Decomposition of organic matter is a major ecosystem process involving an array of different organisms, including bacteria, fungi and invertebrates. The main objective of this book is to provide students and laboratory instructors at universities and professional ecologists with a broad range of established methods to study plant litter decomposition. Detailed protocols for direct use in the field or laboratory are presented in an easy to follow step-by-step format. A short introduction to each protocol reviews the ecological significance and principles of the technique and points to key references. Although most methods are described for freshwater ecosystems, many will work equally well in the presented or slightly modified form for studies in marine and terrestrial environments.