Millipedes are vital organisms to ecosystem function, specifically for their role as decomposers. Research on millipedes’ roles in the nitrogen cycle is understudied and as such, not much is known on their impact on the environment and the capacity with which they affect the nitrogen cycle. It is important to understand because their unquantified contributions to the nitrogen cycle could potentially hold a key to understanding soil nitrification on a deeper level, leading to decreased nitrate run off. This research has two main goals, first to examine the role of millipedes (Cherokia georgiana) in nitrification potential, and second, to see the impact of added nitrate on nitrification potential. The experimental design included four treatment groups (n=9): ambient-nitrate soil with and without millipedes and added-nitrate soil with and without millipedes. Experimental units were mesocosms consisting of small plastic containers, which each had 65g of soil and 1g of leaf litter. A soil nitrification potential assay was conducted at the beginning and end of the experiment on both ambient and added nitrate soils. Soil nitrate levels were analyzed on a biweekly basis. This is important in understanding the effect that anthropogenically added nitrate has on the nitrogen cycle. Expected results are that the presence of millipedes will increase nitrification potential, and that the added nitrate will decrease the nitrification potential; finally added nitrate and millipede presence will lead to a net decrease in nitrification potential. This experiment is part of a series of larger experiments focusing on the role of millipedes in the nitrogen cycle.

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