Within-species variation in foliar chemistry influences leaf-litter decomposition in a Utah river

Carri J. LeRoy, Thomas G Whitham, Stuart C. Wooley, Jane C Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Leaf-litter inputs provide substrate and energy to stream systems. These contributions vary based on species-specific differences in litter quality, but little is known about how differences in litter quality within a species can affect ecosystem processes. Genetic variation within tree species, such as oaks and cottonwoods, affects ecosystem processes including decomposition and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems and has the potential to do the same in streams. We collected litter from 5 genotypes of each of 4 different cottonwood cross types (Populus fremontii, Populus angustifolia, and natural F1 and backcross hybrids), grown in a common garden, and measured their decomposition rates using litter bags in the Weber River, Utah. The proportion of 35 species-specific P. fremontii restriction-fragment length polymorphism markers in the genotype explained 46% and genetically controlled phytochemical mechanisms (e.g., % soluble condensed tannin in litter) explained >72% of the variation in leaf-litter decomposition rate, respectively. Understanding how natural genetic variation in plants can affect ecosystem processes will provide baseline information with which to address the loss of genetic variation (through habitat fragmentation and global change) and altered genetic variation through hybridization with cultivars and transgenic manipulations in the wild.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-438
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the North American Benthological Society
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Fingerprint

leaf litter
plant litter
chemistry
litter
Populus fremontii
decomposition
genetic variation
rivers
degradation
river
ecosystems
Populus angustifolia
ecosystem
genotype
global change
proanthocyanidins
habitat fragmentation
forest ecosystems
phytopharmaceuticals
gardens

Keywords

  • Aquatic-terrestrial interaction
  • Fungal biomass
  • Hybrids
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Populus
  • Riparian restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Cite this

Within-species variation in foliar chemistry influences leaf-litter decomposition in a Utah river. / LeRoy, Carri J.; Whitham, Thomas G; Wooley, Stuart C.; Marks, Jane C.

In: Journal of the North American Benthological Society, Vol. 26, No. 3, 09.2007, p. 426-438.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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