SREL Reprint #0100




The Recolonization of Gamma-irradiated Soil of Small Arthropods

A Preliminary Study


David C. Coleman and Amyan Macfadyen




In a preliminary study of the ecology of a litter-soil ecosystem, we followed two lines of inquiry:  1) the recolonization of sterilized, fungalinoculated cores of litter and soil by certain species of microarthropods (assessed by extraction in a modified Tullgren apparatus); 2) the total metabolic activity, or respiration, of the cores, as measured by a field Conway diffusion apparatus.

The litter-soil cores were sterilized in two devices, a “cold 60Co source, and a fuel pond.  Relative successes of sterilization are reported.

Soil microarthropods recolonized gamma-irradiated, inoculated samples in some cases in patterns varying with different species of fungi.  Respiration of cores after irradiation was at first lower than, and subsequently higher than, that of unirradiated control cores for a month afterward.  The methods and results of this short-term investigation are offered as tools of possible use in more detailed studies of the litter-soil ecosystem.

SREL Reprint #0100

Coleman, D.C. and A. MacFadyen. 1966. The recolonization of gamma irradiated soil by small arthropods: a preliminary study. Oikos 17:62-70.

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