Recent studies suggest that rhizosphere soil microarthropods may have a major role in determining soil nitrogen availability. Desert soil microarthropods are consumers of soil bacteria, fungi, and nematodes, thus they accelerate mineralization processes by causing turnover in immobilized nitrogen. [It is] hypothesized that changing densities of soil microarthropods would result in changes in nitrogen availability.
In order to test this hypothesis, Erionueron pulchellum rhizosphere soil samples were taken monthly from control plots, plots irrigated with 6mm/wk, plots soaked with chlordane (to remove microarthropods), and plots treated with chlordane that were irrigated with 6 mm/wk. These samples were analyzed for available inorganic nitrogen (NO3 and NH4), gravimetric soil moisture, plant shoot and root biomass, plant shoot and root total nitrogen, plant growth, microarthropod and nematode densities.