African Journal of Ecology and Ecosystems

ISSN 2756-3367

African Journal of Ecology and Ecosystems ISSN 2756-3367 Vol. 11 (5), pp. 001-004, May, 2024. Available online at © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Assessing soil micro-arthropods as bioindicators of oil pollution in a secondary rainforest, Rivers State, Nigeria

Samuel Okiwelu 1*, Gbarakoro Tambeke1 and Badejo Adetola2

1Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
2Department of Zoology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

Accepted 25 October, 2023


Comparisons were made of the species richness and densities of soil micro-arthropods- (mites, collembolans) from a relatively undisturbed secondary forest and a nearby area, where there had been an oil spill, approximately 1 year before the commencement of the 2 yr study, May, 2007 to April, 2009. Soil samples were taken monthly with an 8.5 cm diameter bucket -type auger. Extraction was by the Berlese-Tullgren funnel. Identification was undertaken with the aid of standard keys and comparisons were made with type specimens. Mean Total Hydrocarbon (THC) values were 630 mg/kg (43.0 to 1000.0) and 10 mg/kg at the polluted and undisturbed habitats respectively. Among the mites, Cryptostigmata (Oribatids) were dominant in both undisturbed (69.85%) and polluted (74.25%) habitats; the least abundant were the prostigmates. Within the oribatids, Scheloribates spp., Galumnidae spp., Parallonothrus nigeriensis and Bichythermamia nigeriana were collected from both habitat types. In contrast, Mixacarus sp., Aunecticarus sp., Atropacarus sp., Bellidae sp., Cephalidae sp., Oppia sp., Basilobellidae sp., Epilohmaunia sp., Mesoplophora sp., Aecheogozettes magnus and Northrus lasebikani were restricted to the undisturbed habitat. In the Mesostigmata, only Parasiticidae sp . and Rhodacaridae sp. were found in both habitat types; Polyaspidae sp., Uropodidae sp. and Asca sp. were restricted to the undisturbed habitat. The Prostigmata, Bellidae sp. were collected from undisturbed and polluted habitats. Among Collembolans, Cryptophagous and Paranolla were found in both habitat types while Hypogastina, was restricted to the undisturbed habitat. Abundance and densities of mites and collembolans were respectively significantly reduced in the polluted habitat (p < 0.05; df = 9; F = 20.5; p 0.05; df = 9; F = 30.08). These findings are discussed within the context of the use of monitor (tolerant) and indicator (sensitive) species in bio-monitoring and assessment of oil pollution.

Key words: Soil mites, collembolans, oil pollution, densities, monitor/indicator species, rainforest, Nigeria.