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SFS Annual Meeting

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RATES AND PATHWAYS OF ELEMENT LOSS FROM LEAF LITTER: LARGE DETRITIVORES

Our research tests how leaf litter traits affect growth rates and element assimilation from leaves to a large shredding caddisfly. We used leaf litter from 12 tree species grown in the greenhouse and enriched in 15N and 13C. Leaves were incubated in Oak Creek, AZ. One caddisfly was placed in each leaf pack. Caddisflies were weighed in their cases at the beginning of the experiment, and we estimated dry weights using a regression for dry weights without a case and damp weights in the case. For each of three harvests, caddisflies were removed from their cases, dried and weighed. Decomposition rate was estimated for each leaf type in the presence and absence of detritivores. We estimated total C and N lost from each leaf pack at each harvest by measuring mass loss, %C and %N of leaves and microbes and the 13C and 15N values of each leaf pack. We estimated C and N assimilation using stable isotope values of each insect. We describe differences in absolute and relative assimilation across leaf types and harvests.

Zasha Welsh (Primary Presenter/Author), Northern Arizona University, zkw3@nau.edu;


Rachel Mudry (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, rmm384@nau.edu;


Alan Gruetzmacher (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, ag2635@nau.edu;


Rebecca Fritz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, rjf227@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;