All litter of plant species at all sites demonstrated an increase in C:N ratio as an outcome of both respiration and import/translocation by invading fungi. The decrease in C:N ratio with 4 months of decomposition was mesquite(NM) > bougainvillea(AZ) > Douglas-fir(OR) > red alder(OR) > grama grass(CO) > Cecropia(PR). This relative ranking was identical at the 5 different ecosystems, implying that microbial flora was not preadapted at any site for the dominant litter type therein. Ambient temperature was presumably the primary driver with Puerto Rico rain forest > Oregon rain forest > Colorado grassland > urban Arizona desert > Chihuahuan desert; each litter species followed this same pattern.
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