student research, biology, Adirondacks
Tardigrades (phylum Tardigrada) are most durable animals due to their ability to enter a state of cryptobiosis during extreme conditions. Tardigrades are often found living in mosses due to the mosses’ ability to retain moisture, but can be found in moss in dry habitats due to their ability to survive desiccation. This study assessed the abundance of Tardigrades in moss cushion life forms of marsh, brook, lake shore, and forest habitats. Relative abundance of Tardigrades among sites was quantified, soil pH was measured at each site, and percent moisture at each site was collected. ANOVA and Tukey’s Test were used to analyze variance of Tardigrades among the four sites. It was hypothesized that there would be more Tardigrades per gram of moss in the marsh habitat than the brook, lake shore, and forest habitats. There was no significant difference found in abundance of tardigrades among different habitats. In conclusion, the habitat in which the moss was located did not affect the amount of Tardigrades in the moss. A study looking at specific species of moss among or at habitats with greater differences in moisture content is recommended.
Brown, Jessica; Forward, Ingrid; and Smith, Hannah, "Session C, 2015 Third Place: Tardigrada Prevalence in Moss Cushion Growth Forms Among Habitats at Cranberry Lake" (2015). Cranberry Lake Biological Station. 6.