Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Biological Sciences


Sediment accretion in wetlands represents a significant carbon burial pathway. While litter studies can quantify the loss rates of plant leaf material, those studies do not provide insight into the specific cell wall polymers being retained or lost within the detrital matrix. The Everglades ecosystem has been dramatically altered due to anthropogenic eutrophication and hydrologic modifications. The results are changes in macrophyte species composition and sediment accretion- and loss- rates. To improve ecological conditions, active management strategies are re-establishing open water slough environments. A question remains about the persistence of new- and old- plant cell wall material in sediments because of active management. In this pilot project we utilized immuno-fluorescence labeling with lectins applied to plant leaf material and detrital flocculent collected from created open and control plots in the Everglades to observe the presence, absence, and overlap of specific cell wall polymers between macrophytes and detrital flocculent in increasingly recalcitrant materials that would most likely contribute to peat accumulation. The persistence and loss of specific polymers between treatment and control plots provided insight into the differing levels of recalcitrance amongst plant cell walls and their relative potential as a carbon sink. This study provides a novel method for testing for the presence and persistence of specific cell wall polymers in detritus to gain a better understanding of plant material persistence in wetland ecosystems.

Publisher's Statement

© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title



Publisher's PDF



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.