Little is known about upland agricultural grassland soil invertebrate composition and its contribution to ecosystem functioning. Soil-dwelling organisms play a central role in soil formation, plant nutrition, and are significant food contributors for organisms in several trophic levels. Information is needed about mesofauna seasonal population and composition trends throughout the soil profile to understand linkages between natural and anthropogenic influences in agricultural lands. There are no baseline data available that characterize species composition and behavior in agricultural landscapes or how to develop optimal sampling schedules. Also, there is little known about the impacts of soil physical properties (i.e. soil pH, moisture, temperature, and particle size distribution) and seasonal weather cycles on soil mesofauna activity. Using Berlese-Tullgren extractors, soil-borne invertebrates were identified from the upper 30 cm in 5 cm increments every other week for one year in an undisturbed Festuca rubra L. 'Jaspar' grass seed ecosystem in the Silverton Hills, Marion County, Oregon, U.S.A. Species richness comprised 14 Collembola genera, 99 Acarina morpho-species, and 88 other invertebrate taxa comprising 19, 71, and 10% of the total number of specimens, respectively. The top 5 cm of soil contained the greatest abundance of species. Some arthropods were correlated with abiotic factors such as above-ground green and brown phytomass. Invertebrates spanned different but linked trophic levels. These findings identify key taxa, abiotic factors, and spatial and temporal templates for future analyses.
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