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Microbial and Microfaunal Community Dynamics in Artificial and Lumbricus terrestris (L.) Burrows

Summary: Microbial and Microfaunal Community Dynamics in Artificial
and Lumbricus terrestris (L.) Burrows
Mary C. Savin,* Josef H. Go¨rres, and Jose´ A. Amador
ABSTRACT fluorescens declined through gut passage of the lum-
bricid worm Octolasion cyaneum, increased significantlyMacropore formation and litter incorporation are two results of
2 d after excretion, and then declined to levels lowerearthworm [Lumbricus terrestris (L.)] activities that can influence
trophic dynamics inside burrows. Thus, mesocosms were constructed than before gut passage (Clegg et al., 1995). In general,
to examine changes in microbial biomass and microfaunal communi- regardless of changes in microbial biomass, microbial
ties inside artificial compared with earthworm burrows. Four treat- activity appears to increase in the presence of earth-
ments were established: (i) no worms (CTRL); (ii) unlined, artificial worms.
burrows (ARTF); (iii) corn (Zea mays L.) leaf litter-lined, artificial
Some studies have considered the ecological impact
burrows (LEAF); and (iv) Lumbricus terrestris (L.) burrows
of earthworms to be a direct consequence of grazing on
(WORM). There were no consistent differences in community struc-
microorganisms. For example, reduced microbial bio-tures between unlined, artificial burrows and control soils during a
mass N and increased inorganic N and respiration in16-wk incubation. In contrast, protozoan numbers were elevated
soil suggested that worms affect nutrient and microbialthroughout the experiment in LEAF and WORM. A succession of
dynamics by direct grazing of microbes (Bohlen andnematode abundances occurred in LEAF, with plant parasitic and
Tylenchid nematode numbers peaking at 5 wk, followed by high bact- Edwards, 1995; Zhang et al., 2000). Microbial activity


Source: Amador, José A. - Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island


Collections: Environmental Management and Restoration Technologies; Environmental Sciences and Ecology