Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Steven N. Francoeur, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Kevin A. Kuehn, PhD

Committee Member

Gary L. Hannan, PhD


Fungi and bacteria are significant decomposers of plants within wetlands, but annual secondary production investigations are lacking. Microbial carbon assimilation into biomass and CO2 mineralization may contribute considerably to wetland biogeochemical cycling and energy flow. Naturally-occurring Typha angustifolia detritus was collected to determine annual areal carbon flow through secondary decomposers. Two decay phases, standing-dead and benthic litter, were analyzed concurrently to determine fungal (14C-acetate incorporation) and bacterial (3H-leucine incorporation) production estimates. Gradual collapse of the 2004 cohort standing-dead stocks resulted in lowest litter biomass at study's end while benthic detrital stocks displayed little biomass fluctuation. This study indicates significantly higher fungal production rates within standing litter compared to bacteria. A noteworthy increase in areal production and CO2 mineralization occurred in benthic litter-associated fungi and bacteria. These results provide evidence indicating considerable annual carbon flow from emergent litter to heterotrophic decomposers within both decay phases.


Additional committee member: Daniel L. Clemans, PhD

Included in

Biology Commons