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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #262
Program Date: 10/20/2009
Program Category: Conservation, Energy, Forests, Wildlife

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute Discovers New Mite Species

When researchers for the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute collect samples from the 1656 monitoring sites across the province, they check for all kinds of life. They check in the water, in the trees, on the ground and in the soil.

And it’s not uncommon to discover new species that no one even knew were here.

Of particular interest are mites, tiny invertebrates that play a big role in maintaining the health of our soils.

Jim Herbers of the Alberta Biodiveristy Monitoring Institute explains.

JIM HERBERS: We’re very proud to report that I think there’s well over 100 new species to Canada that we’ve identified and well over 30 new species to the world. Some of them are like the grizzly bears of the soil world. So they go around and they’re predators. Many of them are frugavores. So many of them eat fungus, mushrooms. And then there’s a number of other species that live in the soil that break down the soil organic matter and make sure that it’s turned over and that the nutrients are available for plants to use.

According to Jim Herbers, the new species of mites were identified for the ABMI by scientists at the Royal Alberta Museum.

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I'M CHERYL CROUCHER

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Jim Herbers, Director of Information ABMI

Jim Herbers, Director of Information ABMI

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