Breakdown of leaves from three native riparian tree species, and their colonisation by shredding and collecting insect larvae, were investigated in three streams on Banks Peninsula, New Zealand. Leaves were introduced in baskets at the time of leaf fall. Breakdown rates of leaves were faster than previously recorded in New Zealand streams and were comparable to those of many northern hemisphere deciduous species. Shredder and total detritivore densities and biomass in leaf baskets were also greater than previously found in New Zealand streams. Peaks of shredder biomass on red beech and mahoe leaves were found when only about 20% of leaf biomass remained. No shredder peak was recorded on fuchsia leaves, and no collector peaks occurred in any of the streams. Relative shredder and collector biomass (per g DW leaf) in leaf baskets did not exceed or was smaller than in leaf litter accumulations of mixed origin and conditioning throughout the streams during leaf breakdown although absolute shredder and collector biomass (per m2 stream bottom) was occasionally larger in baskets than in the rest of the stream. These findings support contentions that spatial and temporal relationships between detrital inputs and detritivore biomass and life histories are weak in New Zealand streams.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - ecologie animale, vegetale et microbienne