Date Approved

8-3-2012

Date Posted

4-23-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Committee Member

Kristin E. Judd, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Steven N. Francoeur, PhD

Committee Member

Gary L. Hannan, PhD

Abstract

The common reed (Phragmites australis) is a highly productive invasive grass that alters the wetland physiochemical environment and produces toxic secondary metabolites. Plant litter decomposition, effects of water level on soil microbes, and soil microbial response to leachate additions were investigated in Phragmites invaded and pre-invaded Typha sites. Less litter mass was lost from Phragmites than Typha in both sites during the initial 144 days. Annual mass loss from both species’ litter was greater in the Phragmites site. Lower water levels resulted in greater CO2 than CH4 production in both Phragmites and Typha soils. Higher water levels resulted in greater CH4 than CO2 production in both soils and greater CH4 production in Typha than Phragmites soils. Introducing Phragmites leachate to Typha soils resulted in less (not significant) microbial respiration than Typha leachate or dH2O. Post-invasion environmental conditions enhanced gaseous carbon release, but high primary productivity resulted in net carbon storage.

Included in

Biology Commons

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