Invertebrates

Saproxylic Invertebrate Diversity in Decaying Ash Trees Vs. The Stage of Decay

Saproxylic Invertebrate Diversity in Decaying Ash Trees Vs. The Stage of Decay

Trees decay at very slow rates over the space of decades and constitute as much as 10-25% of the above ground biomass in forests (Ulyshen, 2014). Dead wood is a significant factor in nutrient cycling and is a host to many organisms, from unicellular microorganisms to complex invertebrates (Franklin et al., 1997). Organisms that depend […]

Leaf Litter Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Leaf Litter Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Invertebrates, while small, play an integral role in our ecosystem in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. In leaf litter, they aid greatly in the decomposition of organic matter, as cited by Vasconcelos and Laurance in their article on soil fauna (2005). Invertebrates are animals that lack a backbone, but this is where most of the obvious […]

Spider Diversity at the Morgan Arboretum

Spider Diversity at the Morgan Arboretum

Follow us on Twitter: @SpidersMcgill Natural History of Spiders Arachnida is an extensive class of arthropods recognized mainly by their eight legs, lack of antennae and carnivorous lifestyle, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (2015). This class encompasses scorpions, mites, daddy long legs and spiders. Spiders belong to the order Araneae, which includes over 114 families […]

Fungi and Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Fungi and Invertebrates of the Morgan Arboretum

Background Fungi are incredibly diverse and provide irreplaceable services for the ecosystem and for us. They range from single-celled yeasts to vast networks of hyphae, the filamentous strands that make up fungi (Waggoner and Speer, 1998). Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of many fungi; they produce and release spores as a method of reproduction. The […]

Bark Bugs:  Saproxylic Invertebrates in the Morgan Arboretum

Bark Bugs: Saproxylic Invertebrates in the Morgan Arboretum

Invertebrates are a broad category of animals characterized by the lack of a backbone. Surprisingly and most often unknown is the fact that invertebrates amount to a staggering 95%-99% of all animal species (Encyclopedia of Science, 2002). This assorted group includes insects, spiders, crustaceans, and mollusks, all of which are also ectothermic (cold-blooded). Such a […]

The Abundance of Earthworms with Human Activity

The Abundance of Earthworms with Human Activity

Introduction We are McGill university undergrad students studying environmental biology. In the course St. Lawrence Ecosystem (ENVB 222), we will be conducting a research project geared at evaluating earthworm abundance in the Morgan Arboretum. To expand on the data collected by researchers in last year’s class, we chose to further study earthworms, but in relation […]

Critters in the Litter

Critters in the Litter

Arthropods are a successful group of invertebrate animals; they are members of the phylum Arthropoda, which is known to be the largest phylum in the animal kingdom. The distinguishing feature of Arthropods is the presence of a jointed external skeleton composed of chitin, a nitrogen-containing sugar (Barnes,2014). Furthermore their body is divided into distinct parts, […]