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Phosphorus-leaching from litterfall in wetland catchments of the Swan Coastal Plain, southwestern Australia

Qiu, S., McComb, A.J. and Bell, R.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-7756-3755 (2002) Phosphorus-leaching from litterfall in wetland catchments of the Swan Coastal Plain, southwestern Australia. Hydrobiologia, 472 (1/3). pp. 95-105.

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Many wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain in southwestern Australia have catchments with significant areas of
native vegetation. The dynamics of P release from their litter and its significance as a P source for wetlands have
not been previously investigated. Litterfall of common plant species were collected before the local rainy season,
and examined for P leaching properties under inundated conditions. Inundation of ‘intact’ litter materials for 24
hours leached 30±7.5% (95% confidence level) of this Tot-P in litter, measured by anion exchange membrane extraction. This increased to 46.9% of ‘apparent’ P release at 115 days. The released P was incorporated into microbial biomass during leaching so modifying leachate concentrations. Using liquid chloroform ‘fumigation’ it was estimated that 36.2 ± 15.6% (95% confidence level) of Tot-P leached during the 115-day inundation was in the microbial biomass pool, not directly measured by AEM extraction. P leaching during initial and prolonged inundation correlated with litter Ca, Mg and total base concentration, but the initial Tot-P concentration of litter was the best predictor for P leaching, in both short-term and prolonged inundation (R2 = 0.80 and 0.93, p < 0.0001). The high P leaching rate during 24 hours suggested that P from litter during ‘first storm’ events could produce a significant P flux from local catchments and contribute nutrients to downstream wetlands.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright: 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers
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