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Leaf litter and soil invertebrates

By Tanya Matlaga1, Emily Mausteller2

1. Susquehanna University 2. Marshall University

The diversity of invertebrates occupying the leaf litter and organic layer of soil can be quantified to examine abiotic and biotic questions. This lab can be used as a starting point for a long-term study or short-term activity to study...

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group SPARCnet: Educational Resources

Version 1.0 - published on 05 Dec 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4VB29 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms



This lab was designed to be utilized within the context of the Salamander Population Adaptation and Research Collaboration Network (SPARCnet) to better understand how food sources of the red-backed salamander change with a simulated impact of climate warming, reduced snowpack, in the northeastern United States. Our goal was to determine whether leaf litter and soil invertebrate diversity differs between control and treatment (snow removal) SPARCnet plots. We collected leaf litter and soil samples from each plot and extracted invertebrates using Berlese funnels. We quantified the invertebrates and identified them to class level, allowing us to compare measures of abundance and diversity between control and treatment plots. This lab can be used as is, if appropriate to your plot design, or modified to fit the goals of other SPARCnet locations or undergraduate lab classes. Suggestions are provided in the teacher notes. 


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