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Interacting effects of soil microbes and spiders on plant growth

Smith, Gabriella

Biotic factors contribute greatly to the success of nutrient cycling, this is done by recycling and translocating nutrients microbe. Research has shown that high densities of predators affect the amount of nutrients deposited into soil and the flow of nutrients within an ecosystem. A recent study has shown that spiders consume 400-800 million tons of food per year, although, for such a large group of predators little is known about the relationship between spiders and nutrient cycling. The goal of this study was to test if the presence of a single spider and the presence of soil microbes plant growth. To do this, we collected soil and female Carolina wolf spiders (Hogna carolinensis) from a local field. Half of the soil was sterilized, while the other half was left natural. Within these two groups of sterile and natural soil, some containers contained a spider while others were left empty to act as controls. After feeding the spiders for 2 months I soil respiration, and plant growth. interaction between spiders and soil microbes plant mass, plant height, and the number of flowers produced.