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Title

Effect of small reservoirs on leaf litter decomposition in Mediterranean headwater streams

AuthorsMenéndez, Margarita ; Descals, Enric ; Riera, Tecla; Moya, Oscar
Issue Date2012
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
CitationHydrobiologia 691: 135- 146 (2012)
AbstractLeaf litter decomposition is a crucial process providing matter and energy to communities inhabiting headwater streams. This process could be affected by many man-made landscape transformations and its response can vary depending on the climate setting. In this study, we test the hypothesis that the presence of small headwater reservoirs decreases litter decomposition downstream, as reported for temperate Oceanic climatic regions, and that this effect is more accentuated in the Mediterranean. The effect of small dams on the decomposition of alder (Alnus glutinosa) leaves was studied in four headwater streams in Catalonia (NE Spain). The presence of a dam affected litter decomposition rates in three of the four streams studied, and this depended on reservoir typology. In those with seasonal surface release, decomposition rates were slower downstream from the dams, but in the case of a continuous hypolimnetic release, it was faster, with higher DIN and temperature and abundance of shredders. Alder litter decomposition rates were twice those reported for Oceanic climatic conditions. In Mediterranean headwaters, the effect of small dams will even be more evident at an annual scale due to the diminished flow rates in summer and this effect will be more pronounced than in the more Oceanic. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/56726
DOI10.1007/s10750-012-1064-6
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s10750-012-1064-6
issn: 0018-8158
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