Project Title

Influence of Chinese Privet on Riparian Soil Decomposition

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Matthew Weand

No approval required

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.) is a non-native, woody shrub from China that was introduced to the United States in 1852, and now dominates many riparian zones in the southeast. This study tests the hypothesis that Chinese privet alters decomposition and carbon cycling in riparian zones, using a soil incubation experiment. Samples of native riparian soils were placed in vertical PVC columns with either native or privet litter on top. Columns were incubated in a greenhouse in the dark, with soils gravimetrically maintained at 70% water-holding capacity. Over several weeks an infra-red gas analyzer was used to measure soil respiration (carbon dioxide [CO2] efflux produced through microbial decomposition of the soil and litter). We also periodically sacrificed columns to measure mass loss of the litter layer. While this experiment is on-going, we expect privet litter to have a stimulatory effect on decomposition, resulting in greater CO2 efflux compared to native litter. Alterations to decomposition patterns in invaded riparian zones are important because these changes can affect the dissolved organic matter and other nutrients that arrive in adjacent aquatic systems.

Project Type

Poster

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Influence of Chinese Privet on Riparian Soil Decomposition

Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense Lour.) is a non-native, woody shrub from China that was introduced to the United States in 1852, and now dominates many riparian zones in the southeast. This study tests the hypothesis that Chinese privet alters decomposition and carbon cycling in riparian zones, using a soil incubation experiment. Samples of native riparian soils were placed in vertical PVC columns with either native or privet litter on top. Columns were incubated in a greenhouse in the dark, with soils gravimetrically maintained at 70% water-holding capacity. Over several weeks an infra-red gas analyzer was used to measure soil respiration (carbon dioxide [CO2] efflux produced through microbial decomposition of the soil and litter). We also periodically sacrificed columns to measure mass loss of the litter layer. While this experiment is on-going, we expect privet litter to have a stimulatory effect on decomposition, resulting in greater CO2 efflux compared to native litter. Alterations to decomposition patterns in invaded riparian zones are important because these changes can affect the dissolved organic matter and other nutrients that arrive in adjacent aquatic systems.