The plant litter decomposition is one of the key factors in the study about ecosystems functioning, because it is intrinsically related to nutrients cycling and biogeochemistry cycles which affect the climate, the dynamic of soil organic matter content among other essential factors important to the plant community maintenance in terrestrials environment. The decomposition in tropical forest ecosystems is a complex process that can be induced by a number of environmental factors which can be different when compared to arid and semi- arid ecosystems. Actually, the study about abiotic factors as the solar radiation during plant litter decomposition in forest ecosystems has been poor investigated. The photodegradation is known as an abiotic process that occurs via photochemical mineralization of active compounds or by the formation of oxygen reactive species compounds as the result on solar radiation induction. The Atlantic Tropical Forest is located along the brazilian coast in different altitudinal gradients. The State Park of Serra do Mar of Sao Paulo (PESM), Santa Virgínia nucleus, covers a Rain Forest Montane which is part of the Atlantic Tropical Forest biome considered hotspot of biodiversity. In this way, this study aimed to carry out a research internship at the University of California campus Santa Barbara (UCSB) with Professor Jennifer King to give additional support on the data analyses of decomposition and litter quality obtained through the experiment installed in Brazil. It will be done correlations between treatments investigating possible causes of differences and determined the constant of decomposition (K). At the end of this internship is expected to obtain a more consistent discussion about the results of plant litter decomposition experiment in tropical forests.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: