Breakdown rates and macroinvertebrate colonisation of alder (Alnus glutinosa) leaves in an acid lake (Lake Orta, N Italy), before, during and after a liming intervention

Submitted: 9 December 2011
Accepted: 9 December 2011
Published: 1 February 2001
Abstract Views: 1791
PDF: 517
Publisher's note
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.


To test the effectiveness of the liming intervention on Lake Orta, the speed of leaves decay and of colonisation processes by macrobenthonic fauna were studied on alder leaves (Alnus glutinosa) placed on the bottom of the lake and recovered after appropriate time intervals. Experiments were performed at two sites (North and South) and two depths (-3 and –18 m), during three successive winters: 1988-1989 (pre-liming), 1989-1990 (liming), 1990-1991 (post-liming). Two main results emerged: 1) alder leaves, which are known to have a medium to high decaying speed in a number of aquatic environments, behave in Lake Orta as a low speed species. Decaying processes in the three years are significantly different only in station N3, where the mean breakdown rate in 1988- 1989 is more than twice that measured in the two subsequent winters. 2) The species richness of colonising benthic fauna is low: the community is made up almost exclusively of Chironomidae, which form 70 to 100% of the whole population; among them, the genus Phenopsectra is always present, while Tanytarsus was collected only during the first year and in the less deep sampling sites. The mean population abundances were higher before liming.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.


How to Cite

SALMOIRAGHI, Gianpaolo, Bruna GUMIERO, Andrea PASTERIS, Susanna PRATO, Carla BONACINA, and Giuliano BONOMI. 2001. “Breakdown Rates and Macroinvertebrate Colonisation of Alder (Alnus Glutinosa) Leaves in an Acid Lake (Lake Orta, N Italy), Before, During and After a Liming Intervention”. Journal of Limnology 60 (1):127-33.