Descomposición de macrófitas en el arroyo Las Flores (Buenos Aires)
Palabras clave:macrófitas, descomposición, arroyos, Lemna gibba, Ceratophyllum demersum
The macrophytes contribute significantly to the autochthonous primary production of the streams of the Buenos Aires province. Their biomass is partly exported, mainly during floods, and partly incorporated to the detritus pathway of the water bodies. The aim of this study is to determine the losses in weight and nitrogen along the process of decomposition of Lemna gibba and Ceratophyllum demersum, two of the dominant species in the Las Flores stream. A total of 40 bags with 4 g (fresh weight) of L. gibba and 10 g of C. demersum were set in two sites of the stream. Periodically, 4 samples of each species were redrawn, and the dry weight and total nitrogen concentration were determined. Lemna gibba lost 50% of its weight in 4 days, from then on and until the end of the incubation period (50 days) the weight kept approximately constant, fitted to a Hill’s function with a maximum rate of 0.158 day-1. The weight of C. demersum was almost stable until day 44, and at the end of the following 42 days it was observed that it had lost 62% of its initial weight, with a constant rate of k = 0.0203 day-1. In L. gibba essay, nitrogen concentration lowered from 3.4% to 2.4% in the first 48 hours, thus representing a 52% loss of the total nitrogen content of the plant. For C. demersum, nitrogen concentration decayed from 4.1% until 3.2%; by the end of the sampling, the total nitrogen content had reduced to 33.5% of the initial value. The results indicate that, given the quickness of the decomposition and nutrient release, an important part of the production can be incorporated to the material cycles of the stream before the plants are washed downstream during floods.