Leaves collected at 4 stations in the upper 5 km of Doe Run, Meade County, Kentucky, indicated an annual accumulation within the stream of 354 g/m2/year (17,700 kg). Leaves of sycamore (23.6%), red oak (21.7%), sugar maple (9.7%), beech (9.6%), white oak (7.1%), and hickory (6.0%) trees were most abundant, and leaves from 14 other kinds made up the remaining 22.3%. About a third of the annual leaf fall occurred during the last half of October and about two-thirds in the last 3 months of the year.
Calorific equivalents for different kinds of leaves ranged from 3,789 cal/g dry weight for hickory to 4,417 cal/g for red oak. It is estimated that allochthonous leaf material made an annual contribution of about 70 million kcal of energy to the upper 5 km of Doe Run.
Protein, carbohydrate, and lipid contents of leaves varied independently of seasons with average values of about 52, 79, and 32 mg/g dry weight, respectively. In leaves submersed in the stream experimentally, carbohydrates leached rapidly, lipids leached slowly, and there was an apparent increase in protein content.
Indigenous amphipods preferred hickory, red elm, sugar maple, beech, red oak, and sycamore leaves as food in that order.
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The work on which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the Office of Water Resources Research, United States Department o.f the Interior, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.
Krumholz, Louis A.; Lambert, Roger G.; Liston, Charles R.; and Woodward, Harry H., "Degradation of Riparian Leaves and the Recycling of Nutrients in a Stream Ecosystem" (1972). KWRRI Research Reports. 138.