Peck, J.E. & A. Moldenke.  1999.  Describing and estimating the abundance of microinvertebrates in commercially harvestable moss.  Report to the Eugene District Bureau of Land Management, Eugene, OR.


   
Microinvertebrates were extracted using high gradient Berlese extraction from 200 harvestable moss mats collected as part of a companion project to inventory commercially harvestable moss during the summer of 1998 on the Eugene District, BLM, and an AMA on the Sweet Home District, Willamette National Forest.  Twenty mats, ten from shrub bases and ten from shrub tips, were collected from vine-maple (Acer circinatum Pursh) in each of 10 sites.  A total of 125 taxa were identified, comprising 18 orders and 5 functional groups; average counts of individuals per gram of moss are reported for each taxon.  No species of critical concern were encountered. Species richness, individual counts, species composition and relative abundance varied substantially among sites.  This variation was seen to correlate with the total abundance of shrubs with moss and the presence of hardwood trees.  Species richness and total abundance was substantially higher in samples collected from shrub bases; differences were found for both detrivore and predator guilds. The number of individuals per gram was greater in base samples than in tip samples for two orders (Coleoptera,  Thysanoptera) and one functional group (detrivores), but was lower in base samples for one order (spiders) and itís associated functional group (predators).  Species composition differed substantially among stem base and tip samples.  Mites, springtails, turtle-mites, wasps and bacterivores, fungivores, and predators showed the greatest differences.  Characteristic taxa in base samples included: Ceratoppia sp H, Hermannia, and Phthiracarus sp. B (all turtle-mites).  Taxa typical of tip samples included: Micryphantidae (microspiders) and Sminthurus (springtail).  Management recommendations based upon these preliminary data include prohibiting moss harvest in mixed or hardwood dominated stands and from the lower Ĺ m of all shrub stems to protect a diverse microinvertebrate community that includes taxa characteristic of both epiphytic and epigeic habitats.

 

PNW Moss Lit