Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Dr. Zoë Lindo

Abstract

Soil fauna are an integral component of terrestrial ecosystem function. The effects of global environmental change on soil biodiversity are poorly studied, particularly interactions among temperature, atmospheric CO2, precipitation intensity, and nutrient loading. Body size distributions can be used to quantify soil community responses to perturbation and consequences for ecosystem function. I quantified top-down and bottom-up effects of environmental change on the abundance, richness, and size distribution of the soil microarthropod group Collembola. I demonstrated negative effects in a lab experiment of increased precipitation on collembolan density and richness across all size groups. I demonstrated positive effects in a field experiment of N addition on collembolan richness, and a positive effect of C addition on evenness. These findings demonstrate that precipitation can act as a disturbance to soil communities, as well as the importance of bottom-up control in soils, and the responsiveness of body size distributions to environmental change.


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