Riparian plant litter quality increases with latitude

In a global-scale study recently published in Scientific Reports, Luz Boyero (Ikerbasque Research Professor at UPV/EHU) and her colleagues show a latitudinal gradient in the quality of plant litter from riparian vegetation (the main energy source in most headwater streams), with poorer litter quality and greater phosphorus limitation towards the equator.

This is likely to negatively affect detritivore populations in tropical streams, where decomposition is hence mainly microbial, with repercussions for carbon dioxide emissions, as demonstrated by previous research by Boyero and her team.

Reference: Riparian plant litter quality increases with latitude; Boyero et al. 2017 Scientific Reports 7: 10562. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10640-3