Research Publication Title

Productivity of Varying Soil Moistures on Cherokia Millipede Mortality Rate

Major

Biology

Faculty Mentor

Bruce A. Snyder

Keywords

Millipedes, Soil, Ecology, Cherokia Georgiana, Habitat, Moisture, Environment, Migration, Terrarium, Species

Abstract

Millipedes breathe through spiracles located along their body, with two pairs of spiracles located on each segment. These spiracles can become obstructed if moisture levels in the soil are too high, resulting in a lack of oxygen. If exposed to too much moisture, the millipedes may move to areas of lower moisture. In addition, the spiracles play a role in water loss, releasing water in the form of vapor during respiration. Conversely, millipedes must inhabit environments that are moist enough to counteract their own bodily moisture loss. As a result, millipedes must strike a balance of environmental moisture which allows them to both respire efficiently and maintain a healthy water balance. A detailed comparison of soil moisture habitats was used to monitor the life sustainability of the millipede species based on three distinct soil moisture levels in a consistent environment (leaf matter, foliage, soil, and diet etc.). Three slightly variable soil moistures were obtained by monitored water addition into the habitat, which was essentially a plastic lidded container (14 x 8.5 in) with consistent sifted soil matter (3,000 kg) and leaf litter (40 g). This was used to emulate the average Georgia humid subtropical climate (20 degrees celsius). In trying to find which substrates and terrariums (humidity specifically) are better suited to maintain millipede quality of life the habitat with a 8.5% soil moisture is the most viable for the Cherokia Georgiana, from a mixed forestry in central Georgia. This technique proved to be effective in tracking the mortality rate of this millipede species. With the help of this research we can begin to track the migration of millipedes based on the patterns in soil moisture habitat variability and the preservation of these environments.

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Productivity of Varying Soil Moistures on Cherokia Millipede Mortality Rate

Millipedes breathe through spiracles located along their body, with two pairs of spiracles located on each segment. These spiracles can become obstructed if moisture levels in the soil are too high, resulting in a lack of oxygen. If exposed to too much moisture, the millipedes may move to areas of lower moisture. In addition, the spiracles play a role in water loss, releasing water in the form of vapor during respiration. Conversely, millipedes must inhabit environments that are moist enough to counteract their own bodily moisture loss. As a result, millipedes must strike a balance of environmental moisture which allows them to both respire efficiently and maintain a healthy water balance. A detailed comparison of soil moisture habitats was used to monitor the life sustainability of the millipede species based on three distinct soil moisture levels in a consistent environment (leaf matter, foliage, soil, and diet etc.). Three slightly variable soil moistures were obtained by monitored water addition into the habitat, which was essentially a plastic lidded container (14 x 8.5 in) with consistent sifted soil matter (3,000 kg) and leaf litter (40 g). This was used to emulate the average Georgia humid subtropical climate (20 degrees celsius). In trying to find which substrates and terrariums (humidity specifically) are better suited to maintain millipede quality of life the habitat with a 8.5% soil moisture is the most viable for the Cherokia Georgiana, from a mixed forestry in central Georgia. This technique proved to be effective in tracking the mortality rate of this millipede species. With the help of this research we can begin to track the migration of millipedes based on the patterns in soil moisture habitat variability and the preservation of these environments.