temperature, pH, and dissolved organic carbon [DOC] concentrations) over time and space. Microbial enzymatic activity and respiration were positively related to leaf litter decomposition rates during early stages of decomposition (i.e., up to c. 30% loss of initial ash-free dry mass). Thereafter, variation in microbial activity and respiration was decoupled from leaf litter mass loss, as enzymatic activity and respiration instead became positively related to DOC concentrations and upstream mire (wetland) cover among streams. Our results suggest that leaf-associated microbes increase their reliance on external sources of energy over time. This switch in resource use was more evident in streams with higher DOC concentration, which in boreal landscapes is largely determined by mire cover. Hence, variation in DOC concentration, linked to landscape configuration, or from intensified land use and climate change, could affect how different carbon sources are used by stream microbial communities, with consequences for overall carbon cycling in boreal headwaters.

Authors/Creators:Bastias, Elliot and Sponseller, Ryan A. and Bundschuh, Mirco and Jonsson, Micael
Title:Seasonal variation in the coupling of microbial activity and leaf litter decomposition in a boreal stream network
Series Name/Journal:Freshwater Biology
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:67
Number:5
Page range:812-827
Number of Pages:16
Publisher:WILEY
ISSN:0046-5070
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:birch, cellobiohydrolase, extracellular enzyme activity, Krycklan Catchment Study, leaf-use efficiency
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116464
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116464
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1111/fwb.13883
Web of Science (WoS)000766228700001
ID Code:27557
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:19 Apr 2022 06:25
Metadata Last Modified:19 Apr 2022 06:31

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