Print version ISSN 0103-9016
MELO, Luiz Antonio Silveira and LIGO, Marco Antonio Vieira. Soil core sampling and use of litterbags to assess soil microarthropod population . Sci. agric. [online]. 1999, vol.56, n.3, pp. 523-528. ISSN 0103-9016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90161999000300003.
The patchy distribution of microarthropods in soils makes it difficult to obtain reliable population estimates by direct soil sampling. Searching for alternative collection methods, litterbags and soil cores were compared in terms of extraction, efficiency and representativeness. Both collection methods were tested in experimental plots of conventionally and organically grown tomato crops in Jaguariúna, SP, Brazil. Soil mite and springtail populations were assessed in three 20 x 10 m experimental plots for each cropping system, using either four soil core samples or two litterbags in each plot. A total of thirty mite and four springtail families were identified in the plots. When litterbags were the sampling method used, 88% of the families occurred in the organic and 70% in the conventional cropping system, whereas 53% of the families were common to both cropping systems when soil cores was the sampling method. A larger variety of specimens of both microarthropod groups were found in the organic cropping system, only when litterbags were utilized. The results suggest that it is possible to determine which cropping system is more damaging to the soil mesofauna, and that, using litterbags, bioindicators can be selected.
Keywords : Acari; bioindicator; Collembola; impact assessment; sampling; soil mesofauna; tomato.