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Microarthropods and juglone

Colleen Conway and Rachel Miller
Ecology class, BIO 342, Biology Department, DePauw University
Fall semester 2014

Juglone is a chemical produced and released by walnut trees.  Previous studies have shown that juglone reduces survival of microarthropods.  Flooding also affects microarthropods; soil mites are negatively affected by flooding, but springtails are more tolerant of flooding.  The goal of our project was to assess the effects of juglone and flooding on the abundance and diversity of microarthropods. 

We hypothesized that juglone and flooding would have a negative effect on the abundance and diversity of microarthropods.

We selected three types of sites (1) sites with abundant walnuts (juglone, abbreviated J), (2) paired control sites with no walnuts or flooding (abbreviated PC), and (3) sites in a flood zone (abbreviated FZ).  At each site, we collected leaf litter and the top layer of soil and detritus.  We dried and weighed the leaf litter and used Berlese funnels to extract microarthropods from the samples. 

Diversity of microarthropods was highest at PC (paired control) sites, moderate at J (juglone) sites, and lowest at FZ (flood zone) sites.  There was no difference in the abundance of microarthropods among the three types of sites.