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  • 1
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Key words Desertification ; Desert grassland ; Grazing ; Herbicides ; Indicators
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract  We studied soil microarthropod communities along livestock grazing disturbance gradients, inside and outside grazing exclosures, and on areas subjected to restoration efforts (herbicide and bulldozing) in order to test the suitability of mites as indicators of rangeland soil quality. We found that mite numbers generally increased with decreased grazing disturbance. Soil microarthropods appeared to respond to a complex of factors including soil compaction, depth to an impervious soil layer, below-ground vegetative biomass, and residual effects of herbicide. All of our study plots, except those that had been herbicide treated, were dominated by microbivorous mites of the family Nanorchestidae. The numerical responses of mites, especially nanorchestids, appeared to provide a sensitive indicator of ecosystem health in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland.
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  • 2
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Key words Desert ; Drought ; Larrea tridentata ; Soil microarthropods ; Prosopis glandulosa
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract  Soil microarthropods were sampled in plots centered on creosotebushes (Larrea tridentata) and in plots centered on mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) coppice dunes. Nine plots in each area were covered by rain-out shelters with greenhouse plastic roofs which excluded natural rainfall and nine plots received natural rainfall. There were differences in the abundance of several mite taxa in soils from the mesquite coppice dune plots. Some taxa (Stigmaeidae, Nanorchestidae, and Entomobryidae) occurred in significantly lower numbers in the soils of the drought plots. Other taxa (Tarsonemidae and Cunaxidae) were more abundant in the drought plots in the mesquite coppice dunes. There were no significant differences in the abundance of any of the dominant taxa of soil microarthropods in the drought and control plots centered on creosotebush. In the creosotebush habitat, there were significantly fewer Prostigmata in the plots exposed to drought. In an area with both creosotebush and mesquite, there were no significant differences in microarthropod population responses to drought and in recovery from drought. The differences in responses of soil microarthropods to drought in creosotebush and mesquite habitats are attributed to the differences in soil stability, litter accumulations, and microclimate associated with the shrubs.
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  • 3
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Prosopis glandulosa ; Rhizosphere ; Mites ; Collembolans ; Chihuahuan Desert
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary The rhizosphere microarthropod fauna of a woody, deep-rooted legume, Prosopis glandulosa, was sampled at four sites in the northern Chihuahuan Desert and compared with the rhizosphere microarthropod fauna of a co-dominant shrub, Larrea tridentata. Prostigmatid mites (Speleorchestes sp.,Neognathus sp., Rhagidia sp., Tydaeolus sp., Steneotarsonemus sp., Tarsonemus sp., Nanorchestes sp., Gordialycus sp.), the cryptostigmatid mites (Bankisonoma ovata and Passalozetes neomexicanus), the mesostigmatid (Protogamasellus mica), and the collembolan (Brachystomella arida) characterized the fauna at depths greater than 1 m. Microarthropods were recovered from soils at a depth of 13 m at the edge of a dry lake and at depths of 7 m in a dry wash which were pre-European man P. glandulosa habitats. In habitats where P. glandulosa is a recent invader, root depth and microarthropods were less than 3 m. In most habitats, population densites of microarthropods at depths 0.5 m were more than 100 times those at depths ≫ 0.5 m. Population densities of microarthropods associated with P. glandulosa growing at the edge of a dry wash were not significantly smaller at 0.5−1.0 m depth than at 0−0.5 m. The deep-rhizosphere microarthropod fauna is a reduced subset of the fauna of surficial soils, suggesting that this fauna plays a role in decomposition and mineralization processes functionally similar to that of microarthropods in surficial soils.
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  • 4
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Microcosms ; Microflora ; Nematodes ; Soil-litter respiration ; Soil Nitrogen
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary The effect of two pesticides, oxamyl and chlordane, on nontarget soil biota were examined in microcosms. Neither oxamyl nor chlordane had an effect on rates of litter decomposition or soil and litter respiration. There were differences in numbers of nematodes and protozoans and in biomass of bacteria and fungi in microcosms with and without chlordane on some sampling dates. One of the nematodes, Pelodera sp., died out in all of the microcosms within 30 days. Although the pesticide chlordane had no measurable effect on the activities of the soil biota as measured by respiration and mass loss, it did affect the population sizes and biomass of some grazers of soil biota.
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  • 5
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Autocorrelation ; Chihuahuan Desert ; Keystone species ; Soil organic matter ; Spatial analysis Subterranean termites ; Watershed
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract Soil organic matter and the abundance of subterranean termites were measured at 89 locations spaced at 30-m intervals from the bottom to the top of a small desert watershed. There was no correlation between soil organic matter content and topographic position on the watershed. Analysis by autocorrelogram demonstrated that the soil organic matter content was randomly distributed on the watershed. There was a highly significant negative correlation between termite abundance and soil organic matter, r=−0.97. Soils characterized by horizon in soil pits within each vegetation type (soil type) showed some relationships to erosion-deposition areas on the watershed, with surface organic matter contents varying between 3.4% in the playa basin where termites were absent to 0.4% in a sparse shrubland on erosional soils. In the northern Chihuahuan Desert, subterranean termites appear to be responsible for most of the variation in soil organic matter.
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  • 6
    ISSN: 1420-9098
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology
    Description / Table of Contents: Resume Novomessor albisetosus etNovomessor cockerelli ont une activité de récolte plus importante le soir et le matin à la surface du sol, à des températures entre 20° et 40°. Elles ne sont actives ni à midi ni au milieu de la nuit. Les sociétés des deux espèces que nous avons nourries en graines ont augmenté leur activité de récolte. Les colonies deN. cockerelli auxquelles nous avons fourni de la nourriture riche en protéines (du thon) ont prolongé leur temps de récolte et sont restées actives jusqu'à ce que la température du sol atteigne des valeurs mortelles. Presque la moitié de la récolte deN. cockerelli était constituée d'insectes ou de fragments d'insectes, alors que la récolte deN. albisetosus n'en comportait que 6,6%. Environ 10% des ouvrières deN. cockerelli entrèrent et furent apparemment acceptées dans d'autres sociétés que la leur. Cette étude montre que la qualité de la nourriture disponible joue un rôle déterminant dans l'activité de récolte des FourmisNovomessor.
    Notes: Summary Novomessor albisetosus andN. cockerelli foraged most intensively in the evening and morning at soil surface temperatures between 20°C and 40°C. They were not active in the middle of the night and mid-day. In both species, colonies provided with supplementary seeds increased their foraging intensity.N. cockerelli colonies which we provided with high protein food (tuna fish) extended their foraging time and remained active until soil surface temperatures reached lethal levels. Nearly half of the natural forage ofN. cockerelli was insects or insect parts which accounted for only 6.6% of the forage ofN. albisetosus. Approximately 10% of the workers ofN. cockerelli entered and were apparently accepted by colonies other then their “home” conoly. This study demonstrates the importance of both forage availability and forage quality as determinants of activity and forage selection ofNovomessor sp.
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  • 7
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Desertification ; Prosopis glandulosa ; Soil properties ; Mites ; Collembolans ; Nematodes ; Nitrogen mineralization ; Chihuanhuan desert
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary The woody legume, mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) has expanded from its historical habitats (playas and arroyos) to recently occupied grassland and dune habitats during the desertification of perennial grasslands in the Chihuahuan Desert. We studied historical and recently occupied sites, having hypothesized that the trophic structure and population density of soil microarthropods and nematodes associated with the surface root system of mesquite would differ in sites representing historical and recent habitats, and that the N mineralization potential would be lower in the recent habitats. Our results showed that net N mineralization potential did not differ significantly among the sites, even though soil nutrient concentrations and texture varied widely. Concentrations of organic C, N, and P were lowest in the recent dune habitat and highest at the playa. Very low concentrations of P in the dune and grassland soils implicated P as a limiting factor in these systems. The bacterial-feeding and omnivore-predator functional groups made up the largest fraction of the nematode community at most of the sites. The high density of plant-feeding nematodes at the playa indicated that herbivory is potentially most important at this site. Total microarthropod densities did not vary significantly among habitats, with Collembola densities highest in the mesquite dunes. Grazers were the dominant microarthropod functional group. While both C and N pool sizes were higher in the historical habitats, a higher substrate lability in the recent habitats appeared to support biota populations and N mineralization rates equivalent to those in the playa and arroyo. Differences in soil properties and biota among historical and recent mesquite habitats may be important for understanding the changes that have occurred in Chihuahuan Desert ecosystems during desertification.
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  • 8
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Decomposition ; Mine spoil reclamation ; Bacteria ; Fungi ; Protozoans ; Nematodes ; Microarthropods ; Nitrogen immobilization
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary We compared soil biota and buried wheat straw decomposition on sites subject to topsoiling plus straw mulch reclamation procedures 1–4 years prior to our study and on an unmined site. Rates of straw decomposition were highest on the unmined site. Decomposition rates were higher on the 1- and 2-year-old sites than on the 3- and 4-year-old reclaimed spoil. Microarthropod population densities and number of taxa were greater from decomposing straw on the unmined site and lowest from straw on the 1- and 2-year-old areas. Soil bacteria, fungi, and protozoan populations on buried straw on the oldest reclaimed sites were generally equal to those on the unmined area. Nematode populations on buried straw in the unmined site and 1- and 2-year-old reclaimed sites were similar. Populations of denitrifying bacteria were larger on recently reclaimed sites than on 3- and 4-year-old sites. Decomposition and nitrogen mineralization varied as a function of the diversity and abundance of soil microarthropods. Soil microfauna can serve as an index of soil development in a disturbed arid soil.
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  • 9
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Key words Decomposition ; Chihuahuan Desert ; Lignin ; Mass loss ; Nitrogen immobilization
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Abstract We studied the spatial and temporal patterns of decomposition of roots of a desert sub-shrub, a herbaceous annual, and four species of perennial grasses at several locations on nitrogen fertilized and unfertilized transects on a Chihuahuan Desert watershed for 3.5 years. There were few significant differences between the decomposition rates of roots on the NH4NO3 fertilized and unfertilized transects. Decomposition of all roots followed a two-phase pattern: early rapid mass loss followed by a long period of low mass loss. Rates of decomposition were negatively correlated with the initial lignin content of the roots (r=0.90). Mass loss rates of the roots of the herbaceous annual, Baileya multiradiata, were significantly higher than those of the grasses and the shrub, probably as a result of subterranean termites feeding on B. multiradiata root material. The only location where mass loss rates were significantly different was the dry lake bed, where mass loss rates were lower than those recorded on the upper watershed. The spatial differences in mass loss rates in the dry lake were attributable to the high clay content of the soils, which reduced water availability, and to the absence of termites. Non-polar substances in decomposing roots decreased rapidly during the first year, then decreased at a low but fairly constant rate. Water-soluble compounds decreased rapidly (50–60% of initial concentration) during the first 3–6 months. Lignin concentrations of roots of perennial grasses were higher than those of herbaceous annual plants and woody shrubs. Lignin concentrations increased in all species during decomposition. The chemical changes in decomposing roots followed the patterns described for decomposing litter in mesic environments.
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  • 10
    ISSN: 1432-0789
    Keywords: Nematode community ; Chihuahan desert ; Irrigation ; Nematode extraction ; Anhydrobiosis
    Source: Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Notes: Summary The nematode community in litter and soil was examined for a year in the Chihuahuan desert, before and after supplemental rainfall application. Proportions of nematode-active or anhydrobiotic forms and population densities were determined for 3 treatments: control (natural rainfall), a single, large (25-mm) monthly irrigation pulse, and 4 smaller (6-mm) irrigations spaced at weekly intervals. In litter the greatest nematode abundance was in the 6 mm week−1 treatment (48 nematodes 20 g−1 litter). Bacteriovores and fungivores accounted for approximately 95% of the numbers and biomass in all treatments. In soil, water amendments had no significant effect (P 〈 0.05) on annual mean densities of total nematodes, fungivores, bacterivores, or omnivore predators. Phytophage densities were greater on both irrigation treatments, with highest densities (9268 m−2) in the 6 mm week−1 soils, which was 5.9% of the total soil nematode density. Total densities of individual trophic groups were not significantly different before or after rainfall. Soil nematode densities fluctuated independently with trophic group, month, and season. Bacterial feeders and omnivore predators were the largest contributor to total soil nematode density and biomass. Prior to irrigation, there were no differences in the percentage of anhydrobiotes on the three treatments. Anhydrobiotes decreased after irrigation in all treatments, and were significantly lower in soils of the larger, monthly irrigation. Nematodes were inactive (anhydrobiotic) and decoupled from decomposition processes when soil water matric potentials reached −0.4 MPa.
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