Leaf litter decomposition in different aquatic habitats

Josefo B. Tuyor, Josef Margraf and Paciencia P. Milan


Decomposition rates of leaf litter in different aquatic ecosystems were compared. Fifty grams of dried talisay (Terminalia catappa L.) leaves placed in small leaf litter bags were used. These were submerged in a river, an estuary and in the sea at ViSCA, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines.

The highest decomposition rate was recorded in the brackish estuary, with more than 50 percent of the leaf litter processed in a period of 30 days. This might be due to the effects of higher temperature and higher nutrient contents in this site which resulted in higher population densities and activities of the decomposing organisms. Another factor would be the high population density of benthic invertebrates registered in this site.

The decomposition rate in the sea was lowest and reached only less than half of the efficiency of the brackish water environment.

Keywords: Decomposition, river, estuary, brackish, Philippines

Annals of Tropical Research 16(1):(1994)
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