18 Lec 18 Soil Fauna - Soil Fauna I. Classification II....

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I. Classification II. Groups of soil fauna 1. Macrofauna: earthworms 2. Mesofauna: collembolans and nematodes 3. Microfauna: protozoa III. Effects of soil fauna on soil and soil microorganisms 1. Grazing 2. Fragmentation of soil organic matter 3. Improved soil quality and fertility a) Nutrient cycling b) Habitat engineering 4. Transport of microorganisms Reading : Textbook: Sylvia et al., 2004. Chapter 8, pages 181-200. Soil Fauna Soil Fauna
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Soil fauna Eukaryotes Aerobes Chemoheterotrophs Motile Have direct and indirect effects on soil microorganisms - Microbial predation - Soil structure - OM decomposition Invertebrates that spend a significant portion of their life within the soil profile or at the soil-litter interface
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Protozoa μ m Nematodes μ m-mm Earthworms cm-m Microarthropods (mites and collembolans) mm mm cm body width
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nematode mite protozoan (ciliate) Microfauna in: - micropores + mesopores - water-filled pores Mesofauna in: - macropores - air-filled pores (mainly) Macrofauna : - too big to fit in existing pores - ecosystem engineers Soil fauna
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Macrofauna From Coyne, Soil microbiology increasing size decreasing number
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Earthworms 4500-8000 species Oligochaetes, annelids Few cm - 1 m in length; 2-20 mm in diameter Megascolides australis has an entry in the Guinness World Records at 3 m long
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Earthworms Active only if water is present Less abundant in disturbed environments <10/m 2 in agricultural soils to >700/m 2 in forest soils Summer-Autumn Winter-Spring Group NT CT NT CT Biomass (kg C ha -1 ) Fungi 788 740 711 690 Bacteria 751 1053 816 968 Protozoa 33 52 14 26 Nematodes 1 2 1 2 Microarthropods 2 1 1 0 See table 8-2 from textbook
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They eat plant debris, SOM and microorganisms Ecological types Epigeic
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18 Lec 18 Soil Fauna - Soil Fauna I. Classification II....

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