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Decomposition of organic matter is a major ecosystem process involving an array of different organisms, including bacteria, fungi and invertebrates. The main objective of this book is to provide students and laboratory instructors at universities and professional ecologists with a broad range of established methods to study plant litter decomposition. Detailed protocols for direct use in the field or laboratory are presented in an easy to follow step-by-step format. A short introduction to each protocol reviews the ecological significance and principles of the technique and points to key references. Although most methods are described for freshwater ecosystems, many will work equally well in the presented or slightly modified form for studies in marine and terrestrial environments.
From the contents:Preface.- Litter Dynamics.- Leaf Chemical and Physical Properties.- Microbial Decomposers.- Enzymatic Capabilities.- Detritivorous Consumers.- Data Analysis.
From the reviews: "This book is a laboratory manual detailing some of the available methods to study plant litter and its decomposition. ! The procedural descriptions are adequately detailed, and include comprehensive checklists of equipment, chemicals, and solutions. Example calculations are often provided. ! As a practical manual this is a useful volume ! . it is a well-produced course manual ! ." (Karl Ritz, Mycological Research, 2005)