The influence of litter quality, fungi and invertebrate decomposers on litter decomposition in a Mediterranean-climate ecosystem

Hilary Harrop-Archibald

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    Abstract

    [Truncated] Decomposition is a key ecosystem process that regulates carbon and nutrient cycling, and relies on links between above ground and below ground ecosystem components. The decomposition system is complex and consists of multiple interacting trophic groups. It has long been recognized that litter decomposition is controlled by environmental conditions, litter quality, and by these trophic groups (hereafter ‘decomposers’). More recently, understanding of litter decomposition has increased with the study of modified ecosystems where one or more of these three factors is altered and compared with unmodified ecosystems. In particular, invasion by exotic plants has highlighted the influence of litter quality and environmental conditions on decomposition. Furthermore, with increasing focus on the restoration of ecosystem functions to modified ecosystems it has become more critical to understand the controls on decomposition to know how to restore this function. Despite some advances in this research area, our understanding of the influence of environmental conditions, litter quality, decomposers and invasive plant species on decomposition is constantly evolving. Understanding is particularly limited for Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. This PhD study aims to further our understanding of these factors by addressing the following overarching questions in the context of modified Mediterranean-climate ecosystems:
    1. How do changes in the quality, quantity, and timing of litter inputs associated with exotic plant invasions affect decomposition?
    2. Is the successional progression of litter invertebrates affected by exotic plant invasions?
    3. Do fungi prime sclerophyllous litter for decomposers?
    LanguageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    StateUnpublished - Aug 2015

    Fingerprint

    litter
    invertebrate
    fungus
    decomposition
    ecosystem
    environmental conditions
    Mediterranean climate
    ecosystem function
    nutrient cycling
    carbon

    Cite this

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    title = "The influence of litter quality, fungi and invertebrate decomposers on litter decomposition in a Mediterranean-climate ecosystem",
    abstract = "[Truncated] Decomposition is a key ecosystem process that regulates carbon and nutrient cycling, and relies on links between above ground and below ground ecosystem components. The decomposition system is complex and consists of multiple interacting trophic groups. It has long been recognized that litter decomposition is controlled by environmental conditions, litter quality, and by these trophic groups (hereafter ‘decomposers’). More recently, understanding of litter decomposition has increased with the study of modified ecosystems where one or more of these three factors is altered and compared with unmodified ecosystems. In particular, invasion by exotic plants has highlighted the influence of litter quality and environmental conditions on decomposition. Furthermore, with increasing focus on the restoration of ecosystem functions to modified ecosystems it has become more critical to understand the controls on decomposition to know how to restore this function. Despite some advances in this research area, our understanding of the influence of environmental conditions, litter quality, decomposers and invasive plant species on decomposition is constantly evolving. Understanding is particularly limited for Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. This PhD study aims to further our understanding of these factors by addressing the following overarching questions in the context of modified Mediterranean-climate ecosystems:1. How do changes in the quality, quantity, and timing of litter inputs associated with exotic plant invasions affect decomposition?2. Is the successional progression of litter invertebrates affected by exotic plant invasions?3. Do fungi prime sclerophyllous litter for decomposers?",
    keywords = "Decomposition, Leaf litter, Fungi, Invertebrates, Exotic plant invasion, Modified ecosystems, Mediterranean-type ecosystems",
    author = "Hilary Harrop-Archibald",
    year = "2015",
    month = "8",
    language = "English",

    }

    TY - THES

    T1 - The influence of litter quality, fungi and invertebrate decomposers on litter decomposition in a Mediterranean-climate ecosystem

    AU - Harrop-Archibald,Hilary

    PY - 2015/8

    Y1 - 2015/8

    N2 - [Truncated] Decomposition is a key ecosystem process that regulates carbon and nutrient cycling, and relies on links between above ground and below ground ecosystem components. The decomposition system is complex and consists of multiple interacting trophic groups. It has long been recognized that litter decomposition is controlled by environmental conditions, litter quality, and by these trophic groups (hereafter ‘decomposers’). More recently, understanding of litter decomposition has increased with the study of modified ecosystems where one or more of these three factors is altered and compared with unmodified ecosystems. In particular, invasion by exotic plants has highlighted the influence of litter quality and environmental conditions on decomposition. Furthermore, with increasing focus on the restoration of ecosystem functions to modified ecosystems it has become more critical to understand the controls on decomposition to know how to restore this function. Despite some advances in this research area, our understanding of the influence of environmental conditions, litter quality, decomposers and invasive plant species on decomposition is constantly evolving. Understanding is particularly limited for Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. This PhD study aims to further our understanding of these factors by addressing the following overarching questions in the context of modified Mediterranean-climate ecosystems:1. How do changes in the quality, quantity, and timing of litter inputs associated with exotic plant invasions affect decomposition?2. Is the successional progression of litter invertebrates affected by exotic plant invasions?3. Do fungi prime sclerophyllous litter for decomposers?

    AB - [Truncated] Decomposition is a key ecosystem process that regulates carbon and nutrient cycling, and relies on links between above ground and below ground ecosystem components. The decomposition system is complex and consists of multiple interacting trophic groups. It has long been recognized that litter decomposition is controlled by environmental conditions, litter quality, and by these trophic groups (hereafter ‘decomposers’). More recently, understanding of litter decomposition has increased with the study of modified ecosystems where one or more of these three factors is altered and compared with unmodified ecosystems. In particular, invasion by exotic plants has highlighted the influence of litter quality and environmental conditions on decomposition. Furthermore, with increasing focus on the restoration of ecosystem functions to modified ecosystems it has become more critical to understand the controls on decomposition to know how to restore this function. Despite some advances in this research area, our understanding of the influence of environmental conditions, litter quality, decomposers and invasive plant species on decomposition is constantly evolving. Understanding is particularly limited for Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. This PhD study aims to further our understanding of these factors by addressing the following overarching questions in the context of modified Mediterranean-climate ecosystems:1. How do changes in the quality, quantity, and timing of litter inputs associated with exotic plant invasions affect decomposition?2. Is the successional progression of litter invertebrates affected by exotic plant invasions?3. Do fungi prime sclerophyllous litter for decomposers?

    KW - Decomposition

    KW - Leaf litter

    KW - Fungi

    KW - Invertebrates

    KW - Exotic plant invasion

    KW - Modified ecosystems

    KW - Mediterranean-type ecosystems

    M3 - Doctoral Thesis

    ER -