The Effects of Tree Species on Microbial Respiration and Leaf Breakdown in a Coastal Plain Blackwater Stream

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Biological Sciences


Dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the Little River, a tributary within the Suwannee River basin of southern Georgia, regularly drop below 1 mg L-1. A budget of coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) dynamics and the oxygen demand generated by associated microbial respiration is being developed for third- and fifth-order reaches of the Little River. Our CPOM budget will include riparian inputs, standing stocks of various CPOM pools (e.g. leaf litter, woody debris), breakdown, and transport and settling of CPOM and the fine particulate organic matter that results from its processing. For all pools of CPOM, microbial respiration rates are measured over time to assess the oxygen demand generated by these stocks of organic matter. Preliminary research indicates that among tree species, respiration rates of attached microbes differ significantly, and all CPOM inputs and standing stocks will be accordingly sub-divided by tree species in our final budget. Once developed, this budget may provide a reference for policy makers, and a better understanding of the ways biota affect and are affected by oxygen dynamics in coastal plain blackwater streams.

Publication Title

2007 Georgia Water Resources Conference