, Volume 539, Issue 1, pp 93–98 | Cite as

Processing of leaf matter by lake-dwelling shredders at low oxygen concentrations

  • Ulf Bjelke
Primary Research Paper


Organic sediments in freshwaters are regularly subject to low concentrations of oxygen. The ability of detritivores to sustain their feeding in such conditions should therefore be of importance for the decomposition process. In the present study, aquaria were used to determine processing rates of five lake-dwelling shredders at three different oxygen concentrations; normoxic (9 mg O2 l−1) and two levels of hypoxia (1 and 2 mg O2 l−1). Discs of alder leaves (Alnus glutinosa (L.)) were used as food. Four species of caddisfly larvae (Trichoptera Limnephilidae) and the isopod, Asellus aquaticus (L.) were compared in the experiments. Significant differences in processing rates per g animal biomass were found both at normoxia and 2 mg oxygen l−1. At l mg O2 l−1 none of the invertebrates fed on leaf discs. The caddisfly larvae Halesus radiatus (Curtis), being one of the two most efficient shredders at normoxia, did not feed at 2 mg oxygen l−1. The other species fed at rates 15–50 of that at normoxia. The least efficient shredder at normoxia, A. aquaticus was similar to two of the trichopterans at 2 mg O2 l−1. This study shows that the importance of specific shredder species may shift in case of hypoxia. Species-specific traits regarding oxygen sensitivity may also be influential for distribution patterns of shredder species both within and between lakes.


shredders decomposition hypoxia littoral Limnephilidae Asellus aquaticus 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freshwater Ecology Group, Dept. of Biology and Environmental ScienceUniversity of KalmarKalmarSweden

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