Project 3

Impacts of melaleuca invasion on soil ecosystems

In this project, we compared litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in melaleuca forests and in communities of native pine and sawgrass.

Studies of litter decomposition and nutrient cycling were initiated during 2003. Litter bags (12 x 12 cm) filled with approx. 20 g (dry wt) of freshly senescent dried plant litter of melaleuca, pine, or sawgrass were placed in the field at each of the vegetation types. These litter bags will be collected six times during the first year and two to four times during the second and third year. Molecular techniques are being developed to assess the soil biotic communities affecting litter decomposition and nutrient mineralization under different types of habitats in the Florida Everglades.

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