The fate of the litter of dominant vegetation (willows & reeds) is one of the aspects studied in the frame of the project 'Onderzoek Milieu Effecten Sigmaplan'. One of the questions to be considered is how long the litter stay within the estuary . In this thesis, the time the leaf litter (Salix triandra and Phragmites australis) stayed in the Schelde estuary has been studied by using plant pigment as biomarkers with HPLC application. After analyzing the original data from the incubation experiment (Dubuison & Geers, 1999), the decomposition dynamics patterns of pigments were described, and this decomposition dynamics patterns were used as calibration pattern. By using Spearman Rank Order Correlation, the calibration patterns of the pigments which were significant (p<0.05) were grouped. In this way, several groups of the calibration patterns of pigment decomposition were achieved. The presence or absence of these groups of pigments (whether they can be detected or not from HPLC) was shown to be useful in determining the time the litter has been in the water. Combining data of DW and POC (Dubuison & Geers, 1999), more precise timing can be obtained. From an analysis of the consistency of the pigment information, it showed that the method is better usable for willow than for reed.
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