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Received October 08, 2003,Revised November 20, 2003, Accepted , Available online

Volume 16,2004,Pages 847-850

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The fate of the litter of dominant vegetation(willows and 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 stays within the estuary. In this paper, the time the leaf litter(Salix triandra and Phragmites australis) stayed in the Schelde estuary was studied by using plant pigment as biomarkers with HPLC application. After analyzing the original data from the incubation experiment described by Dubuison and Geers(1999), the decomposition dynamics patterns of pigments were analyzed and described, and these decomposition dynamics patterns were used as calibration patterns. 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 stayed in the water. Combining data of DW and POC, more precise timing can be obtained.

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