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The impact of Collembola on humification and mineralization of soil organic matter

The impact of Collembola on humification and mineralization of soil organic matter

Pedobiologia, 311-2: 103-111

The inorganic nitrogen content in soil to a depth of 120 cm and in drainage water together with the population density of springtails in the cultivated layer were determined from October 1983 to June 1984 on two arable fields that were left fallow during the winter after ploughing; the preceeding crops had been winter wheat in one field and a 3-year clover-grass ley in the other.In the winter wheat field, in October, soil organic matter had a high C:N ratio together with a large amount of inorganic nitrogen (as nitrate and ammonium). This nitrogen was partly leached during winter and was partly immobilized in the carbon-rich wheat stubble. In October and November mainly Tullbergia krausbaueri s. l. and Isotoma notabilis were found in this field, whereas in June Neelus minimus and I. notabilis were predominant.In the clover-grass ley, in October, soil organic matter had a low C:N ratio. The amount of mineralized inorganic nitrogen increased from October to June. In the autumn T. krausbaueri was dominant, but it decreased during the winter. I. notabilis and C. gisini increased in population density in the spring.From these observations, and from the literature, it was concluded that the larger springtails (I. notabilis and C. gisini) stimulate mineralization processes by selective feeding on fungi. Smaller springtails (T. krausbaueri and N. minimus) contribute to humification by non-selective scavenging and mixing of organic material and mineral soil particles.

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