|Title||The importance of crayfish in the breakdown of rhododendron leaf litter.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2001|
|Authors||Schofield, KA, Pringle, CM, Meyer, JL, Sutherland, AB|
Our objective was to assess whether macroconsumers [primarily crayfish (Cambarus bartonii)] influence rhododendron leaf breakdown in a forested southern Appalachian stream in both summer (when leaves other than rhododendron are relatively scarce) and autumn (when other leaves are relatively abundant). We conducted two leaf decay experiments, one in summer and one in autumn, using pre-conditioned leaves. Macroconsumers were excluded from the benthos of a fourth-order stream using electric 'fences'; we predicted that excluding macroconsumers would reduce the decay rate of rhododendron leaves in both summer and autumn.