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The Influence of soil fauna on phytolith distribution in an Australian soil
Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art (1 - 3 August 2001 : Canberra)
Hart, Diane and Wallis, Lynley. Phytolith and starch research in the Australian-Pacific-Asian regions : the state of the art : papers from a conference held at the ANU, August 2001, Canberra, Australia, p.83-91
A comparison of phytolith assemblages in the termite sheeting above the surface of an Australian soil and down the profile of the underlying soil was undertaken using cluster analysis. Faunal channels within the soil were mapped and found to be at a maximum in the A1, diminishing down the profile. Sediment particle size analysis and examination of phytolith assemblages showed that termites were using the A horizon material in construction of their sheeting in tree stumps. The faunal channels in the B horizon of the soil, however; were enriched in clay-sized material and their phytolith assemblage was very different from that of the surrounding B horizon. This study concludes that soil fauna are capable of moving phytoliths within soils and sediments and in conjunction with other pedological processes such as pervection and weathering, bioturbation is an important mechanism which must be considered when analysing soil phytolith assemblages in archaeological and palaeoenvironmental studies.