Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:17 AM

Ecological impact of oil pipeline installation on millipeds (Diplopoda) in a mixed deciduous forest in southern Ohio

Monica A. Farfan, and David J. Horn, The Ohio State University, Department of Entomology, 400 Aronoff Laboratory, 318 W. 12th Ave, Columbus, OH

Results of prior research support the expectation of the presence of millipeds of the orders Julida and Spriostreptida in a habitat experiencing increased temperature and decreased moisture brought about by disturbance. This was investigated in a maturing (~ 75 years old) mixed hardwood forest in Hocking County, Ohio. The forest was subject to deforestation during the placement of an underground oil pipeline in 2000. Backfilling, a decrease in organic material deposition, and increased sun-exposure have caused changes to the soil surface in the right-of-way. In May 2006 ten pitfall traps were set along a north-facing hill in the pipeline right-of-way and in the adjacent forest. Cambala annulata (Spirostreptida) was found 8.5x more often in the forest and order Julida 3.5x more often. Abacion lactarium (n=10) was found only in the pipeline habitat. In 2007 a second experiment was conducted which included trap placement modifications and soil analyses. Results showed that soil in the pipeline right-of-way is a less carbon-rich habitat supporting fewer microbes than the forest. Litter and pitfall sampling revealed Nannaria ohionis and Cleidogona sp. exhibited preference for the forest habitat (N. ohionis, n=20, forest only; Cleidogona sp., 9x more often). Forest preference was also observed in order Julida (~2.0x more often) and family Paraiulidae (~2.5x more often). This parallels the difference detected in soil nutrients between the two habitats. These results are significant in the light of increased forest disturbance caused by additional development in the region.