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Oxygen drives benthic-pelagic decomposition pathways in shallow wetlands.


ABSTRACT: Oxygen availability is perceived as an important environmental factor limiting POM decomposition. In shallow wetlands, however, the impact of commonly observed anoxic conditions in the benthic layer on the relative contribution of microbes and invertebrates to POM decomposition remains largely unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if dissolved oxygen drives benthic-pelagic decomposition pathways in shallow wetlands. Dissolved oxygen concentration, invertebrate community composition, microbial decomposition and invertebrate consumption were measured in the benthic and pelagic layer of 15 permanent drainage ditches. We showed that an increased duration of anoxic conditions in the benthic layer of the ditches was related to increased microbial decomposition in this layer, while invertebrate consumption decreased in the benthic layer and increased in the pelagic layer. The increased invertebrate consumption in the pelagic layer was related to the presence of amphipods. We concluded that anoxic conditions in the benthic layer of shallow wetlands relate to an increase in microbial decomposition and a decrease in invertebrate consumption, as detritivorous invertebrates move to the pelagic layer to consume particulate organic matter. This illustrates that environmental conditions, such as dissolved oxygen, may drive the relative importance of aquatic organisms to ecosystem functioning.

SUBMITTER: van der Lee GH 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5678150 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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