1. Knowledge about processes and dynamics underlying organic matter accumulation in transitional waters is crucial for the protection of these ecologically important coastal habitats. This study investigated the relationship between large particle accumulation and decomposition in a coastal lake included in a Site of Community Interest (SCI) using sediment trap and litterbag techniques. 2. Two sets of sediment traps were deployed at five sites along the longitudinal axis of the lake. One set was emptied once a month for 12 months, and the other twice a year. The contents of the monthly and the 6-monthly traps and the superficial sediments were then compared to estimate the organic matter accumulation and loss. To determine the mass loss rate of the three major allochthonous sources of detritus (the reed Phragmites australis, the cordgrass Spartina juncea, and the seagrass Posidonia oceanica), litterbags were placed near the sediment traps at three out of the five sites at the beginning of each 6-month period and retrieved monthly. 3. The amount of annual particulate organic matter (POM) deposition in the traps was 1320.2 +/- 58.5 g m(-2) y(-1) and consisted of 25% large particles (CPOM). Allochthonous litter comprised an important fraction of CPOM, and its breakdown rate changed with the plant species, site and season. Loss rate of CPOM accumulated at the lake bottom was significantly related with the mass loss rate of reed and cordgrass litter, but not with that of seagrass. 4. Due to slow litter breakdown and tidal landward advection, the lake acted as a sediment trap for allochthonous matter, especially from Posidonia. The important role of marine-derived litter in organic matter sedimentation suggests addressing conservation strategies of the lake functioning towards the selective control of allochthonous CPOM inputs, in particular at the mouth where the incoming tide brings suspended material and salinity decelerates matter flow to the sea and decomposition. This study supports the hypothesis that sedimentation and decomposition dynamics are important factors for coastal lake evolution, and shows litterbag and sediment trap techniques as simple useful investigation tools in management strategies aiming at conserving transitional waters.

Detritus accumulation and decomposition in a coastal lake (Acquatina-southern Italy) / Costantini, Maria Letizia; Rossi, Loreto; Stefano, Fazi; Rossi, David. - In: AQUATIC CONSERVATION-MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS. - ISSN 1052-7613. - 19:5(2009), pp. 566-574. [10.1002/aqc.1004]

Detritus accumulation and decomposition in a coastal lake (Acquatina-southern Italy)

COSTANTINI, Maria Letizia;ROSSI, Loreto;ROSSI, David
2009

Abstract

1. Knowledge about processes and dynamics underlying organic matter accumulation in transitional waters is crucial for the protection of these ecologically important coastal habitats. This study investigated the relationship between large particle accumulation and decomposition in a coastal lake included in a Site of Community Interest (SCI) using sediment trap and litterbag techniques. 2. Two sets of sediment traps were deployed at five sites along the longitudinal axis of the lake. One set was emptied once a month for 12 months, and the other twice a year. The contents of the monthly and the 6-monthly traps and the superficial sediments were then compared to estimate the organic matter accumulation and loss. To determine the mass loss rate of the three major allochthonous sources of detritus (the reed Phragmites australis, the cordgrass Spartina juncea, and the seagrass Posidonia oceanica), litterbags were placed near the sediment traps at three out of the five sites at the beginning of each 6-month period and retrieved monthly. 3. The amount of annual particulate organic matter (POM) deposition in the traps was 1320.2 +/- 58.5 g m(-2) y(-1) and consisted of 25% large particles (CPOM). Allochthonous litter comprised an important fraction of CPOM, and its breakdown rate changed with the plant species, site and season. Loss rate of CPOM accumulated at the lake bottom was significantly related with the mass loss rate of reed and cordgrass litter, but not with that of seagrass. 4. Due to slow litter breakdown and tidal landward advection, the lake acted as a sediment trap for allochthonous matter, especially from Posidonia. The important role of marine-derived litter in organic matter sedimentation suggests addressing conservation strategies of the lake functioning towards the selective control of allochthonous CPOM inputs, in particular at the mouth where the incoming tide brings suspended material and salinity decelerates matter flow to the sea and decomposition. This study supports the hypothesis that sedimentation and decomposition dynamics are important factors for coastal lake evolution, and shows litterbag and sediment trap techniques as simple useful investigation tools in management strategies aiming at conserving transitional waters.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/365096
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