Decomposition and Nutrient Cycling in Rostkovia magellanica from Two Contrasting Bogs on South Georgia

  • G. J. Lawson
Conference paper


The chemical composition of Rostkovia magellanica tillers was contrasted between a eutrophic seepage slope-mire and a mesotrophic basin-bog. Tillers in the slope-mire have higher concentrations of Ca (+214%), K (+17%), N (+13%) and Fe (+6%) but lower concentrations of Na (−22%), Mg (−54%) and Mn (−24%) than those in the basin-bog. These differences generally reflect the higher levels of exchangeable nutrients and pH in peat from the seepage-slope. Five elements are removed from senescing leaves (in the order K > P > N > Na > Mg), whereas 3 are accumulated (Fe > Ca > Mn). At both sites, initially rapid loss of weight of litterbag content was halted over winter. Weight loss in the second summer was much faster on the seepage-slope. The content of mobile elements (K, P, N, Na) decreased considerably overall through leaching and decomposition, but N and P contents increased during the second summer at the slope and bog sites, respectively, and this may represent fungal activity. Litterbags composed of different age classeś of leaves remained chemically distinct from each other (with the exception of K) during the 15-month trial.


Plant Fraction Moss Surface Initial Nutrient Concentration Pine Needle Litter Lycopodium Annotinum 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. J. Lawson
    • 1
  1. 1.Merlwood Research StationInstitute of Terrestrial EcologyGrange-over-Sands, CumbriaUK

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