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Journal of Environmental Biology

pISSN: 0254-8704 ; eISSN: 2394-0379 ; CODEN: JEBIDP

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        Abstract - Issue Apr Supplement 2007, 28 (2)                                                                                                             Back


Mesofaunal biodiversity and its importance in Thar desert

G. Tripathi*, R. Kumari and B.M. Sharma

Department of Zoology, J.N.V. University, Jodhpur-342 001, India

(Received: May 12, 2005 ; Revised received: November 15, 2005 ; Accepted: December 17, 2005)

Abstract: Soil animals are considered as important contributors to soil fertility. However, there is paucity of such information for harsh climatic conditions. Therefore, the below ground faunal density and frequency have been studied in relation to physicochemical properties of soil in Thar desert. The selected soil systems were Vigna radiata - Cuminum cyminum, grassland, flower garden and Zizyphus mauritiana. Acari and other soil arthropods exhibited seasonal variation in their populations. There were two population peaks, one in February/March and other in August/September. The highest population was in flower garden, whereas lowest was in Z. mauritiana field. It clearly indicates that the soil fauna population develops in different degrees. The relative density showed that the acarines were more prevalent in comparison to other soil arthropods. The prostigmatids exhibited maximum relative density in comparison to cryptostigmatids and mesostigmatids in all fields. Pauropus showed higher relative density among all other soil arthropods. Acari had higher frequency of occurrence, while the other soil arthropods indicated lower frequency of occurrence in all systems. The highest frequency of occurrence was recorded in July/August and the lowest in May/June. The soil temperature, moisture, organic carbon, total nitrogen and carbon/nitrogen ratio varied significantly throughout the year. The fluctuations in physicochemical characteristics of soil greatly influenced below ground faunal density in different fields. A highly significant and positive correlation was obtained among different soil fauna groups. Faunal population showed a significant positive correlation with soil moisture, organic carbon and total nitrogen. The abiotic factors such as temperature, pH and C/N ratio showed negative correlation with moisture, organic carbon and total nitrogen. However, moisture, organic carbon and total nitrogen had positive correlation among themselves. The present study suggests that the plantation may be done for improvement of physicochemical and biological health of soil on a sustainable basis in desert.

Key words : Mesofauna, Organic carbon, Total nitrogen, Physicochemical factors


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