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

Glenn Walker, PhD


Quantification of microbial processes involved in plant decomposition is important in understanding energy flow and nutrient recycling in wetlands. Prior studies examining emergent plant decomposition have often used litter that had been prematurely harvested (senescent) and/or manipulated (oven-dried). I examined the effects of litter manipulations on microbial decay dynamics associated with litter of the emergent macrophyte Typha angustifolia. Plant litter was harvested after senescence and after a period of standing-dead decay. This collected litter was either air-dried or oven-dried, placed into fine mesh (1 mm) litterbags, and submerged in the wetland. Litterbags were retrieved periodically and analyzed for microbial biomass, litter nutrient concentrations, rates of mass loss, fungal production, and microbial respiration. Significant differences were observed in measured microbial parameters and litter nutrients for all four litter treatments. These results point to contrasting patterns in microbial and nutrient dynamics during emergent macrophyte decay as a result of frequently employed litter manipulations.


Additional committee member: Gary L. Hannan, PhD

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Biology Commons