Date of Award

Spring 1986

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Frank P. Day, Jr.

Committee Member

Gerald Levy

Committee Member

James F. Matta

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 M43


Budgets and models of organic matter dynamics were developed for one mesic and three seasonally flooded plant communities in the Dismal Swamp. Components included aboveground parts, belowground parts, litter and soil organic matter (SOM).

Net primary- production was significantly greater on them flooded sites. Comparisons show that the Dismal Swamp is highly productive despite relatively low nutrient inputs.

Budget calculations showed that over 65% of the total input to SOM comes from roots. Leaves contributed about 70% of the aboveground inputs.

The model predicted that species composition, aboveground biomass and turnover rates on the cedar site will become quite similar to the maple-gum site. SOM decreased on the cedar and maple-gum sites but increased on the cypress site, converging at about 24,000 g m-2 .

Results showed that roots are the most dynamic and sensitive components of the system. The Dismal Swamp may be structurally and functionally more homogeneous by the next century.


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