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EFFECTS OF LONICERA MAACKII LEAF LITTER ON ALGAL BIOMASS AND COMMUNITY COMPOSITION IN VERNAL MESOCOSMS

Lonicera maackii (Amur Honeysuckle) is an invasive plant that can influence terrestrial vegetation, aquatic macroinvertebrate communities, and nutrient availability, but effects on other aspects of aquatic ecosystems are not known. This study investigated the influence of L. maackii leaf litter on algal community structure and biomass in controlled vernal mesocosms. Leaf litter from L. maackii and two native tree species (Populus deltoides and Quercus bicolor) were collected from local riparian habitats and suspended in mesh bags within each treatment mesocosm while control mesocosms received no leaf litter. On a weekly basis, November 2016 through February 2017, measurements of basic water quality were determined using a YSI ProPlus and samples of the periphyton community, ash-free dry mass, and chlorophyll a were collected from unglazed ceramic tiles within each mesocosm. Initial analyses indicate that control vernal mesocosms had significantly higher dissolved oxygen than any of the leaf litter treatments (P<0.001). In addition, treatments with L. maackii leaves displayed significantly lower dissolved oxygen concentrations than either the control or native leaf pack treatments (P<0.001) perhaps indicating faster rates of decomposition during the winter months.

Janet Deardorff (Primary Presenter/Author), Ohio Northern University, j-deardorff@onu.edu;


Robert Verb ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, r-verb@onu.edu;


Leslie Riley ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Ohio Northern University, l-riley.1@onu.edu;