Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

Summer 8-13-2016

Abstract

This two-year field study surveyed earthworm community characteristics on a chronosequence under afforested pine and hardwood lignite mine soils at the Beckville and Oak Hill lignite coal mines in east Texas. The following were used as indicators of earthworm community characteristics: reclamation type, forest cover type, age since reclamation and physical and chemical soil properties. The Beckville mine was sampled from February 2012 through March 2013; the Oak Hill mine was sampled from April 2013 through March 2014. The study was a 2x2x3 factorial design with reclamation type (mixed overburden vs. haul back), cover-type ((pine plantation (pp) and mixed pine and hardwood (hw)), and age since reclamation (2–8 years, 12–18 years and 22–28 years) as factors in the analysis. Age since reclamation (p <0.0001) and forest cover type ( p = 0.0108) were found to be significant at the 95 % confidence level. Results of a 3-way ANOVA at the 0.05 alpha level found age since reclamation to be significant relative to the number of species found at a site (p =0.0276). At the Beckville mine 14 % of earthworms identified were considered to be nonnative earthworm species; 19 % at Oak Hill. From the multiple physical and chemical parameters tested during this study, soil temperature (p =0.0256), soil pH (p =0.0309) and soil sodium (p =0.0173) were included in the final prediction model for earthworm abundance.

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