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SFS Annual Meeting

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RATES AND PATHWAYS OF ELEMENT LOSS FROM LEAF LITTER: INVERTEBRATE ASSEMBLAGES

Pathways of element flow from leaf litter depend on and are best predicted by its rate of decomposition, a function of the traits of the litter, and of the environment. Here we use litter enriched with 13C and 15N to quantify carbon and nitrogen assimilation from leaves to invertebrate taxa. We demonstrate a new method for calculating C and N assimilation by invertebrates during decomposition. We incubated twelve leaf species in large mesh bags in Oak Creek (AZ). By measuring mass loss, changes in the %C and %N of leaf litter packs, and changes in stable isotope values we estimated C and N loss during decomposition. We also quantified the pathway of C and N transfer to the macroscopic food web by calculating the amount of C and N assimilated by different invertebrate species. Using these data we show differential assimilation rates across leaf species. Additionally, we show that element assimilation is a more sensitive metric for detecting differences across leaf types than comparisons of leaf-associated invertebrate assemblages.

Meghan Schrik (Primary Presenter/Author), Northern Arizona University, ms3398@nau.edu;


Benjamin Koch (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, ben.koch@nau.edu;


Courtney Roush (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, cmr627@nau.edu;


Adam Siders (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, acs427@nau.edu;


Jane Marks (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, jane.marks@nau.edu;