Decomposition

Decomposition dataset or project

Dataset: 

Study number: 

301

Data set ID: 

210301002

Abstract: 

Mesquite litter mass loss from decomposition associated with soil-litter mixing.

 

Decomposition models typically under-predict decomposition relative to observed rates in drylands. This discrepancy indicates a significant gap in our mechanistic understanding of carbon and nutrient cycling in these systems. Recent research suggests that certain drivers of decomposition that are often not explicitly incorporated into models (e.g., photodegradation and soil-litter mixing; SLM) may be important in drylands, and their exclusion may, in part, be responsible for model under-predictions. To assess the role of SLM, litterbags were deployed in the Chihuahuan Desert and interrelationships between vegetation structure, SLM, and rates of decomposition were quantified. Vegetation structure was manipulated to simulate losses of grass cover from livestock grazing and shrub encroachment. I hypothesized that reductions in grass cover would promote SLM and accelerate mass loss by improving conditions for microbial decomposition.  This study is complete.

 

For more see: Hewins, D. B., S. R. Archer, G. S. Okin, R. L. McCulley, and H. L. Throop. 2013. Soil-litter mixing accelerates decomposition in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Ecosystems 16:183-195

Data sources: 

data_Jornada_301002_aggregate_littermass

LTER Core Area(s): 

Dataset: 

Study number: 

301

Data set ID: 

210301001

Abstract: 

Decomposition models typically under-predict decomposition relative to observed rates in drylands. This discrepancy indicates a significant gap in our mechanistic understanding of carbon and nutrient cycling in these systems. Recent research suggests that certain drivers of decomposition that are often not explicitly incorporated into models (e.g., photodegradation and soil-litter mixing; SLM) may be important in drylands, and their exclusion may, in part, be responsible for model under-predictions. To assess the role of SLM, litterbags were deployed in the Chihuahuan Desert and interrelationships between vegetation structure, SLM, and rates of decomposition were quantified. Vegetation structure was manipulated to simulate losses of grass cover from livestock grazing and shrub encroachment.

We hypothesized that (i) reductions in grass cover would destabilize soils and promote SLM, and (ii) that SLM would enhance microbial abundance and alter microbial community composition in ways that accelerate decomposition. To test our hypotheses, we quantified mass loss, and chemistry of litter incubated on sites with experimental reductions in grass cover (0 to 100% removals) over a 12-month period.  This dataset includes data pertaining to the percent carbon, percent nitrogen, and the carbon to nitrogen ratio. This study is complete.

Data sources: 

data_Jornada_301001_aggregate_litterchem

LTER Core Area(s): 

Project: 

Study Number: 301

Project ID: 

210301000

Original Investigator: 

Dan Hewins

Funding Source: 

LTER V

Research Area: 

Data Category: 

Project: 

Study Number: 10

Project ID: 

210010000

Original Investigator: 

Walter G Whitford

Funding Source: 

LTER-II, LTER-III

Research Area: 

Data Category: 

Dataset: 

Study number: 

10

Data set ID: 

210010001

Abstract: 

 

Termites are important to litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in desert grasslands. The annual feeding activity on paper baits of subterranean termites in desertified (degraded-shrub dominated ecosystems) and relatively undegraded black-grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) grasslands was measured over six years on 12 sites on the Jornada Basin. Toilet paper roll termite baits were placed on grids on each consumer plot. Data include initial bait weights and bait weights after baits had been retrieved from the field once each year. Weight loss was calculated as a measure of termite foraging activity. This study is complete.

Data sources: 

data_JornadaStudy_010_npp_termite_bait

LTER Core Area(s): 

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