Pedogenesis of ant-colonized soils at Doolittle Prairie State Preserve, Iowa
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Ants are among the most prolific soil-dwelling organisms in terms of overall biomass, spatial distribution, and diversity. Though the breadth of ant activity within soil is tremendous, little work has been done to show the influence of ants on near-hydric and hydric soils. This study quantified the impact of Formica montana Wheeler activities on soil morphology and genesis in an undisturbed Iowa prairie. Soils were sampled to depths of 120 cm or greater along transects to include mound centers, peripheries, and adjacent areas. Results showed soil profiles within mounds had deeper A horizons and thinner B horizons than adjacent soils. Profile differences on and off of mounds also included color, structure, depth to carbonates, calcite and dolomite content, stable aggregate content, and total nitrogen.