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Interspecific differences in reed litter decay, and aquatic macroinvertebrate colonisation (PhD Chapter 6)

Related Party - Individual (PhD Candidate): Doctor Gary Rushworth* (The University of Leeds, and the Freshwater Biological Association) Email address:
Related Party - Individual (Academic Supervisor): Doctor Lee Brown (University of Leeds) Email address:
Related Party - Organisation (Sponsor): The University of Leeds
Related Party - Organisation (Sponsor): The Freshwater Biological Association
Related Party - Individual (Academic Supervisor): Doctor Michael Dobson (The Freshwater Biological Association) Email address:
A field-based litter bag experiment was used to examine the breakdown rates of litter from 2 common (indigenous) reedswamp forming species (Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia), and its colonization by aquatic detritivores, in Lake Windermere, England (UK). Phragmites australis litter initially (after 21 days immersion) decayed at a faster rate than T. angustifolia; however, at the end of the 56 days immersion period, mass loss was the same for both species. Compared to T. angustifolia, P. australis supported a relatively high number of aquatic macroinvertebrates (mainly belonging to the shredder functional feeding group); however, this difference was temporary (< 21 days immersion). Comparisons of reed litter with a synthetic reed substitute suggested that reed litter acted as a food resource rather than providing refuge from predation and physical disturbance. Interspecific differences in the ability of detritus to resist macroinvertebrate shredding and scraping combined with differences in the timing and magnitude of litter production appear to be important factors in driving macroinvertebrate community assembly. By providing a mechanistic understanding of the influence of reed litter on macroinvertebrates, this study demonstrates the need for further research into the ecological consequences of changes in the coverage, and species composition of reedswamp habitat within lakes and other ecosystems.

Subject Keywords: LakesMacroinvertebratesReed swampsDetritivorous animalsLittoral zone
Geographic Keywords: WindermereUnited Kingdom
Taxonomic Keywords: Phragmites australisTypha angustifolia
Phenomenon Time -  Start Date/Time: 2012-09-24 End Date/Time:  2012-11-19

Geographic Extent -
    Longitude (West): -2.965563
    Longitude (East): -2.965080
    Latitude (South): 54.421104
    Latitude (North): 54.420960

Data Quality Statement:
Carried-out in an accredited laboratory (the Freshwater Biological Association), under supervision.
Documentation: The influence of variations in reedswamp structure and extent upon macroinvertebrates
Publication Date: 

* To discuss any issues relating to this dataset please either send an email to Doctor Gary Rushworth or post to our forum

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Rights Statement

This data is published under the licence FBA Licence

Attribution: Rushworth, Gary

Citation of this data should be as follows:
Rushworth, Gary (2015): Interspecific differences in reed litter decay, and aquatic macroinvertebrate colonisation (PhD Chapter 6). Version:1. [dataset] Freshwater Biological Association [publisher]. doi:10.17865/fbads31

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