Aboveground decomposition dynamics in riparian depression and slope wetlands of central Pennsylvania

Zaneta Hough, Charles Andrew Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We examined two types of groundwater-fed wetlands (riparian depressions and slopes) classified using the hydrogeomorphic (HGM) system. These wetland types had previously been shown to differ hydrologically. Our first objective was to determine if HGM was a useful structuring variable when examining aboveground decomposition dynamics (rate of mass loss and rate of nitrogen loss). Our second objective was to determine what soil variables were related to any differences in aboveground decomposition dynamics we might find regardless of HGM subclass. We used the litterbag field bioassay technique, and employed a standard litter type (Phalaris arundinacea) across all wetlands. Our results indicated that HGM would not readily serve as an adequate structuring variable for aboveground decomposition in riparian depressions and slope wetlands of central Pennsylvania. Discriminant analysis and classification and regression tree (CART) modeling found soil cation exchange capacity, soil pH, soil organic matter, and soil % nitrogen to be potentially important soil variables related to mass loss, and soil % nitrogen and soil pH to be potentially important variables related to nitrogen loss rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalAquatic Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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