Soil microarthropod community responses to climate change
Principal Investigator: Turnbull, Matthew S (1)
Licence Number: 15197
Organization: University of Western Ontario
Licenced Year(s): 2013
Issued: Feb 01, 2013

Objective(s): To assess the diversity of species and functional traits of microarthropods in the Canadian Arctic.

Project Description: The goal of the principal investigator is to assess the diversity of species and functional traits of microarthropods in the Canadian arctic. The Canada Tundra Ecosystem Carbon Study (CTECS) was selected as a research site because there have been running temperature, moisture, and nutrient addition treatments since 2004 with the goal of simulating climate change and predicting its effects on plant communities. This research will help provide mechanisms for changes seen in these treatments and improve predictions of the effects of climate change on arctic ecosystems.

A soil core auger will be used to collect samples from the CTECS temperature, moisture, and nutrient addition treatments, as well as control plots. These will be small, no more than 5cm in diameter. A Tullgren funnel will then be used to extract microarthropods from these soil samples (a device that shines a light on a soil sample, causing its inhabitants to crawl downwards into a collection vial). Once these microarthropods are collected the research team will use a combination of taxonomic keys, expert advice, and the principal investigators own taxonomic expertise to identify the contained microarthropods to the species level. The data will be analyzed to search for differences in diversity and trait distribution and calculate the relative strength and effect of predicted future temperature, moisture, and nutrient levels on these values.

The principal investigator studies microarthropods, which have a significant influence on nutrient cycles, soil formation/maintenance, decomposition, and plant diversity. They are therefore a key group in the ongoing function of all terrestrial ecosystems, affecting all levels from bacteria to mammal populations. Understanding how they will respond to climate change is important for preserving diversity and life in the Canadian arctic.

As part of the application to the Northern Science Training Program the principal investigator will be providing a report on the results, which would also be gladly provided to any interested parties in the Daring Lake area. The principal investigator plans to publish the results of this research in scientific journals and would also be happy to provide any resulting articles to interested groups.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from March 13, 2013 to March 30, 2013.