Ann. Limnol. - Int. J. Lim.
Volume 57, 2021
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||08 February 2021|
Fungal richness does not buffer the effects of streams salinization on litter decomposition
Centre for Functional Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
2 Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology, Biology Department, Minho University, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
3 Department of Biology, Mt. Allison University, Sackville, NB E4L 1G7, Canada
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 9 January 2021
Freshwater salinization is a world-wide phenomenon threatening stream communities and ecosystem functioning. In these systems, litter decomposition is a main ecosystem-level process where fungi (aquatic hyphomycetes) play a central role linking basal resource and higher levels of food-web. The current study evaluated the impact of aquatic hyphomycete richness on leaf litter decomposition when subjected to salinization. In a microcosm study, we analysed leaf mass loss, fungal biomass, respiration and sporulation rate by fungal assemblages at three levels of species richness (1, 4, 8 species) and three levels of salinity (0, 8, 16 g NaCl L‑1). Mass loss and sporulation rate were depressed at 8 and 16 g NaCl L‑1, while fungal biomass and respiration were only negatively affected at 16 g L‑1. A richness effect was only observed on sporulation rates, with the maximum values found in assemblages of 4 species. In all cases, the negative effects of high levels of salinization on the four tested variables superimposed the potential buffer capacity of fungal richness. The study suggests functional redundancy among the fungal species even at elevated salt stress conditions which may guarantee stream functioning at extreme levels of salinity. Nonetheless, it also points to the possible importance of salt induced changes on fungal diversity and identity in salinized streams able to induce bottom-up effects in the food webs.
Key words: Fresh waters / salt contamination / species richness / aquatic hyphomycetes / litter processing
© EDP Sciences, 2021
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