Shoot litter breakdown and zinc dynamics of an aquatic plant, Schoenoplectus californicus

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Decomposition of plant debris is an important process in determining the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. The aims were to find a mathematic model fitting the decomposition process of Schoenoplectus californicus shoots containing different Zn concentrations; compare the decomposition rates; and assess metal accumulation/mobilization during decomposition. A litterbag technique was applied with shoots containing three levels of Zn: collected from an unpolluted river (RIV) and from experimental populations at low (LoZn) and high (HiZn) Zn supply. The double exponential model explained S. californicus shoot decomposition, at first, higher initial proportion of refractory fraction in RIV detritus determined a lower decay rate and until 68 days, RIV and LoZn detritus behaved like a source of metal, releasing soluble/weakly bound zinc into the water; after 68 days, they became like a sink. However, HiZn detritus showed rapid release into the water during the first 8 days, changing to the sink condition up to 68 days, and then returning to the source condition up to 369 days. The knowledge of the role of detritus (sink/source) will allow defining a correct management of the vegetation used for zinc removal and providing a valuable tool for environmental remediation and rehabilitation planning.




Arreghini, S., de Cabo, L., Serafini, R. J. M., & Fabrizio de Iorio, A. (2018). Shoot litter breakdown and zinc dynamics of an aquatic plant, Schoenoplectus californicus. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 20(8), 780–788.

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