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Invertebrates In Soil Ecosystem Analysis

Invertebrates are the first animal evolved about 600 million years ago from single-celled microorganism, food eating microorganism. They evolved into countless forms and lead to the enormous diversity of invertebrate’s species that are found today. They are organism without backbone, however they have others way to produce structural support of bodies. As examples, leeches have a hydrostatic skeleton supported by sheets of muscles and internal cavity filled with fluid, while insects have a hard outer shell or exoskeleton. Scientist divided them into about 30 different groups (phyla). The phyla include echinoderms (urchins and stars), coelenterates (jellies and anemones), annelids (segmented worms), mollusks (snails and octopuses), and arthropods (insects, spiders, arachnida such as spiders and crustaceans such as crabs) (Saint Louis Zoo, 2011). There are several kinds of phyla can be referred in Figure 1. Some of them are aquatic animal and terrestrial animal, yet this paper will focus on diversity of invertebrates in soil ecosystem only. They participate in tropic level and play vital role in nutrient cycling and decomposition of organic matter. They also interact with others organism and provide many services to the ecosystem. A small decrease in an invertebrate biodiversity may affect ecosystem as they contribute to the succession of above ground and ecosystem. Human activities which give negative effects to the soil invertebrate activities must be controlled. In meanwhile, there are also some practices can be implemented to the site/soil to eager their activities.
Classification of Invertebrates An experiment was carried out by several groups of Nottingham students to study the diversity of invertebrates using soil palm sample. The table below indicates the result of my group. There are 9 kinds of animal invertebrates that have been found in the soil sample:
The Invertebrates Found In Soil Palm Sample
Based on the result, all the invertebrates are from phylum of arthropod. The invertebrates are diverse and made up from difference classes and orders. There are 3 kinds of classes which are Insecta, Arachnida and Myriapoda. Class Insecta give the largest percentage (64%), followed by class Myripoda (20%) and the lowest percentage is class Arachnida (16%). None of them comes from the similar order. There are only few organisms were found out. The total number soil invertebrates are 25. This happened because of several unknown factors such as less moisture. The soil sample looks like dry and non-sticky, therefore may proved that the moisture level is low and not really favor the soil invertebrates. However, more experiments should be done to determine the real factors the number of invertebrates are little.
Next, the researchers have classified the diversity of invertebrates according to body width. There are microfauna, mesofauna and macrofauna. Microfauna such as nematodes usually live in water film and have width 0.1mm and below; mesofauna such as mites and springtails live in air spaces and have body width between 0.1mm to 2mm, while macrofauna such as earwigs, centipedes, and millipedes have width from 2mm to 60mm and above. Macrofauna are large enough and have ability create space by burrowing. (, 2011). They exist at any stages of soil which contain appropriate space and nutrients such as in litter, on/between the surface of soil aggregates, on humus and around roots. Invertebrates that graze on bacteria such as mites always concentrate around roots while the litter is always inhibited by collembola and millipedes that break up the litter into smaller chunks (Ingham, 2011). The types of invertebrates are similar in all ground cover types, but the numbers of invertebrates differs significantly. Bare soil show the lowest number of invertebrates due to it is easily exposed to the extreme temperature, drain drop and soil erosion (Kyle and Susan, 2007). Soil invertebrates inhabit a substrate that is more resistant to drought than most terrestrial habitat. Some of them are capable adapted to acidic, however many more organisms thrive in a neutral habitat causing an increase in diversity as pH approaches neutral (Rudd, 2009).
Soil invertebrates present at several trophic levels of the soil food web as primary, secondary or tertiary consumers. They eat almost everything either live or death organism. They exist in multitude of ways in gaining nutrient. They may present as herbivores, carnivores, scavengers and parasites. As examples, herbivores like caterpillar and nematodes are feeds on plants. Nevertheless, nematodes are complex organisms which appear at several stages of tropic level. Some nematodes feed on the plants and algae (primary consumers); others are grazers that feed on bacteria and fungi (secondary consumers); and some feed on other nematodes (tertiary consumers) (Ingham, 2011). Next, carnivore can be represented by centipedes which feed earthworms by paralyzing their prey with poisoned fang and spider which traps their prey with web. The example of scavengers is millipedes, louse and earwigs which decompose plant matter such as leaf little and dead roots (Dr Alderson, 2011). Most of invertebrates in soil are parasites. Ticks, tapeworms, leeches, mites and roundworms are just a few examples of the parasites. Some parasites live on the external surfaces of the hosts while the others live in the digestive tract or tissues of their hosts (Klappenbach, 2011).
Next, soil invertebrates develop multiple interactions at large scale and contribute to the production of soil ecosystem services in many ways (Figure 3).
The Advantages of Invertebrates Interact with Ecosystem
Firstly, soil invertebrates participate in nutrient cycling as it interact with surface vegetation which supplies them the organic maters or compounds. Scavengers like millipedes and mites will return those elements into a broken down form. These broken forms will be recycling back into the environment, promoting humification and nourishing the plant with the nutrients like nitrogen and carbon. Soil invertebrates are responsible for the mineralization and immobilization of phosphorus and sulphur into the plants. They attribute regulation of leaching nutrients losses and prevent leakage towards low-lying aquifers, streams and oceans (Lavellea, 2006). Soil invertebrates act as buffering system that allows an efficient local recycling of nutrients
Next, invertebrates like ants, termites, earthworms help in formation of soil. They consume small aggregates of mineral particles and organic matter and then generate larger fecal pellets. These fecal pellets are coated with compounds from the gut and become part of soil structure. Charles Darwin has stated that soil invertebrates, earthworm can carry large quantity of soil from the lower strata to the surface and organic matter into deeper soil layers. This organism can form over the top 15 cm of soil within 10-20 years. It helps to hold the soil particle together and maintain it structures too (Clive, 2011).
Invertebrates interact with plants as they support primary production such as genes and protection against pests and diseases for plant health and response to stress. The expert document that the expression in the leaves of three stress-responsive genes (coding for lipoxygenase, phospholipase D and cysteine protease) due to the existence of belowground invertebrate activities. However, they still cannot identity the mechanism involved which affects parasitic nematodes activity and arise beneficial in earthworms. Next, many experiments have shown significant enhancement of plant production in the presence of soil invertebrates such as collembolan, earthworms and combinations of organism termites and ants. Invertebrates capable improve tolerance to stressors or pest such as parasitic nematodes which feed on plant roots. This has been proved since 82% infested plant decrease within the presence of earthworms. Although earthworms do not affect the population size of nematodes, it causes the root biomass not being attacked by such parasite (Manuel et al, 2005).
Besides, the soil invertebrates interact with carbon compound in climate regulation and also with soil for flood and erosion control. The soil invertebrates accumulate over long period of time and form humification. This process results the carbon compounds are sequestered into compact and consequently the carbons can be avoided from rapidly released into atmosphere in the form green house gases. Humification also transforms carbon compounds more resistance to further decomposition and thus slower green house gas released from soil (Lavellea, 2006). Next, flood and erosion control can be regulated by building and maintenance of stable porosity through bioturbation and burrowing. Earthworms burrow, enhance soil aeration and form “tunnel”. This “tunnel” can absorb water at a rate 4 to 10 times greater than fields lacking worm (NCAT, 2004).
Lastly, soil invertebrates do interaction with ecosystem as they are also responsible in production of water supply. Their participation may be in small-scale but are significant. Invertebrates such as millipedes in macrofauna create burrows and structural porosity in soils and thus generate water infiltrations. The variety of pore shapes and size may permit soils to store water within wide range, but the scientist not discovered yet about the amount of water infiltrated and stored (Lavellea, 2006). Invertebrates are necessary to reduce water runoff, recharge groundwater and store large amount of water for dry spells.
Soil invertebrates serve many benefits to plant, animal, and nature. Their present should not be disturbed by human activities because it may influence the presence and activity of organism. Unfortunately, the burgeoning human populations have destroyed the soil physico-chemical environment and the soil’s species through activities such as: inputs of chemicals, disposal of waste products in soils and physical modification or removal of soil by cultivation and erosion (Diana, 1994). Those activities may eliminate any invertebrates present on the topsoil and degrade their microenvironment. In addition, the metabolism of microorganisms and arthropods will be altered and this may destroy some layers of the primary food chain too. This happens when harmful chemicals have been passed up to the food chain and ultimately causes mortality or even extinction in the invertebrates.
There are several site/soil management can be practiced to help improving invertebrates number and activities such as enhance nutrient and pest. Organic matter and nutrients in acceptable range can provide more foods to the invertebrates, though they may poison the organism in excess. This is similar to pest which is helpful for invertebrates to resist to pesticide in acceptable range only. Next, people must avoid excess tillage because it can bring advantages or conversely. Some farmers practice tillage because it can control pests, however it also affects decomposition rate of soil invertebrate when excess. The worst is it can reduce organic matter level to below 1% and renders them biologically dead. People also should keep the soil covered to avoid soil erosion that influence the existence of invertebrates at the topsoil especially. It can be done by covered it with plant residue or planting crops. Lastly, diversity cropping is beneficial because it also will increase the diversity of invertebrates. This happen due to differ plant have differ culture practice and thus leads to decrease of disease pressure. All the practices support the invertebrates to survive greater and functions more effectively (USDA, 2011).
In conclusion, there are vast diversity of invertebrates can be found in earth including soil invertebrates. Their size are small which is may be less than 1mm but their interaction with nature bring much benefits to ecosystem. Their existence should not be bothered and people must conserve these species to avoid extinction via soil conservation. Soil conservation can promote better the viability and survivor of soil organisms including soil invertebrates. Loss of invertebrates diversity may affects soil processes and unstable ecosystem too as they are responsible in nutrient cycling, water supply and many more. People can manage the site/soil to improve the population of invertebrates by providing nutrients, pest and others to enhance invertebrate’s activities.

Infection and Immunology: A Case Study

The presenting symptoms for Billy DeWitt were his consecutive infections of sinusitis, otitis media and pneumonia. All of these infections were bacterial in nature and as such they were treated successfully with antibiotics. A further physical examination revealed that the child does not have palantine tonsils. This is considered a symptom as he has not had them removed at any point surgically. This implies that he was born without those particular tonsils, which may be characteristic of what is ailing Billy. The final two symptoms involve the analysis of Billy’s blood. The tests showed that the blood contained one-fifth what is considered the regular level for immunoglobulins and also that the concentration of B-lymphocytes was down. The blood tests also showed that the functionality of Billy’s T-lymphocytes was within normal limits. This means that although the some of the immune response is normal, the amount of both immunoglobulins and the B-lymphocytes in the blood serum were low. This suggests that the disease that Billy has seems to be affecting a specific part of his immune response.
The inflammatory response is the body’s natural response to tissue damage. The four basic signs for this response are pain, swelling, fever, and lethargy, apathy, and a loss of appetite.
There are two stages to pain. First is the acute pain that is caused when you do something such as touch a stove. It’s a quick stabbing-like mechanism that tells the brain that you are doing something that’s not good and gets you to stop it immediately. The latter type of pain, the type seen with inflamation, is the kind that stays for a long time. It acts as a constant reminder to take better care of the area in order for it to heal
Swelling is a defensive process created by the body. The sensory nerves react to what is causing the inflamation and causes the blood vessles to become more permeable (causing redness). This causes the white blood cells to get out to where the problem is and attack any pathogens that are causeing it.
Fever is caused by an increase in the hormone prostaglandin E2, which causes the hypothalmus to increase the body’s “thermostat.”This makes the external temperature feel colder, causing the body to go through invouluntary actions to increase body heat, such as shivering. Also, most bacteria reproduce the most at normal body temperature, so by increasing the temperature of the body, the bacteria divide less often. This is also convenient because at a higher than normal body temperature, immune cells divide faster.
The root cause of the lethargy, apathy, and loss of appetite seen in someone responding from inflammation, is their fever. In order to cause a fever, the body must use up 10-13% more body heat than usual, which requires much more energy. In order to balance the “energy budget”, sacrifices must be made elsewhere, causing the person in which the infection is located to be more lazy and tired, because they lack energy.
“Inflamation and tissue Healing” Web. 4 Feb. 2010.
Quanted, Patrick. “The inflammation Process”. Web. 4 Feb. 2010.
The body is populated by two types of lymphocytes: B- and T-lymphocytes. Both types of lymphocytes circulate through the blood and lymph and are concentrated in the spleen, lymph nodes, and other lymphoid tissues. B cells and T cells recognize antigens by means of antigen receptors embedded in their plasma membranes. A single B or T cell bears about 100,000 of these antigen receptors, and all the receptors on a single cell are identical – this is, they all recognize the same epitope. In other words, each lymphocyte displays specificity for a particular epitope on an antigen and defends against that antigen or a small set of closely related antigens.
T cells and B cells are the major cellular components of the adaptive immune response. T cells are involved in cell-mediated immunity whereas B cells are primarily responsible for humoral immunity (relating to antibodies). The function of T cells and B cells is to recognize specific “non-self” antigens, during a process known as antigen presentation. Once they have identified an invader, the cells generate specific responses that are tailored to maximally eliminate specific pathogens or pathogen infected cells. B cells respond to pathogens by producing large quantities of antibodies which then neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. In response to pathogens some T cells, called T helper cells, produce cytokines that direct the immune response while other T cells, called cytotoxic T cells, produce toxic granules that induce the death of pathogen infected cells. Following activation, B cells and T cells leave a lasting legacy of the antigens they have encountered, in the form of memory cells. Throughout the lifetime of an animal these memory cells will “remember” each specific pathogen encountered, and are able to mount a strong response if the pathogen is detected again.
Harding, CV, and L. Ramachandra. “Presenting exogenous antigen to T cells.” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of
Health, Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
Lee, K, et al. “In Vivo Tumor Suppression Activity by T cell-specific T-bet Restoration.” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
A person with deficient of B-Cell will have weak immune responses since the B cell are responsible for the primary immune response. This will lead to massive bacterial infection early in life during development. Typically respiratory infections such as pneumonia are usually the first sign of these infections. Others are skin infections; meningitis, bacteremias and abscesses are also common when there is a deficiency in B-Cell. The deficiency of B-Cell usually occurs when the child becomes 7-9 years of age. Tonsillar B-Cell is the primary type of B cell which is produced by the pansil tonsil located in the side of throat. Since Billy lacked the palatine tonsils, the onset of B-Cell problems would therefore occur much early in his life.
Issam, Makhoul. “Pure B-Cell Disorders.” emedicine. Medscape, 4 Nov. 2009. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
Antibodies (also known as immunoglobulins, abbreviatedIg) are glycoproteins that are found in blood and other bodily fluids of vertebrates. They are used by the immune system to identify and destroy foreign objects (bacteria and viruses). Plasma cells, a kind of white blood cell produce antibodies. Antibodies have a similar structure but have a small region at the tip of them that allows millions of antibodies with different tip structures and antigen binding sites, to exist. They are Y-shaped with a binding site on each tip of the Y. This region is known as the hypervariable region. There are five classes of antibodies: IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD, and IgE. IgG are the most important antibody and also the most common. Each antibody can bind to a specific antigen using its tip. An antigen is any substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it. Antigens can be a foreign substance such as a bacteria, virus, chemical, toxin, or pollen.The large amount of antibodies allows the immune system to recognize many different antigens and act accordingly. The unique part of the antigen recognized by an antibody is called anepitope. Epitopes bind with their antibody in a process calledinduced fit. This allows antibodies to identify and bind only to their specific antigen. Antibodies can also destroy targets by binding to a part of apathogenthat it needs to cause aninfection. Antibodies function in different ways designed to eliminate the antigen that caused their production. The binding occurs by noncovalent forces, like between enzymes and their substrate. These bonds include hydrogen bonds, electrostatic bonds, Van der Waals forces and hydrophobic bonds. When a foreign object enters the body for the first time the body can develop symptoms of disease. After the same antigen enters the body again the body develops an immune response to that pathogen. This is the way people avoid certain diseases such as chicken pox more than once.
“Antigen Presentation.” Kimball’s Biology Pages. N.p., 30 Aug. 2009. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
Mayer, Gene. “Immunoglobulins – Structure and Function.” Mircrobiology and Immunology On-line. University of South Carolina School of Medicine, 6 Nov. 2009. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
Stevenson, John R. “Immunoglobulin Structure and Function.” MBI. N.p., 19 Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
Ten months is the normal age at which babies are weaned. If this is what happened to Billy, then it explains why he was never infected before. Breastfed babies are protected by their own mother’s milk. About 80 percent of the cells in a mother’s milk are macrophages, which kill bacteria and viruses in the baby’s body. Not only that, but the mother’s milk also contains antibodies for whatever disease is present in her environment. This protects the babies from many diseases such as pneumonia, staph infections, and ear infections. Weaning Billy from his mother’s milk takes away the only protection from his environment that he has, because his body is incapable of fending for itself, and leaves him defenseless, which causes him to constantly get sick.
Williams, Rebecca D. “Breastfeeding: Best Bet for Babies”. Childbirth Solutions, Inc. Web. 8 Feb. 2010.
The palatine tonsils, also referred to as tonsils, are a pair of very elastic tissue masses located at the back of the throat, which is the pharynx. Each of these tonsils is made of tissue that is similar to lymph nodes covered in pink mucosa. The palatine tonsils are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system fights off major and minor infections. They are the body’s defense against viruses and bacteria by creating antibodies to destroy the bacteria or virus. Medical researchers have studied that when children’s tonsils are removed, they would not suffer the loss in the future with immunity to diseases or the ability to defend off infections. In humans, tonsils vary in size and swell in response to infections. The tonsils are a common site for infections and when they are inflamed, the condition is known as tonsillitis. The surgical procedure of the removal of the tonsils is known as tonsillectomy.
“tonsil.”Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 10 Feb. 2010
“Understanding Tonsillitis – the Basics.” WebMD. N.p., 25 Nov. 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2010.
The fact the Billy had two uncles that died as young children suggests that they have a disease that is linked to the X chromosome. The article says nothing about the child’s grandfather having any problems, which means that the disease cannot be on the Y chromosome. The mother is healthy, therefore women are the carriers of the gene and Billy’s mother passed it onto him. The reason that his mother does not have the disease is because women have two X chromosomes. As long as she has one healthy X chromosome she will not have the disease.
The disease that we believe that Billy DeWitt has is X-linked agammaglobulinemia. This disease fits almost all of the symptoms very well. This disease is a genetic disease that is on the X chromosome and it results in the person lacking immunoglobulins because the majority of their B-lymphocytes do not develop properly. This is completely consistent with tests done on the Billy’s blood serum with his immunoglobulin levels and B-lymphocyte levels both being down. This disease also leaves the T-lymphocytes untouched which matches the results that said the T-lymphocytes in Billy’s blood were functioning properly. This diagnosis also explains why Billy had bacterial infections as a baby. B-lymphocytes are important in fighting off bacteria and because he did not have as many it makes sense that he would be much more susceptible to those types of diseases. The only thing that is slightly inconsistent is the child’s lack of palatine tonsils. Symptoms of this disease include lymph nodes like the tonsils as being extremely small because they usually house B-lymphocytes, but it does not say that any patients completely lacked palatine tonsils from the disease. It is possible that they were so small that the doctors missed them because they were so small, or it is just a coincidence that they were never there and it did nothing but augment the disease by taking away a possible place of B-lymphocyte creation.
This disease cannot be completely cured because it is genetic but the symptoms can be managed. Billy needs to receive a steady supply of a mixture of immunoglobulins and antibodies for many different diseases. This will allow him to maintain his immune system at a higher level and allow him to live a pretty normal life. The only thing that really needs to be avoided is any kind of live viral vaccines. People with X-linked agammaglobulinemia tend to contract the viruses that are meant to be prevented from the vaccines because of their weakened immune systems.
International Patient Organisation for Primary Immunodeficiencies. X-Linked Agammaglobulinemia. Immune Defiency Foundation, 2007. PDF file.