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This content will become publicly available on March 1, 2017

Title: Soil Macroinvertebrate Communities Across a Productivity Gradient in Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America

We describe how, within the temperate, deciduous forests of the eastern US, diverse soil-fauna communities are structured by a combination of environmental gradients and interactions with other biota. The introduction of non-native soil taxa has altered communities and soil processes, and adds another degree of variability to these systems. We sampled soil macroinvertebrate abundance from forested sites in Missouri (MO), Michigan (MI), Massachusetts (MA), and New Hampshire (NH), with the objective of comparing community assemblages and evaluating the role of invasive earthworms along the temperature—productivity gradient represented by the sites. The primary detritivores encountered were earthworms and millipedes. Earthworms were collected only in MO and MI, and at much greater density in MO. Millipedes were found at every site except in MO, and at their highest mean density in NH. Warmer temperatures, higher litter productivity, and low Oa horizon depth (as found in MO) were correlated with high earthworm activity. Oa horizon depth was the greatest in NH, where the macroinvertebrate community was dominated (in terms of abundance) by predators and herbivores, not detritivores. Our results are suggestive of, and congruent with, the concept of earthworms as ecosystem engineers, as we found that the presence of non-native earthworm species wasmore » associated with significant differences in soil characteristics such as apparent rapid decomposition rates and reduced carbon storage in the Oa horizon.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. USDA Forest Service, Athens, GA (United States). Center for Forest Disturbance Science
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Northeastern Naturalist
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1092-6194
Eagle Hill Institute
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States