European Journal of Soil Biology, 2004. Paper abstract bibtex
We measured the area and volume of soil disturbed by various groups of animals at three sites on a topoclimatic gradient in the Judean Desert, Israel. Both the area and volume of soil disturbed by animals correlated with the cumulative precipitation of the winter rain season. Rodent activity accounted for most of the soil disturbance at all sites except for June 2001, when the volume of soil transported to the surface by ants in the construction of nest chambers accounted for most of the soil volume moved at the intermediate rainfall site. The aggregate stability of soil ejected from animal excavations was significantly lower than that of undisturbed soil during and immediately following the winter rain season, but not during the following dry seasons. The quantities of soil moved by ants in the Judean Desert were comparable to quantities moved by ants in the Chihuahuan Desert of North America.