Approach & Method – University of Copenhagen

TeaComposition > Method > Approach & Method

Approach & Method

The TeaComposition initiative uses the “Tea bag” method (Keuskamp et al., 2013). This is a simple, standardized, cheap and time-efficient method involving 2 types of tea: Rooibos tea (slow decomposition rate) and Green tea (fast decomposition rate).

In order to match global and long-term application within the TeaComposition initiative we modified the method published by Keuskamp at al. 2013 by standardizing the:

Incubation length: We aim to run the tea incubation over the period of 3 years with several sampling points in order to get data on the medium-to-long term litter decomposition rates. By running the experiment over years instead of months we overcome the problem with seasonality and timing, which can be an issue with short term incubations, and we believe that we get more robust values for the given site/ecosystem.

Incubation depth: tea is incubated at specific soil layer rather than at a certain soil depth, since the “required depth” can vary drastically from site to site and from ecosystem to ecosystem.

Start of the study: we aim to start the study at the same time of the year (start in northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere will be adjusted accordingly).

Tea supply: Teacomposition is critically dependend on the use of the same tea typ across all sites. See "Tea Supply"

Protocols: It is critical to follow the protocol very closely. You can download the exact protocol here.

See Video describing the installation

Install local litterbags - The method does not give the actual number for C-losses and decomposition rates, since the tea is not equivalent to the real local litter. However, simultaneous incubation of native litter in litterbags will allow to obtain local decomposition rates as well as improved comparison. Therefore, it would be of advantage installing the tea bags together whit local litter bags or using the sites for the installation with already existing data on native litter decomposition.

Hosted by University of Copenhagen