Date of Award

Fall 1980

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Frank P. Day, Jr.

Committee Member

Gerald F. Levy

Committee Member

Kneeland Nesius

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 G65


Litter production was studied in four plant communities in the Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia, that differ primarily in species composition and flooding regime. Greatest leaf deposition occurred in the more flooded communities, maple-gum (Acer-Nyssa) with 536 g m-2 yr-1 and cypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Richard) with 528 g m-2 yr-1, followed by the cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) BSP) and mixed hardwood (Quercus-Acer-Nyssa-Liquidambar) communities with 506 g m-2 yr-1 and 455 g m-2 yr-1, respectively. Litter nutrient concentrations were generally higher in the cypress and maple-gum stands, indicating greater nutrient availability and uptake than in the two less flooded and more acidic stands. Higher leaf fall rates and litter nutrient concentrations resulted in greater nutrient deposition in the cypress and maple-gum communities. Relative abundance of elements differed between the two more flooded and the two less flooded stands. Deposition of tree boles and large branches, nutrient concentrations and nutrient deposition in the macrolitter was also investigated in three of the communities.


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