Biology and Fertility of Soils, 1999. Paper abstract bibtex
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 mesquire, 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.