Leaf litter input from riparian landscapes has been identified as both a major energy flow to stream ecosystems and as a food source for stream macroinvertebrates. In this study the benthic macroinvertebrate community was used to evaluate the decomposition of organic matter in river systems. The aim of this work was to study the decomposition of organic matter using the benthic macroinvertebrate colonization. The research was developed over five months (January 2011 to May 2011) in four different sites, distributed along the River Ferreira terminal area, northern Portugal. A litter bag experiment was used to examine the role of macroinvertebrate communities in the processing of organic material on the river. Litter bags were placed in the water and collected every 7, 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days. In litter bags was observed a high abundance of Oligochaeta and Chironomidae, which are characterized by being detritivorous-herbivores and filtering collectors, respectively, indicating the benthic macroinvertebrate more involved on the decomposition of organic matter. These results contributed to increase current knowledge about benthic macroinvertebrate communities and may serve as incentive for future research works.
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