Peat respiration and decomposition in Antarctic terrestrial moss communities

Oxygen uptake by the peat of two Antarctic bryophyte communities (a moss turf and a moss carpet) is converted to organic matter loss and used to derive the rate of decomposition. The decay rates obtained in this way are evaluated in two mathematical models which simulate the accumulation of dead organic matter (DOM) in the communities from the litter production and decomposition rate. Litter production, the extent of DOM accumulations at present on the sites and mean decomposition rates (i.e. fraction of standing crop lost per year) were 409 g m−2 year−1, 33.5 kg m−2 and 0.017 g g−1 year−1 in the moss turf and 392 g m−2 year−1, 29.6 kg m−2 and 0.010 g g−1 year−1 in the moss carpet respectively (all weights expressed as dry weight). Aerobic decomposition rate declined with depth in both communities. From the model's predictions it is suggested that the observed decay rate was too high in the moss turf and too low in the carpet. Possible reasons for this are discussed and suggestions made for future work.


Publication status:
Authors: Davis, R.C.

1 January, 1980
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society / 14
Link to published article: