*Changes in microarthropod assemblages were monitored in six types of decomposing surface leaf-litter confined in mesh bags and set across a Chihuahuan Desert watershed for 17 months. The following hypotheses were tested: 1) microarthropod density and diversity are higher in soils with maximum surface litter accumulation, and 2) temporal patterns of density and diversity are more dependent on seasonal factors and physical disturbances than on the decompositional stage of the litter.
Twenty 6 x 6 m plots were established with a 3 m buffer between plots. Five plots were randomly assigned to one of four treatments: (1) chlordane amendment 100ml AI (active ingredients) per 10,000 ml) to exclude microarthropods, (2) sprinkler irrigation (6 mm per week), (3) sprinkler irrigation (6 mm/week) plus chlordate amendment (as above), (4) control (no treatment). Measurements are taken on Erioneuron pulchellum at monthly intervals. Three randomly located subsamples are collected from each plot. Data set contains plant diameters, mites soil weight, root weight, nematode soil weight, root total nitrogen, and nematode number.
A mesocosm experiment was conducted on fluff grass (Erioneuron pulchellum) plants to look at the effect of exclusion of mites (with chlordane), nematodes (NEMACUR), mites and nematodes, on soil available, total and microbial nitrogen.