Presentation Title

Decomposition of Evergreen and Deciduous Leaf Litter in Different Landscapes of CSUSM

Faculty Mentor

George Vourlitis

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 11:30 AM

Location

118

Session

poster 4

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Decomposition of litter is affected by many factors in urban habitats. These factors range from temperate and humidity to the microbial community in the soils. Since decomposition breaks down litter into labile carbon and nitrogen, plants and microbes rely on decomposition. We were interested in seeing how different landscape techniques on a college campus affect the rates of carbon and nitrogen decomposition in Oak and Sycamore leaf litter. We hypothesized the Oak litter would decompose slower compared to the Sycamore litter due to more structural carbon in the Oak litter. In addition, we hypothesized the soils with more clay and silt would decompose litter quicker due to increased water retention as well as a higher cation exchange capacity. This was done by placing leaf litter samples of known weight in the ground 10 cm below the top at 5 different sites on California State University San Marcos campus. The samples were then allowed to decompose for 3 months, after which they were prepared to run through an elemental analyzer and muffle furnace. The initial sample weight was then compared to the final sample weights to determine the amount of decomposition. The decomposition of carbon and nitrogen in the litter was significantly different across the sites. But the difference between decomposition of the two species was not significant. It was found that site dependent factors like amount of silt and clay in the soil were the most important factors in determining litter decomposition.

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Nov 23rd, 10:45 AM Nov 23rd, 11:30 AM

Decomposition of Evergreen and Deciduous Leaf Litter in Different Landscapes of CSUSM

118

Decomposition of litter is affected by many factors in urban habitats. These factors range from temperate and humidity to the microbial community in the soils. Since decomposition breaks down litter into labile carbon and nitrogen, plants and microbes rely on decomposition. We were interested in seeing how different landscape techniques on a college campus affect the rates of carbon and nitrogen decomposition in Oak and Sycamore leaf litter. We hypothesized the Oak litter would decompose slower compared to the Sycamore litter due to more structural carbon in the Oak litter. In addition, we hypothesized the soils with more clay and silt would decompose litter quicker due to increased water retention as well as a higher cation exchange capacity. This was done by placing leaf litter samples of known weight in the ground 10 cm below the top at 5 different sites on California State University San Marcos campus. The samples were then allowed to decompose for 3 months, after which they were prepared to run through an elemental analyzer and muffle furnace. The initial sample weight was then compared to the final sample weights to determine the amount of decomposition. The decomposition of carbon and nitrogen in the litter was significantly different across the sites. But the difference between decomposition of the two species was not significant. It was found that site dependent factors like amount of silt and clay in the soil were the most important factors in determining litter decomposition.