From Sven Bohm on September 3rd, 2020
Microarthropods are the most abundant arthropods in agricultural soils and have the potential to strongly influence soil carbon dynamic. However, it remains unclear how management (i.e. tillage) and crop type influence their distribution throughout the soil profile and access SOM pools at depth. To address these questions, we will take deep soil cores within prairie strips and the outlying crop area at the LTER MCSE to see how microarthropod vertical distribution differs between annual tilled and perennial no-till systems. We hypothesize that microarthropod abundances will be greater under prairie strips both in the tillage zone and deeper soil layers and that these differences will become more pronounced with time. While this experiment has not yet begun, surveys conducted at the GLBRC’s BCSE provide evidence that microarthropod abundances are consistently higher in perennial cropping systems than annual systems, at least in surface soils, and that this result is largely driven by perennial systems favoring soil mites.